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14 of the Best Tweets From Johannesburg Pride This Weekend

Why Global Citizens Should Care
The UN’s Global Goals call for action on reducing inequalities, regardless of sexuality, gender, age, disability, religion, ethnicity, or any other status. Pride events to celebrate inclusivity, and raise awareness of the issues still being faced, are a vital part of this effort. Join us by taking action here to support the Global Goals and end inequality. 

On Saturday, the streets of Johannesburg were filled with members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies, all turning out to mark the 2018 Pride march. 

It’s the longest and largest LGBTQ+ event of the year, drawing thousands of people from across Africa — and according to event organisers it’s all in the name of celebrating inclusivity. 

A festival hosted by Johannesburg Pride and headlined by South African musician Toya Delazy drew crowds bearing rainbows and glitter to Melrose Arch.

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It comes 28 years after Johannesburg hosted the first Pride march on the African continent in 1990, which was both a Pride event and an anti-apartheid march — as well as marking a broader struggle to decriminalise homosexuality in South Africa, according to  

About 800 people gathered for the 1990 march, organised by the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW), in the same year as Nelson Mandela’s release from prison after 27 years. 

“I am black and I am gay,” speaker and prominent gay rights activist Simon Nkoli told the crowd. “I cannot separate the two parts of me into primary or secondary struggles. They will be all one struggle.” 

Due to safety and security concerns, many of the first Pride marchers wore masks and marched anonymously — while chanting “out of the closet and into the streets.” 

According to Keval Harie, Gay and Lesbian Archive director, it was “very much a political act.” 

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“At that time the question of whether you could be ‘out’ wasn’t even a question,” he told HuffPost SA. “There was a lot of shame around it. People were literally walking around with paper bags on their heads. So it’s important to take stock of where we came from, because we have made big strides in South Africa, thanks in part to the activists of the past.” 

Since then, Pride has remained both a highly-politicised event. 

This year, critics launched boycotts of the Price event saying that it is exclusive, including the decision to host it at Melrose Arch, an upmarket suburb.

“I refuse to force myself to go into white spaces where I am not wanted and welcomed as a black person,” said one Twitter user. “White people think Gay Pride is a party. It’s more than that, it’s not some big festival for us to go get drunk and have sex.” 

“We still have serious issues and challenges that we are faced with as the LGBTIQ+ community especially as black people which the Joburg Gay Pride in its current form it’s out of touch with,” they added.

Organisers responded that they hoped to make the event more “mainstream” and safer by hosting it at Melrose Arch. 

“There is a different kind of pride associated with being in a world-class complex such as Melrose Arch,” Johannesburg Pride chairperson Kaye Ally told HuffPost SA. “It lets Pride have the same quality as [those in] New York, San Francisco, London.” 

“Just look at the pictures in our galleries, you will see that it is the most diverse crowd,” Ally added. “It is represented by every identity.” 

It was made illegal in South Africa to discriminate based on sexual orientation by the country’s 1996 constitution, which was one of the most progressive constitutions in the world for personal freedoms, according to

In December 2006, the South African government then legalised same-sex marriage — making it the first African nation to do so.

But, despite legislative advances, discrimination and abuse is still a daily reality for the LGBTQ+ community. 

According to a 2017 report, four in 10 LGBTQ+ South Africans know of someone who has been murdered “for being or suspected of being” lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. 

Black LGBTQ+ community members were found to be almost twice as likely as white respondents — 49% compared to 26% — to know someone who had been murdered, according to News24.

The research found that abuse ranged from verbal threats and insults, to being chased, personal property being destroyed, and physical violence, including being hit, sexually abuse, or raped. 

The Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 is presented and hosted by The Motsepe Foundation, with major partners House of Mandela, Johnson & Johnson, Cisco, Nedbank, Vodacom, Coca Cola Africa, Big Concerts, BMGF Goalkeepers, Eldridge Industries, and associate partners HP and Microsoft.