How Pride must campaign as well as party

For some, it’s an annual celebration, for others a struggle of constant advocacy. The future of Pride depends on reconciling the two, writes Daniel Conway.

The World Today Updated 1 June 2023 Published 2 June 2023 3 minute READ

Daniel Conway

Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster

When Zandile Motsoeneng asks ‘What is the face of a rape survivor?’ while taking part in the Soweto Pride march in the South African township, she knows the answer. ‘It’s a black woman, and when you are black and you live in a township and you come out as a lesbian, then you are a number one target.’

Party or campaign?

Despite South Africa’s progressive constitution that protects women’s and LGBTQ rights, homophobic attacks persist. Soweto Pride has campaigned about these issues since the mid-2000s. The march culminates in a silent ‘die in’ where activists lie on the road to symbolize the deaths of LGBTQ  people in South Africa, while others hold pictures of those recently killed in homophobic attacks.

By contrast, Johannesburg Pride is a celebratory party that takes place in a shopping mall in Africa’s richest suburb. Zandile was one of the dozens of black protesters who disrupted the route of Johannesburg Pride in 2012.

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