The streets of Rosebank were a riot of colour on Saturday, 2 October, when the annual Joburg Gay Pride Parade passed through the suburb.
An estimated 18 000 people came to Pride’s 21st birthday party. The procession started and finished at the Zoo Lake Sports Club, with marchers setting off at 10am. The colourful parade - with thousands of marchers and numerous floats and open-top buses - brought traffic to a standstill as many people stopped their cars to watch. Thousands of people also lined the streets to watch the celebrations.
Joburg’s event is Africa’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride. This year a record number of revellers turned out at Zoo Lake to show that “We are all African” in their sexual and gender diversity.
Tanya Harford, Joburg Pride’s co-chair, said organisers were extremely happy with the event. “We believe that we have delivered on our mandate to put on an event that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and that carries our message out to the media and public.
“Without all the people that took part in this event, we don’t have a voice.”
Bongani “Doza” Mahlangu said Pride was a platform for freedom for homosexual beings. “I am proud to be gay and it is a good thing that we can now all come together and celebrate our sexuality without people discriminating against it.”
The theme of “We are all African” was chosen to highlight the deteriorating human rights landscape for LGBT people across Africa.
“The ‘We are all African’ theme is a call for LGBT Africans to affirm and assert their African-ness. Sexual diversity is a normal aspect of the human spectrum and we want this to be accepted on the continent as part of its rich tapestry of cultural, religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity,” said the co-chair, Zak Mbhele.
Following the parade’s return to Zoo Lake Sports Club, the celebrations continued until 6pm with live entertainment from various local performers, deejays and drag shows. A highlight was the sneak performance by the award-winning British pop star, Sonique, who had the crowd in party spirit. She later also headlined the Official Joburg Pride After-party, which took place at the Standard Bank Arena.
Beside the nonstop entertainment through the day, there were also stalls, bars, food stands, a children’s play area and LGBT community organisations. OUT and Health4Men hosted a Pride Village and offered HIV testing, counselling and advice to those who needed it.
Harford thanked the thousands who came out to celebrate Joburg Pride 2010, as well as the event’s sponsors and supporters.
“We would like to thank DGB, SAB, ABI, OUT, Health4Men, 94.7, Multi-Agency Grants Initiative, MJ Event Gear and Zoo Lake Sports Club. We’re also very grateful for the assistance of the Joburg metro police, the South African Police Service and Think Bike who marshalled the event.”
Joburg Pride is an annual celebration of the LGBT community in Gauteng, South Africa. The first Pride March in Joburg was held in 1990. It was the first lesbian and gay pride parade to take place on the African continent. It has taken place every year since then, making this year’s Joburg Gay Pride Festival its 21st birthday.