Attending Pretoria Pride, the Mayor of Tshwane, Solly Msimanga, has called on Africa’s leaders to protect and embrace the LGBTI community.
On Saturday, Msimanga joined hundreds of people for the Pride march through Centurion; believed to a first for a Gauteng mayor. Only Cape Town has previously seen a city’s mayor formally taking part in a South African Pride event.
Msimanga also delivered the keynote speech after the march, affirming the rights of the LGBTI community. He revealed that he’d attended Pretoria Pride twice before but this was the first time in his official capacity.
“This is not just for people to walk around and strut their stuff,” said Msimanga. “This is also to create awareness. This is to say that, ‘I am a human being just like you are. I’m not a freak, I’m not a mistake.'”
“We need to make sure that we protect [LGBTI people] and that we act against those who are hell-bent on ‘corrective [rape]’ and all of that nonsense. We need to educate people so that they understand that we all belong to the human race.”
Msimanga went on to call out countries in Africa that continue to have oppressive anti-LGBTI laws that criminalise, discriminate against and stigmatise people because of their sexuality or gender identity.
“We need to stand from the bottom of Africa and say, ‘Africa must wake up’. Now is the time that we send a message from the capital city that says: ‘It doesn’t matter, my sexual orientation. I am a human being and my rights are no less than what yours are.”
Msimanga promised to increase the city’s support for Pretoria Pride, which this year included providing buses to and from the event around the city. Read more via Mamba Online
See more pictures of the parade