The Windhoek Pride Parade was one of the highlights of Namibia Pride 2021 (Photos: Carl Modler / Out & Proud Namibia)
The recent week-long Namibia Pride was the country’s biggest ever Pride celebration, featuring a colourful and defiant Pride Parade through the capital Windhoek.
Organised by the Namibia Equal Rights Movement, the commemorations included events such as a feminist festival, sunset yoga in the park, a quiz night, a film screening, an exhibition and a drag night.
On Saturday, the Windhoek Pride Parade wound its way through the city with a band, floats, dancers and a vibrant group of marchers who called for equality and the repeal of the country’s ban on consensual “sodomy”.
The procession stopped at the Independence Memorial and the offices of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security.
Dubbed the “Ministry of Homophobic Affairs,” it has been taken to court for its refusal to acknowledge the rights of same-sex families, specifically those of Namibian Phillip Lühl and his Mexican husband, Guillermo Delgado.
The couple, who were married in South Africa, recently won a High Court case in which the court confirmed that their young son Yona is entitled to Namibian citizenship. Sadly, the ministry is appealing the landmark decision.
The family were among those who took part in the celebrations, alongside former Mr Gay World 2021, Louw Breytenbach from South Africa, who was the parade’s Grand Marshal.
Pride participant Aedin Mohrmann said the parade reflected “a united, inclusive, loving, and diverse Namibian community united behind the power of free love.”
Mohrmann added: “Equality is important because we cannot claim to be a modern 21st century nation yet leave certain members of Namibian society outside, just because of whom they love or how they express their identity.”
Chris De Villiers, Chairperson of Out and Proud Namibia, commented that this year’s event had a more meaningful feel than the previous editions. “The accelerating pace of change in acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in Namibia is astonishing and those politicians trying to hang on to the old ideals will be left in the cold,” he said.
De Villiers asserted that “it is impossible to ignore the cry of this marginalised community. Namibia can no longer treat us like the runt in the litter. No longer are we silent and you can bet on the fact that we will be visible.”
Earlier, Breytenbach, along with South African activist and entrepreneur Tony McPherson and the Namibia Equal Rights Movement, met with the country’s Law Reform Commission at the Ministry of Justice to lobby for the repeal of the sodomy law and other legislation that impacts LGBTQIA+ Namibians.
Breytenbach, who soon after resigned as Mr Gay World, told Mamba that it was an honour to take part in the week’s events and to be able to show support for LGBTQIA+ Namibians. “This Pride experience definitely left me hopeful for a future where everyone can be included and where we as a diverse people can work together for the greater good,” he said.
The day after the parade, members of the LGBTQIA+ community gathered to paint the sidewalk outside the Brewers Market in Windhoek in the rainbow flag colours.
The photos of the parade and the sidewalk painting are courtesy of Carl Modler and Out & Proud Namibia.