South Africa

South Africa

GroundUp: Soweto Gay Pride march targets hate crimes

GroundUp: Soweto Gay Pride march targets hate crimes

After the cancellation of last year’s event, the gay community reclaimed their right to organise at Soweto Pride at the weekend. By Ihsaan Haffejee for GROUNDUP.

First published by GroundUp

Over 200 people took to the streets of Soweto to celebrate the 2017 edition of Soweto Pride. Members of the gay community marched through Meadowlands and Dobsonville in Soweto protesting against hate crimes against them.

Photo: A participant shows off her neck jewellery. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee.

Photo: This couple came to Soweto Pride in matching outfits. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee.

The theme this year was “Reclaiming our right to organise” after Soweto Pride was cancelled in 2016. That year Johannesburg police upscaled the event from low to “medium risk” which would have resulted in organisers having to pay an additional R146,000 to stage the march. At the time, the Forum for the Empowerment of Women accused authorities of trying to discourage the event.

Photo: Marchers take to the streets of Soweto protesting against hate crimes that target the gay community. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee.

Photo: A participant in Soweto Pride 2017 poses in drag. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee.

This year’s march on Saturday went ahead without any issues and ended at Dorothy Nyembe Park. Selogadi Mampane recited a poem about the plight of the black gay community who still face marginalisation in South Africa and are the most affected when it comes to hate crimes.

Photo: A marcher poses after the march. Photo: Ihsaan Haffejee.

Mampane read out a list of names of women who have been killed for being lesbian. “I keep thinking, who are we going to lose next?” she said. “I am alive, we are alive and we should be celebrating that fact.” DM

Main Photo: A member of the gay community poses with the rainbow flag. All Photos by Ihsaan Haffejee.


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