It’s one of the best days of the year. It’s the day that gets some people in a tizz and signs scream- ing “draai of braai”, but it is also the day of celebration, screaming pink and being loudly proud and gay. It is Joburg Pride Day and it’s happening on Saturday. Last year the event attracted 20 000 people.
“The parade was more than 3km long,” smiled Fulvio de Stefanis, a director of the Joburg Pride board. “Not even Cosatu can attract such a long march.”
Pride, as it is popularly known, began as a march 22 years ago. Said Pieter Rossouw, promoter of the popular after-party, the Fireman’s Ball: “Can you imagine, gay boys walking through the streets of Hillbrow in hot pants, with some of them wearing brown paper packets over their heads because homosexuality was illegal.”
You’ve come a long way, baby.
Nowadays, as opposed to a protest march, Pride is a celebration of gay rights which includes the right to marriage. Said the MEC of Arts and Culture, Lebogang Maile: “To be gay or lesbian is nothing less than being a human being who has made a choice to live their life the way they see fit.”
The theme for this year is Protect Our Rights, coming from a silly proposal that the constitutional rights of homosexuals be reviewed, one which was immediately rejected by the government.
“Saturday is a celebration of our constitution as long as we are free,” said de Stefanis.
After the march, which will take place in Rosebank (it will start and end at Zoo Lake), there will be a big day-time party.
Artists will include Erica Elle, the gay darlings Flash Republic, newcomer Nancy G and Crazy White Boy. There will also be a debut appearance by Pabi Moloi.
The main after-party is the Fireman’s Ball, which will take place at Rivonia Junction Basement from 9pm. The big act of the night will be the Swedish superstar Ola (pictured).
“This is the first time we are featuring an international star,” said Rossouw. “Since our inception six years ago we have outgrown clubs and need to find bigger spaces.”
Last year the Fireman’s Ball attracted 3 000 people and this year organisers hope to attract even more. Holding it in a parking lot is no problem for veteran promoter Rossouw.
“We’re taking over the basement. Of course there will be draping everywhere. The VIP area will be powered by the most ostentatious furniture. It’s ultimately a dance party and the girls like to dance.”
Joining Ola will be 5FM’s Roger Goode, DJ Fresh and Poppy Ntshongwana as well as Stuart H. The party will start at 9pm.
Pride is providing transport to and from the march, with buses from Mamelodi, Soweto and Thembisa. The march begins at 11am. See you there looking pretty.