International days of awareness against homophobia, sexual discrimination and transphobia happens around the world. These anti-homophobia days are aimed at critically engaging opinion and thought away from all discrimination and phobia when someone is not heterosexual.
In South Africa this day is both acknowledged and celebrated throughout the country with all events and gatherings hopefully contributing to elimination of sexual discrimination.
Khumbulani Pride is celebrated annually in Cape Town, a city of vast and disparate social and economic inequalities and a city which allows its Cape Town Pride to be white dominated and controlled primarily for white, male, wealthy middle class people.
Khumbulani Pride is black owned, mainly by black queer, gay, non-heterosexual, LGBT people and the event is located within and amongst black and working class communities.
This hood-based event shows up the wrongs and shortcomings of the white-male dominated Cape Town Pride which annually, is not only held in affluent areas of Cape Town, but also centers white male gay people as its target community. This Cape Town Pride is about money and, because the rich and middle class have the money to spend, Cape town Pride has lost its birthing function and reason for purposeful community existence by becoming an event and organisation which marginalises and excludes black and working class gay and queer people.
Khumbulani Pride is a people’s event of celebration, for the people, by the people and with the people. This year’s week long event takes place in May and culminates in a walk/march down the iconic Washington Street in Langa, the township which was the scene of the 1960 Sharpeville uprisings by oppressed blacks under the apartheid regime.
South Africa today is democratic with a voting right accorded to all over 18 yrs of age citizens. But it’s within society where black queer and gay people, despite a progressive constitution, face homophobia and sexual discrimination.
People’s lives have been taken out of society; they have been lost to hate acts of crime because some thinking amongst people within black communities is that heterosexual behaviour is the ‘ONLY’ behaviour and must be adhered to.
On the day of the march/walk/protest, Khumbulani Pride takes to the streets with chants and posters of ‘Down with Sexual Discrimination’, ‘No Homophobia’, ‘No Transphobia’, ‘My Sexuality Belongs To Me’. The march represents a confidence to own one’s black body and to feel safe on the streets without fear of being attacked.
Sexual discrimination must be mooted out of society. Heterosexism has no rightful or superior place in society. All sexualities must be equal and should not be discriminated against. This is what Khumbulani Pride preaches and celebrates. Most importantly, this celebration and protest is done with the consent and organisation of the people who matter and who must benefit from the protest action. Khumbulani Pride doesn’t give space to white, male gays and rich, moneyed, middle class people. Khumbulani Pride protects the vulnerable, black, non-moneyed gay and queer people.
Just a few years into existence and Khumbulani Pride is growing in awareness and people support. The protest march is getting bigger. And people’s confidence is also increasing and growing powerful. Khumbulani Pride also exposes the opportunism of the black middle class queer people who choose to attend and support the white-dominated Cape Town Pride, yet don’t give support to Khumbulani Pride events.
Community support and recognition is what propels Khumbulani Pride, an event rooted in community struggles and victories. Khumbulani Pride should be supported by thousands of people who believe in a non-discriminatory society and who demand an end to sexual discrimination. Khumbulani Pride is a people’s event and doesn’t represent the interests and power of the white-dominated Pride events held in the city. Khumbulani Pride is a powerful people’s movement which builds power for the people by the people in people’s communities.