Joburg Pride announced on Friday that it has secured two substantial sponsorships for the 2008 Gay Pride Festival.

Douglas Green Bellingham’s (DGB) Flex Bender spirit brand will be the event’s primary sponsor while national hit music radio station 5FM has come on board as Joburg Pride’s official media partner for a second year running.

Joburg Pride Sponsorship Coordinator Fulvio de Stefanis says: “The Flex Bender deal represents a considerable sponsorship. Although DGB was a sponsor of the 2007 festival, a commitment of this size indicates their increased confidence in the newly revitalised Pride brand.”

“The Joburg Gay Pride Festival is an event that directly appeals to a large section of our target market for Flex Bender,” adds Sipho Mdluli, Marketing Director of DGB. “Through this sponsorship we hope to continue to build our relationship with the gay community.”

As the official Joburg Pride media partner, 5FM, recently voted “Coolest Radio Station” (Sunday Times/Generation Next Awards 2008) and reaching 1.5 million 20-30 year old cosmopolitan South Africans, has undertaken to provide close to R1m’s worth of airtime and exposure, both in the run-up to the 2008 festival as well as during the Pride week.

“The station will work closely with Joburg Pride in selecting the bands and artists for the Parade Day and 5FM’s DJs will host the on-stage events as they did last year – taking Pride to the Power Of 5,” explains Aisha Mohamed, the station’s Marketing Manager.

As primary sponsor, Flex Bender’s logo will be included on all 2008 Joburg Pride marketing materials, and the festival will be promoted as being presented by 5FM and Flex Bender.

“These deals are major coups for Joburg Pride,” comments Pride Chair Zak Mbhele. “For us to get this kind of corporate buy-in and funding shows great faith in Joburg Pride. It also reflects a growing willingness to reach out to the ‘pink’ market.”

The 2008 Joburg Pride Festival, which is organised by a not-for-profit company of volunteer board members, will take place from 29 September to 4 October 2008. The traditional Pride Parade will be held on Saturday 4 October at Zoo Lake. The Parade will be followed by a concert in the park that will feature leading musical artists.

The theme for Joburg Pride in 2008 is ‘Love, not Hate.’ It aims to highlight the recent spate of hate crimes against members of the gay community; especially black lesbians such as Eudy Simelane, Zoliswa Nkonyana, Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa who were all brutally murdered because of their sexual orientation.

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is an extreme expression of prejudice, expressed through violent criminal acts, committed against people because of the group to which they belong or identify with. Perpetrators of hate crimes seek to demean and dehumanise their victims whom they consider different from them because of their actual or perceived race, gender, sexual orientation, health status, social origin or other characteristics. The prejudice of the perpetrator is what makes a hate crime distinct from other acts of violence.

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