- Joburg Gay Pride 2008 was celebrated by an estimated ten thousand gays, lesbians, friends and families on Rosebank streets, JOhannesburg, on Saturday morning.
32 colourful floats wound their way from Zoo Lake Club, accompanied by cheers from passers and thousands of revelers dressing in fantastical costumes whilst others were dressing in their everyday clothes.
"We had an amazing turnout, Joburg's citizens showed that they are not only proud of their diversity but also recognise that many in South Africa today are still in fear of losing their lives because of their sexual identity," said Zak Mbhele, co-chair of Joburg Gay Pride Festival.
The 19th gay pride paradise event in the city’s history this year was aimed at highlighting recent increasing hate crimes against members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Numbers of black lesbians were murdered in particularly.
“Love not hate” theme was a famous feature of Joburg Pride’s marketing and publicity material and reflection in many floats.
Paradise's return to Zoo Lake Sports Club celebrations continued until 6 pm with live entertainment with 5 fm DJ’s drag shows on decks.
Participants also had opportunity to commemorate LGBT victims of hate crimes by leaving memontoes, prayers, poems, artworks and messages at The wall of Remembrance curated by Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA).
However ensuring that Wall of Remembrance becomes part of LGBT history, messages and artefacts will be kept by GALA for possible events.
"To date no significant public figure or politician has condemned the killings of our sisters, mainstream media has largely ignored these murders, and court cases have been characterised by bureaucratic delays and incompetence. To date no one has been convicted of any of these murders. Let us hope that one day, not too far off, love and not hate will predominate," said Joburg Pride board member in a message that was read out on stage.
"The event ran smoothly with no significant incidents," said Joburg Gay Pride Festival board co-chair, Tanya Harford, who is also responsible for organising Johannesburg's largest running and cycling events.
Adding “we have firmly reestablished Joburg Pride as one of city's most significant cultural events and are already looking forward to next year's festival."
Meanwhile he thanked thousands of those who took part as well as the event’s sponsors and supporters, as well as police and other authorities who marshaled the event.
The event consisted of a parade and associated entertainment, social and educational events that aim to raise visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Pride also serves, as a celebration of this community and in many countries it has become an international tourist attraction.
Joburg Pride Parade took place in 1990 and was first in Africa, and was organised by a section of non-profit volunteers' board from various sectors of LGBT community.
Joburg Pride celebrations for 2008 was concluded with numerous independent after parties hosted by bars and clubs that took place around the city well into early hours of Sunday morning.
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