Pride Month, a community in mourning.
Words by Dumisani Dube
In South Africa it seems like there is obviously a targeted war against the queer community. This is not what Simon Nkoli fought for. This is not what Pride should look or feel like. South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, which seeks to protect all, and ALL should include even those with different sexual orientations and gender identity.
There have been pride parades in South Africa celebrating Queer pride since 1990. These were historically used for political advocacy protesting against legal discrimination against queer people, and for the celebration of equality before the law after the apartheid era. They are increasingly used for political advocacy against hate crimes, such as corrective rape and now the ever-increasing murders of queer bodies. It’s not yet Uhuru!
Pride month is meant for the queer community promote to self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increase visibility. When June clocks, the media is abuzz, the world is colorful, rainbow flags are raised, frocks are dusted and worn in celebration. This time the flags are flown at half-mast, if flown at all. African queers are in mourning. Mourning the death of human rights, mourning the loss of so many lives. We have lost the basic rights to live freely. Our lives are in the hands of those that hate us. No human rights for all. We are being slain and nobody seems to care. Cry my beloved Africa.
Despite all attempts by the LGBTIQA movement to call on the government to intervene there has been nothing. Silence! The silence is so loud that it instigates perpetrators to keep on striking. And this they are doing; 14 hate crime murders have been recorded in less than 3 months. How long? How much longer?
They are trying to make us swallow our PRIDE or choke on it. They are reminding us that we are still and will always be a minority. They want to instill fear in us, send us all crawling back into our closets. They want to take our pride and silence us. It’s a game of power. But we will not be silenced. I would rather die than be closeted, because the closet is a worse grave (in my opinion).
Pride Month has always been about celebrating how far we've come as a community, to commemorate the stonewall riots. The people before us that paved the way, we should continue fighting the good fight for their sake, our sake and for the sake of the future queer. We need to be even more Resilient & Resistant. Slavery ended this way, endurance, resistance and resilience. We have the law on our side now (even though not fully) and we will get to the promised land. LGBTIQA+ Movements and individuals are all working tirelessly on their respective mandates to make sure we get there. We move....
Dumisani Dube is a human rights activist and Editor of Exit Newspaper