Over 1,000 march in support of queer pride
Winners of the 2023 Mr and Miss Cape Town Pride, Abubakr Shamiel Hartz and Zoë Robyn Seloane, joined over a thousand people for the annual pride march on Saturday. Photos: Ashraf Hendricks

Bright rainbow coloured flags made waves down the streets in Cape Town city centre as over 1,000 people marched in a parade to celebrate queer pride in South Africa on Saturday.

It was the culmination of Pride month, which started in February. This year’s theme was “Own Your Truth” and about being out and visible and celebrated.

Neo Makhulane and Bobbi Britz at the Cape Town Pride Parade.

“If you really want equality, that equality needs to include the working class,” said Neo Makhulane. She said that she joined the march to focus on those less visible, such as the “unhoused”.

She said the event should be more inclusive. The stadium event after the parade has a R50 entrance fee. “Pride should be free so that everyone, no matter how much money you have, can celebrate their pride and be part of this,” she said.

“It’s really nice to come out here and not only be accepted, but be celebrated,” said Chelsea Geach.

“I am here to celebrate being queer and being proud of it publicly because I think many of us grow up living with a certain amount of shame and the perception of being judged,” said Chelsea Geach.

She said that although homosexuality is legal in South Africa “visibility and representation is so important”. The parade was “to celebrate the fact that we are protected by the law here and that we have the right to exist”.

She said such events show the rest of the world how things should be. “We should be able to live without fear of being persecuted just for who we are,“ she said.

Hundreds of people marched down Somerset Road in Cape Town.

South Africa’s first Gay Pride march was held in 1990 in Johannesburg. According to South Africa History Online, it was the first gay pride march in Africa.

Today, over 65 countries (32 of them in Africa) have criminalised LGBTQ people.

Mandy Bayley-Blun and Leonie van Jaarsveld joined the parade with Cape Town Side Carts.

“The world needs to start accepting everybody for who we are,” said Mandy Bayley-Blun, a volunteer driver at Cape Town Side Carts. “No more judging. We are who we are and everybody needs to love us for that,” she said.

Published originally on GroundUp | By