This year my article is more like commentary on how, in my observation Durban Pride went. The stalls were well supported and lined up in an orderly manner, a roll call of some sort and a little bit about the pageant as it happened, in a not so settled manner of set up.
The mission statement by the Durban Pride Planners for this year was Keep The Promise To The LGBTIQ+ people
The moment one entered the gate of the Pride venue there was a stall for the event organizers. Offering all the attendees placards one can sign, you could get your picture taken and a t- shirt with the Pride theme. Thumbs up for that.
Nonhlanhla Mkhize, the Durban Gays and Lesbian Centre manager opened the march with a few words, “the march is to declare our existence, this will not be a violent march but however it will be a peaceful march of advocating our rights and showing the community we are here and we are human beings, as we march we just want to say Keep the promise to the Lgbtiq+ people, lets march on and make history, I thank you”
The march was led by Sbongiseni Mkhwanazi from Durban Gays and Lesbian centre as well, his voice boomed in the streets of Durban shouting “phansi nokubulawa kwezitabane phansi, phansi nokudlengulwa phansi, phansi nokubandlululwa kweLGBTI+ phansi, phambili nokuphila kweLGBTI+ phambili.
It was when we got to the City Hall, pandemonium broke, with loud cheers as just a few weeks back, Same Love Toti tried to raise the LGBTIQ+ flag for pride month and they were told to put it down. There it was and when the arm struggle songs got louder, a statement was surely made leaving the people in the streets in awe, in the passion the message was being conveyed.
We marched through the streets that were designated for us, sang, laughed, and met new people and faces as the Durban Pride was attended by people from wide and far. Johannesburg was there, there was Capetonians were there, Mpumalanga, Ladysmith, and Pietermaritzburg just to mention a few.
We then walked back to the venue where both young and old were gathered celebrating. Different stalls lined up and many activities happening left right and centre
The following could be found at the Gugu Dlamini Park, the venue for the pride festivities:
- Testing for HIV and AIDS was being offered free of charge and the queue was long and unbearable but that just showed the excellence of how queer people are at guard health wise.
- Phila org. was there distributing their life skills and advice on how to be alive and protected from different health risks.
The following were used in various Facebook pages to show support for the Durban Pride theme of keeping the promise,
“You promised to protect me from harm at home.”
“You promised not to violate my rights within a relationship. You promised to prevent harm and prejudice towards me.”
“You promised to protect me from secondary victimization, and a free and fair legal process for justice to prevail.”
The # handles used were #KeepThePromiseToLGBTIQ #pridemonth #durbanpride #lovenothate #AHF #phila #RememberSimonNkoli #RememberGuguDlamini #RememberRonaldLouw.
With different stalls lined up in the Gugu Dlamini Park and a tight secured cage or fence surrounding us, I only imagined how free are we as Queer individuals? To the extent we are afforded a caged Pride yet we claiming existence.
Many stalls where lined up in the space for different sales, including the Bar where drinks were raining cats and dogs, people merrily jovial to the day. I best believe that stall of beverages was the best seller as most people where gathering by it than tables that were information disseminating and trying to mobilize and do demand creation to the good cause of what really is a Queer person.
There were other great stalls too such as the Deo Gloria’s stall which was the first you could see the moment you get in through the gates. With them doing face painting and offering different rainbow goodies on sale. Deo Gloria is a church, heard by Apostle Deborah Bell and wife, which is inclusive to all.
Another interesting stall was the Gays and Lesbians Network (GLN) all the way from Pietermaritzburg. An organization that also deals with LGBTIQ+ society in PMB, they were selling socks, t-shirts and rainbow flags.
The most important stall was the HIV and AIDs testing tent, where many responded very positively to by queuing up to know their statuses for a healthy living.
Last but not least was our very own Uniq Stall it, had books by our own Editor Mantsha Khuzwayo titled The Chronicles of a Single Lesbian and The Different Faces of My life: My Anthology. We also had a camera booth that had our logo background in pursuit to take images.
Lastly Ms Leyonce, the gorgeous lady from Hammarsdale won the Durban Pride 2018. Live performances and DJ’s were lit. Fun was the order of the day and all was happening down at Gugu Dlamini Park for our Durban Pride.
This is just my brief recount of what went down at Pride. One needed to be there to grasp and feel the atmosphere that was filled with Rainbow fun.
By Tinashe Wakapila