Joburg Pride's culture still 'white male'
The scuffle between the organisers of Saturday's Joburg Pride parade and the NGO One in Nine has raised questions about what should be the aim of the event.
Though some people believe it is purely an event for uninhibited celebration, others feel that there should be a stronger focus on activism.
One in Nine campaign member Kwezilomso Mbandazayo told Talk Radio 702 yesterday that the parade betrayed the ideals of gay and Aids activists Simon Nkoli and Bev Ditsie, who helped organise the inaugural Joburg Pride festival 22 years ago.
Mbandazayo said the plight of black lesbians was ignored and the One in Nine protest was intended to "reclaim" the event.
During the march, 20 members of One in Nine formed a human wall across Jan Smuts Avenue, in Rosebank, blocking the march and demanding a minute of silence for the victims of hate crimes such as "corrective rape" that victimised lesbians.
One in Nine alleges that "about 20 black lesbians and gender non-conforming feminists ... were assaulted and intimidated".
Lesbian TV star Sade Giliberti, who compered the post-parade celebrations at Zoo Lake, was incensed by the accusations that the Pride event had become racist and "classist".
"Every day we deal with hate crimes . . .
'' Pride is the one day we're not to fight, but celebrate and let people know we are proud human beings," Giliberti said.
"It's not supposed to be a rally where we talk about sad things - it's never been about that.
"Throughout the year we're fighting for our causes; this day is to celebrate our diversity and be ourselves," she said.
Joburg Pride chairman Tanya Harford told 702 the day was "a celebration and recognition of gay rights".
But Mbandazayo said that One in Nine would call for a boycott of the now "commercialised" event.
"It cannot be an event.
''It was not started to celebrate colourfulness. It was started to be a moment of resistance, protest, and a moment to say: 'We're queer people, we are here, we are multi-layered, and these are our struggles and this is how we deal with them'."
Joburg Pride's culture was still "white male", Mbandazayo said.
Though a minute would not have been sufficient for a discourse on the concerns raised , Mbandazayo said it was all they needed to remember lesbians who were victims of corrective rapes and those killed as a result of hate crimes .