SASSY: Spinsista Mitzi celebrating at the​ Cape Town Pride Festival​ at the weekend​.
SASSY: Spinsista Mitzi celebrating at the​ Cape Town Pride Festival​ at the weekend​.

Gender activists lay down demands

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Mar 5, 2018

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Cape Town - Gender activists said they threatened to disrupt the annual Cape Town Pride festivities to highlight hate crimes affecting the black LGBTIQ community in townships.

They said they were willing to put their lives on the line for their cause.

The group, representing various civic organisations, strategically placed people at different points to cause disruptions if they were not going to reach an agreement with organisers.

Activist Jacqui Dichabe said: “We are not anti-celebration, but Pride was started as a political movement to give us a voice to address our issues.”

Festival director Matthew van As said they agreed to give the activists 15 minutes of silence, as Pride is a mouthpiece to address various issues and is a space for everyone.

Dichabe said it was important and they felt they made some progress.

“It is still a long road, but we have tried everything to get our message across and it has not worked. The main thing is that we mourn, commemorate and remember the lives of the people lost who happen to be black LGBTI bodies, in particular black lesbians, especially in townships.

“People are killed, burned, raped with bottles, we want our issues seen. It is time to a put a spotlight on our issues. It's about human rights.”

Dichabe said that nine minutes in, they were approached to stop as people were getting restless. “But we said no, it is not going to happen, we had an agreement.”

As the engines of trucks started revving, the group lay down on the tar.

“It was emotional that we again had to lay our bodies down on hot tar to get our voices heard, but we won’t give up this fight,” Dichabe said.

Van As said: “The cause is important and we are committed to letting everyone express their anger and pain. But we were approached about this two days before, while the festival takes a year to plan.

“Everyone didn’t know there would be the 15 minutes of silence; that’s why they were getting restless.”

Both parties said they now wanted to discuss collaboration peacefully.

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