Pic: Marc Hervé
Saturday, 24 November 2018 was the day Nelson Mandela Bay’s LGBTQIA+ community had been waiting for: the 7th NMB Pride commemorations.
Having missed a year of Pride, social media was abuzz with speculation about what would be happening on Pride day. As the NMB Pride 2018 committee we were in high spirits and had faith that the day would run smoothly.
The day’s activities started with the march in Port Elizabeth; 80-plus march-goers gathered at the Donkin Reserve dressed in rainbow colours. Pink, purple and blue wigs adorned the heads of the beautiful marchers. Many came with their rainbow flags in hand, in good spirits, and the air was filled with excitement.
The marchers were greeted with friendly hooting from taxis and marimba drum beats made by a drum vendor in Govern Mbeki Avenue. The kids looked on in awe with broad smiles at all the different colour wigs, unicorn plush toys and rainbow flags.
After the march, participants stayed behind to enjoy some selfie time and to pose for photographers.
Pic: Marc Hervé
This year’s NMB Pride ideology was all about inclusivity and intersectionality, hence our slogan being, ‘For The People’. We wanted each and every person within the LGBTQIA+ community to feel part of and not excluded in any way; every trans-person, every person of colour, no matter the class…
Our aim was to raise awareness and make PE understand that the Queer community is here and have been here and is going absolutely nowhere.
Many of the marchers then travelled to ZAZU Entertainment in Newton Park, the venue that was sponsored to us. Performers took to the stage, and we had a poet by the name of Jerolyn Pieterse who delivered powerful poetry and had the room in complete silence.
This was followed by DJs and the talented singer, rapper and Cape Town dancer Chaise Williams, who had the crowd dancing to slow jams.
The MCs, Bay TV Presenter Zikisani Xhotyeni, Miss Savannah & Content Director and Comedian, Julie Coetzee, were there to carry the day’s activities. And yes, of course, the crowd couldn’t wait for the amazing PE drag artists to perform. First on stage we had Miss SA Drag, Vinny Vicki herself. It was clear the crowd were waiting for her to perform; as soon as she entered the venue she received cheers and chants from the audience.
Next on the line-up was the lovely Jasmine Rose, Ava-Reece-Cole, second runner up for Miss Drag SA, and Miss Gay Nelson Mandela Bay Humanitarian 2018, Katya Mendez. To end off the day’s programme, we had the #GlamSquad – Katya Mendez, Ava-Reece-Cole, Dakota Demur and Jasmine McIver – on stage, who performed a Spice Girls medley. The tribute was excitedly welcomed by the audience.
The Pride After Party was also hosted at ZAZU Entertainment and ran from 8pm through to the early morning. Party goers were greeted by the sounds of Chance the DJ, headlining DJs Sham De Funk and Cape Town based DJ K-Dollahz who frequently graces the Rocking the Daisies stages and will be playing at AfroPunk later this year.
The atmosphere was electric. The balloons set up in the venue created a fun, playful space and the Pride flag was also displayed across the stage and on the big screen above the DJ booth. Pride was written all over the venue. We danced the night away and shared loads of hugs and laughter.
The NMB Pride 2018 Committee will be hosting an AGM before the end of 2018. We will be communicating dates and location on all social media pages as well the official NMB Pride 2018 website.
Kelley Felix is the NMB Pride 2018 Chairperson