Oc­to­ber 13, 1990

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Comment - Www.sahis­tory.org.za

ON THIS day, South Africa’s first Les­bian and Gay Pride march was held in Jo­han­nes­burg.

It was the first Pride March in Africa and acted as both a gay pride event and an anti-apartheid march.

The march was or­gan­ised by the Gay and Les­bian Or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Wit­wa­ter­srand and at­tracted a crowd of about 800 peo­ple. Speak­ers at the event in­cluded Bev­erly Dit­sie, Si­mon Nkoli and jus­tice Ed­win Cameron.

The pur­pose of the event was not only to demon­strate pride in gay or les­bian iden­tity but also to pro­vide a wider plat­form for voic­ing po­lit­i­cal con­cerns.

The march was part of a broader strug­gle to de­crim­i­nalise ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity in South African law and to end apartheid. “I am black and I am gay. I can­not sep­a­rate the two parts of me into pri­mary or sec­ondary strug­gles. They will be all one strug­gle,” Si­mon Nkoli said in his ad­dress to the crowd.

Marchers feared for their safety, with many wear­ing masks dur­ing the event. There was a strong pres­ence of re­li­gious groups with many on­look­ers de­scrib­ing the march as “dis­gust­ing”. De­spite this, there was a gen­er­ally cel­e­bra­tory at­mos­phere to the pa­rade sig­ni­fied by the chant “out of the closet and into the streets”. –

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