Following a meeting of community stakeholders last weekend, a decision has been made to form a non-profit company to run Joburg Pride in the future; a move which could see a revitalised event in years to come.
The goal of the discussion – which was facilitated by Mambaonline – was to deal with the ongoing controversy around the credibility and success of Pride events in the city.
The meeting was held on Saturday the 3rd of June at Constitution Hill and was attended by 19 invited people including previous Pride organisers, representatives of community organisations, clubs and gay media.
The group agreed on a number of key issues, including forming a registered section 21 non-profit company to run Pride. This entity will be audited annually, and will be run by a board of community representatives. The proceedings did not discuss the contentious nuts and bolts of the Pride event itself (parade route, dates and so on), but rather focused on high-level strategy.
Paul Tilly who organised the 2005 Joburg Pride, said afterwards that, “A section 21 non profit company is the most suitable way to carry on the legacy of Johannesburg Pride and to represent the interest of the LGBT community”.
It was generally felt that Pride should not be “owned” or managed by one person as it is next to impossible for an individual to organise Pride effectively. In addition, too much control would rest with that person, he or she would not be sufficiently representative and could not provide the necessary continuity required. Cape Town Pride and the 2010 Johannesburg Gay Games Bid were seen as possible business models to consider in the company’s organisational structure.
“Pride is a massive undertaking and carries much responsibility; those who have run it in the past have made many sacrifices. A section 21 company can help ensure the sustainability of pride as a concept and that it happens every year – with community ownership as opposed to private ownership”, said Donna Smith from Forum for the Empowerment of Women who attended the meeting. “It should also help in securing funding and getting gay business to support Pride”, she added.
It was decided that as there is insufficient time to establish the company before the date of the 2006 Joburg Pride (September 30), the company would not be involved in this year’s event. It was agreed that the organisational structure must be sound and in place before embarking on this task in 2007. It was noted that the 2006 event will be organised by Gary Bath independently of the company.
Those attending agreed that the constitution of the company must ensure that the board is held accountable to the community, that it aims to increase representativity in its own ranks, and must include guidelines to ensure that conflict of interest among board members does not occur.
The following people were chosen for the board: Two representatives to be selected by the Joint Working Group (community organisations), Tanya Harford (logistics), Paulo dos Santos (legal), Paul Tilly (festival and culture), Luiz DeBarros (media / communications), Fulvio de Stefanis (clubs), Bruce Walker, Renier Coetzee and Tracey Sandilands.
It was also widely felt that someone representing the city – to be identified – should also be included on the board (as was the case with the 2010 Joburg Gay Games Bid.) In addition, the board will approach a number of influential members of the community to serve as non-executive directors.
The meeting concluded with the board being tasked to proceed with registering the company and drawing up a constitution, which will be widely circulated for feedback before being adopted.
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