Pic: Francois Raubenheimer

KwaZulu-Natal’s LGBT community marked 20 years of democracy and freedom at Saturday’s 2014 Durban Gay Pride March.

Around 600 people took part in the lunchtime procession through the city’s streets, holding up placards and calling for LGBT equality.

Thanks to a vehicle tracking company, participants protected themselves from the sun under cover of a sea of donated pink umbrellas.

Earlier, a smaller crowd gathered at Sharks Stadium to hear speeches and commemorate LGBT successes and challenges that have accompanied the past two decades of democracy.

After the parade, the marchers returned to the stadium where they were treated to live performances and DJs. A number of people made use of mobile testing facilities at the venue to check on their HIV statuses.

Nonhlanhla Mkhize, Manager of the Durban Lesbian and Gay Community and Health Centre, which hosts Durban Pride, said that she was disappointed with the morning turnout for the more political aspects of the event.

“We as a community are still ignorant of our rights and the law. We don’t know what we have had to overcome and where we are right now. Some people are shocked when I tell them that before 1994 it was illegal for LGBT people to have sex. We still have a long way to go,” she told Mambaonline.


Pic: Francois Raubenheimer

Mkhize noted, however, that the crowds swelled as the day progressed and described the event overall as “beautiful”.

Jason Fiddler, who assisted with the parade, estimated that around 2,500 people took part in the day’s proceedings.

Mkhize said that organisers hope to next year extend Durban Pride into a year-long series of events, rather than only focusing on the march and the week preceding it.

Durban Pride was this year marred by controversy after efforts to have the eThekwini Municipal Council express its support for the march led to an alleged homophobic incident involving an ANC council member.

While a number of political parties were invited to Durban Pride, only the DA made the effort to attend. The ANC, which had earlier confirmed its attendance, failed to show up at the event.

The annual Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival is still under way and will continue to screen a selection of local and international LGBT films at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood until Sunday 6 July.

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