DURBAN – Over 1000 people gathered at the North Beach Amphitheatre on Saturday, July, 23 at 11 am armed with rainbow flags and balloons for the Durban Pride march along the promenade. Despite intermittent rain, the march along Snell Parade to uShaka beach went on with the colourful crowd returning along the promenade. The jovial atmosphere was accompanied by chants of “this is our street, “and “this is what democracy looks like.
Chief Marshall of Durban Pride, Jason Fiddler said he was pleased with the terrific turn out for this years march. “I had expected the overcast weather to dampen the march but there were over 1000 people here,” said Fiddler.
The march is a statement of all those proud to be part of the LGBT community. This march marks it’s sixth consecutive year.
Preceding the march, various stands were set up at the Amphitheatre with informative brochures in support of Pride.
Political support by a rainbow striped DA flag blended into the mix. “We, as a party fully support the LGBTI community and are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters here today to celebrate their own identity,” said Councillor Martin Meyer.
A bystander, William Phakola said “they have human nature, we have to accept them, they are our brothers and sisters.” In Durban for the AIDS conference, Alvaro Barges from Brazil was also watching the parade with interest. “If it was timed better, there could have been more people attending from the AIDS conference,”said Harley Edwards who was marching with friends Robyn Grobler and Celia Johnson.
Also represented at the Amphitheatre were the Democratic Nurses of South Africa (DENOSA), an organization advocating against corrective rapes and discouraging discrimination. Ethekwini Gender Chairperson from DENOSA, Zanele Gumede said, “this march is about protecting the rights of the LGBTI community.” The Gay and Lesbian Network, an organization dedicated to educating stakeholders such as community healthcare practitioners were also there to support.
Director of the Pride march, Nonhlanhla Mkhize welcomed the crowd and introduced several speakers including the Legal Admin Officer for the Department of Justice, Sila Thwala. The march commenced at 12pm after the National Anthem was sung.
Members from the Deo Gloria Family Church (DGFC) were gathered with rainbow placards saying “I’m a child of God, not a choice,”and “God loves me just as I am.” Pastor Brandon Aggett said, that his church was a “gay-affirming” church. “God came to change our hearts, not other people’s identities,” added Aggett.
Sex workers Thienny Schaffauser and Christine Pompadour from France also joined the march to advocate the decriminalization of sex workers.
The multi-coloured march ended with a celebration at the Ampitheatre.