Cape Town Gay Pride shows solidarity with Africa's persecuted

Africa Gay marriage has existed in South Africa since 2006, but homosexuality is illegal in 30 African countries.  By RODGER BOSCH AFP
MAR 2, 2024 LISTEN
Gay marriage has existed in South Africa since 2006, but homosexuality is illegal in 30 African countries. By RODGER BOSCH (AFP)

Led by motorcycle riders draped in rainbow colours and dressed in multicolour costumes, more than 3,000 people on Saturday took part in Cape Town's annual Gay Pride parade.

The parade was an opportunity for South Africa to reaffirm its place as one of the rare African countries to recognise LGBT+ rights.

"I am here because I am me," said Bonus Ndlovu, 48, a gay man who was married in December and was part of a group of fellow Christians who support LGBT+ rights.

"I believe that God created us to be ourselves. In front of God, there's no queers, gays, it's human beings," he said.

While gay marriage has been legal in South Africa since 2006 and discrimination against sexual minorities is prohibited in the constitution, homosexuality is illegal in 30 African countries, some of which have recently tightened their laws.

Ghana's parliament on Wednesday voted in one of the most draconian laws on the continent, drawing condemnation from the international community.

Earl Semu, a 37-year-old Zimbabwean lesbian, was marching in her first Gay Pride, along with her 18-year-old daughter.

"Me and my siblings here, we fled from Zimbabwe to be ourselves, we cannot go home because we would face the worst," she said, surrounded by fellow refugees and members of Safe Place International, which supports endangered LGBT+ people.

Semu, a Safe Place global director, said she is in contact with many people in Uganda, where the LGBT+ community faces highly discriminatory laws.

"We are here today to amplify the voices of the marginalised community that are not able to be with us, they are not able to speak, they have to be anonymous, stay hidden, in the background," Semu said.

Triven Bumstead, a 35-year-old stock trader, said that "there seems to be a new wave of homophobia, anti LGBT+ movement in politics around Africa. It makes me sore to know that my fellow LGBTQ+ citizens of Africa are being persecuted in this way."

Even in South Africa, it can be dangerous to be too openly gay, said Kathy Rudolph, 32.

"Access to safety is definitely skewered towards the privileged and white upper-class people," she said.