Martina Navratlova supports Joburg Pride ‘09

Sports icon backs Africa’s biggest gay Pride parade

September 18, 2009

Martina Navratlova
JOHANNESBURG — Legendary tennis champion Martina Navratilova has expressed her support for the upcoming Joburg Pride Parade, presented by 94.7 Highveld Stereo, which is set to take place on Saturday 3rd October.

“Pride is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, especially the youth, to come out and publicly celebrate who they are. It can be a truly life-changing experience. It certainly was for me,” said Navratilova in a message of support sent to Pride organisers.

“By taking part in Joburg Pride you not only stand up for your sisters and brothers across the continent and the world, but you also affirm your own dignity and humanity. Be proud Joburg!” enthused the ground-breaking, openly-lesbian sportswoman, who has been described as the greatest tennis player of all time.

This year’s event sees Joburg Pride celebrate its historic 20th anniversary. The city’s inaugural Pride Parade took place in 1990, and was the first on the African continent. The theme for 2009 is ‘You Need Pride’, aiming to highlight the importance of Pride for the gay and lesbian community. Last year an estimated ten thousand gays and lesbians – and their friends and families – took to the streets of Rosebank to celebrate Joburg Pride 2008.

The 2009 Parade, featuring a host of colourful floats and thousands of revellers, will be held on Saturday 3rd October, kicking off from Zoo Lake Sports Club at 11 am through the streets of Rosebank. The procession will be led by the Grand Marshal of the Parade, none other than 94.7 Highveld Stereo’s Jeremy Mansfield.

Refreshment points for marchers and their dogs, sponsored by Powerade and Royal Canin, will be provided along the route. No alcohol is permitted to be consumed in the Parade and participants are reminded to wear sunscreen and a hat or cap.

Marchers return back to Zoo Lake Sports Club at around 12.30 pm for the rest of the Pride Day festivities until 5pm. Besides the entertainment, featuring 94.7 Highveld Stereo personalities, DJs and drag performances, there will also be Pride stalls with all sorts of goodies on display and on sale, bars, food and a kiddies’ play area.

A ‘Community Village’ will house representatives from a number of gay community organisations and will highlight the 20 year history of Joburg Pride. The gates at Zoo Lake Sports Club open at 9am. Entrance is free and everyone is invited!

For more information, visit

Joburg Pride Week

The days ahead of the annual Joburg Pride Parade will see a number of independent Pride themed events organised by gay-friendly and gay-owned businesses and venues. Chief among these is Cinema Nouveau’s Pride Month, featuring three gay-themed films and kicking off with a fund-raising film premiere on Thursday 24th September. There will also be various events at gay bars and clubs – all culminating in the parade and a variety of post-parade after-parties around Gauteng. For more information on these and other Pride-themed events, go to the Pride Schedule section on

You Need Pride

Joburg Pride is an annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Gauteng. The 1990 Joburg Pride March was the first lesbian and gay pride parade to take place on the African continent. It was organised by the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand (GLOW) headed by the late legendary gay rights and anti-apartheid activist Simon Nkoli. Many of the participants wore brown paper bags over their heads out of fear for their safety. The event has taken place every year since then, making the 2009 Joburg Gay Pride Festival the 20th annual Pride event in the city. Today, Joburg Pride is organised by a Section 21 company run primarily by a board of volunteers. 2009 is also the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which saw members of the city’s LGBT community stand up against official repression for the first time; for many representing the birth of the LGBT equality movement. – Issued by Joburg Pride

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