Soweto Pride 2013 defies South African Homophobia

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By Melanie Nathan, October 01, 2013.

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.17.23 PM

(September 28 2013). Picture: Elizabeth Sejake/City Press

Despite its all inclusive constitution, declaring full equality for all South Africans, including gays, lesbians, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and despite the independence of its judiciary system, South Africa’s LGBTI community still suffers extreme homophobia and it’s LGBTI refugee community suffers Xenophobia in addition to homophobia.  With so called ‘corrective rape ‘ and a government lacking in solicitude, at the helm of the LGBTI plight, are mostly  black South Africans living in villages and township areas.

Very few white South Africans who are gay and lesbian speak out or address the issue in the so called ‘Rainbow Nation.’  The white LGBT community are comfortable behind suburban high walls and remain silent.  However there are a core few who do make a difference and they can be named in mere single digits.

This Soweto Pride has a particular significance. The Township LGBT community is a true activist community and they have had enough. It is time for President Zuma to lead by example, to embrace full equality and to break his silence. It is time to recall homophobic South African Ambassador Jon Qwelane from Uganda and its is time for Minister Radebe to awaken the Task Team on corrective rape and hate, appointed 2 years ago which has yet to show results.

Soweto Pride was initiated in 2004 by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women as a social space for black lesbian women to celebrate their sexuality.

I usually report on Soweto Pride myself, but this has been a busy  Nelson Mandela and South African Gold Coin Exchange two weeks for me in Washington D.C. and London and so I defer to Mamba online:

Hundreds of people gathered at the Credo Mutwa Cultural Village for the ninth annual Soweto Pride march on Saturday (September 28 2013).

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 12.17.16 PM“Whose streets? Our streets!” Hundreds turned out for the 9th annual Soweto Pride march in the heart of the historic township on Saturday 28 September. The aim? To reclaim the streets for LGBTI people and demand justice for victims of hate crimes. Entertainment and fun followed in Credo Mutwa Park.

See the extraordinary photographs here:


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