Pride Month kicks off in Johannesburg with flag raising event


The Pride rainbow flag was raised at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg to mark the start of Pride Month in South Africa.

October is recognised as Pride Month to commemorate Africa’s very first Pride march, which was held in Johannesburg on 13 October 1990.

On that day, while still in the grip of the apartheid regime, around 800 people marched through the city to demand their human rights.

The historic event was organised by the likes of the late gay anti-apartheid activist Simon Nkoli, queer filmmaker Beverly Ditsie, and Edwin Cameron, who went on to become a constitutional court judge.

On Friday morning, the Thami Dish Foundation hosted a small gathering of activists who braved the grey and wet spring weather to raise the flag at the home of the country’s highest court.

The emotional event was attended by queer medical groundbreaker Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe and transgender reality TV personality Yaya Mavundla. Members of the Mzansi Gay Choir sang as the flag was hoisted into the sky.

Although LGBTIQ+ South Africans today have world-class constitutional and legal protections, they continue to face discrimination and often deadly hate crimes. This year alone, 19 queer people have been brutally murdered across the country.

On Friday, the family of Sisanda Gumede, a 28-year-old lesbian, laid her to rest in KwaZulu-Natal after she was murdered in a suspected homophobic hate crime – allegedly by her cousin.

Other recent incidents include the assault of a member of the LGBTIQ+ community known as Thandi who was left for dead in a ditch in KwaZulu-Natal. And last month, Bhumi North, a transgender Gauteng woman survived being bashed in the face and head by a man with a car jack.

Thami Kotlolo, the founder of the Thami Dish Foundation, told MambaOnline that Pride remains important “to celebrate our identity and our beautiful colourful selves.”

“As queer people, we’ve gone through the most with hate crimes in the country. It is important for us to raise our flag higher, to have these conversations, to be visible, and demand justice and hold people accountable.”

He added: “We’re here, we’re queer… and we’re here to stay.”


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