15th Annual Ekurhuleni Pride March Celebrated in Wattville

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Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC) in partnership with Wattville Actonville (WACTON) hosted the 15th annual Ekurhuleni Pride march at Rakele park, in Wattville on 10 September 2022. The theme this year was: Reclaiming our street.

The pride week started with a workshop on 8 September 2022, where members of the community and the pride organizers were engaging on a safe sex talk called ‘Healthy Love Party with Sister Love’ (an organisation).

Ever since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, this was the first pride that had a march in the 2 years. Many young queer people and LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex and Queer +) allies marched through the streets of Wattville where they were making a statement showing their existence; singing struggle songs and holding placards with messages to the community.

“The march was a success, we had community members coming out of their houses to march with us, read our placards and some were asking questions. We got a positive response from the Wattville community”, said Mrs Bontle Khalo Mohapi who was one of the organizers from EPOC and Power Radebe who is a member of the WACTON organisation.

The two organisations worked with local stakeholders who also showed support. These were The Martins, Life line, Methodist church, the ANC and the Ekurhuleni municipality.

The Pride march was attended by a number of queer communities from in and outside Ekurhuleni joined by LGBTIQ+ allies and MMC Bokang Lethoko.

Despite the fact that they could not get as many sponsors on board, the Ekurhuleni Pride march of 2022 was a colourful and successful event. Power Radebe shared her experiences as it was their first time organizing such a big event.

“It was challenging and very stressful, the Ekurhuleni municipality didn’t issue funds on time, the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department and the local South Africa Police Services was (sic) also asked for assistance during the march but none of them showed up on the day”, she concluded by saying, “They have failed us.”

“The planning process began as early as January, and, we sent a detailed concept note to the Ekurhuleni municipality on the 6th of June to be precise, it included, details about the march, [the] budget and other stuff. But they didn’t respond as quickly as anticipated, which lead to us scaling down on other logistics,” said Khalo Mohapi.

Donwell Mpofu who identifies as a transman and who was attending the event for the first time also emphasized on the visibility part.

“My core message as I was marching was to tell the people that transgender people exist and we matter as part of the queer community.” Another lesbian identifying woman, Nomawethu Mpeta, who also attended for the first time said she enjoyed the march the most, and will definitely do it again.

The day ended with a picnic where many queer people joined.  They also had stalls owned by queer people selling different things from food to accessories and a program directed by Nathi from Daveyton which had dance performances and music by queer upcoming artists.

Khalo Mohapi went on to mention how they, as an organisation, want to ensure Ekurhuleni Pride march is even a bigger success going forward, “looking at the historical fact that Ekurhuleni Pride is the 3rd largest pride in South Africa we don’t want to lose momentum.”

The Ekurhuleni Pride march rotates around the different Ekurhuleni townships every year, “Many comrades want the Ekurhuleni Pride march to be in their particular township, we’ve got interest from Duduza, Katlehong, Tembisa so I think we[‘re] going to sit down and decide , but because Duduza has been crying for a long time, I hope and believe Ekurhuleni Pride 2023 might be in Duduza, and we[‘re] hoping to mobilise more for the actual marching procession because that is most important part of Pride,” concluded Khalo Mohapi.

A statement of gratitude from EPOC read, “A big thank you to the community of Wattville and the queer people who attended the 15th Ekurhuleni Pride march. It wouldn’t have been such a great success if it wasn’t for you. There is no LGBTIQ+ Pride, without you. We hope to see you again next year.”

This article was submitted on 19 September 2022. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

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