I have always been prone to Sunday night syndrome. And it is Sunday night, so take this post with a hefty pinch of salt.
I have had it. I am just so, SO disappointed that I can hardly articulate it, but I will try.
The date for Mdantsane Pride was set at the beginning of the year. It was advertised widely on social media. People were excited – from the response, I expected an enormous turnout. Thabisa worked really hard, and I helped as much as I could. She did the organisational stuff – took time off work to attend endless meetings with Law Enforcement about the arrangements, and handled liaison with the branches and other organisations. I did the fun stuff – commissioned a balloon rainbow, arranged for flags to be made, etc. It was time consuming, but we were both really looking forward to it.
The march was scheduled to start at 12 noon, but Thabs asked people to gather at 11am so that we could paint posters together.
At noon, when we were scheduled to march, there were 25 people gathered. That isn’t a typo: TWENTY-FIVE!
The police didn’t pitch.
There was reluctance in the group to march without the police. “It is the township, not the suburbs,” someone said to me, “there is serious intolerance here – we are not safe”.
While Mfundi kept the vibe going, Thabs and Rave spent ages on the phone trying to get through to Law Enforcement to find out what had happened. Thabs had left, at home, the contract that she had signed with the Traffic Department, so it was difficult to make progress. At 1.30pm I left to go to fetch it. When I left Mdantsane to go home, there were 27 people present.
I didn’t go back to Mdantsane. I phoned Thabs and gave her the telephone numbers on the contract, and said that my instinct was that the police would not turn up and the march should be called off. She said that she would discuss it with everyone. I asked her to let me know.
She says that she was so busy dealing with the issue, and trying to hold things together, that she didn’t really understand that I was waiting for her to call me back. I settled down with a series. After an episode I called to find out what had happened. It turned out that the march had taken place. Without police protection, a tiny TINY group of people marched from Mdantsane City to Kasha Circle, waving flags and asserting their right to be who they are.
I am so proud of them. They did it.
And I am SO disappointed in all the people who said that they would, but didn’t… the people who travelled from all over the province for the after-party. Apparently Jeff’s place was packed to the gills last night with happy LGBTI people. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Explain it to me, please, people… explain why you will travel to PE and Knysna and Durban and Soweto to go to those Prides, but you won’t support one in Mdantsane? WHY? Why do you all want to buy flags (and grumble that only 16 were made) but you don’t want to wave them in Mdantsane? WHY?
I am so over it.