Photo courtesy of A. Hebestriet
The Braunschweig Sommerloch Festival (Braunschweig Pride) in Germany experienced South African LGBTQ+ flair last week, thanks to NMB Pride.
Members of the Nelson Mandela Bay Pride (NMB) committee visited Braunschweig, from 6 to 13 August, as part of an exchange program between Lower Saxony and the Eastern Cape, focusing on the LGBTQI+ community.
The purpose of the exchange was to share experiences and knowledge between the two provinces as it relates to LGBTQI+ issues, pride events and HIV/AIDS.
Representatives of NMB Pride attended meetings with several organisations and assisted with the setup of the venue for the festival’s finale, where they also met with Dr Carola Raiman, the Minister of Social Welfare in Lower Saxony.
Braunschweig Pride (Pic: A. Hebestriet)
Several thousand took part in the Braunschweig Pride parade and thousands of spectators lined the route.
Peter Muller from NMB Pride made a presentation on LGBTQI+ life in South Africa. He compared South Africa’s progressive legal system – that provides many rights and protections against discrimination to members of the LGBTQI+ community – with the reality of the abuse and violence they face from society.
Muller said that “society does not change because the laws were changed. Society will only change through dialogue, engaging major role players, educating the public, social action and providing services addressing the needs of the community.” He added that “The struggle of the LGBTQI+ community is ongoing.”
Accompanied by two representatives from the Eastern Cape Aids Council, Nophiwe Ludidi and Vuyisa Dayile, in-depth discussions were held with the HIV and AIDS council of Lower Saxony regarding further cooperation. This will include NMB Pride in order to reach a wider audience within the LGBQTI+ community in the Eastern Cape with information about testing, treatment and prevention of HIV.
Three representatives from Germany, representing Aidshilife (Lower Saxony), Braunschweig Pride and the parent company, SVEN, will be attending the Nelson Mandela Bay Pride events at the end of November 2019 in support of the exchange program. Further discussions regarding senior government officials attending NMB Pride were raised and discussions are ongoing.
The SA contingent on stage at Braunschweig Pride (Pic. Hebestriet)
“We have really met a lot of stunning people, which became friends, and this while helping where we can and learning a lot in the process,” said NMB Pride’s Zac Muller. “We would like to thank everyone who made this exchange program possible, as well as making our time in Braunschweig unforgettable.”
The 2019 Nelson Mandela Bay Pride theme of “Unity through Diversity” and the line-up of events leading up to the march will be officially revealed at the Vibe Sports Bar in Sidwell on 31 August 2019, starting at 8 pm. The organisers have called on members of the NMB LGBTQI+ community to show their support and present a diverse but united front.
Nelson Mandela Bay Pride 2019 will be held from 23 November to 1 December, with the Pride march taking place on 30 November. For more information or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.nmbpride.co.za or the Facebook page.