There were rugby players and roller skaters, politicians and sex worker, religious groups and the cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. One look at the Cape Town Gay Pride parade, and it was obvious that this is a vibrant celebration of diversity. It’s no wonder they call South Africa the Rainbow Nation.
Every year in late February, thousands of people of every stripe gather in South Africa’s most LGBT-popular vacation destination, for a multi-day celebration, and this year’s edition was no exception. The 13th annual Cape Town Pride attracted more than 7,000 people to the festivities, and Director Matthew Van said to us just before the parade kicked off, “It’s exciting to see so many people here!”
This year’s parade and Mardi Gras Festival, both of which carried the theme “I Am What I Am,” served as the grand finale to several days of activities. Among the top events were the Mr. & Miss Cape Town Pride Pageant and “Men’s Night” and “Ladies’ Night” dance parties.
he most publicly visible component of Cape Town Pride took place on the final Saturday of the week, when parade participants gathered beneath the beaming South African sun in the gay-popular Green Point district, a few blocks from several neighborhood bars and restaurants.
Relaxed and joyous, the parade is a casual affair. It’s a smaller-scale gathering compared to cities on other continents to be sure (for most of the route, the parade shared half the street with traffic), but the festively dressed participants and lively floats provided lots of positive energy.
Like South Africa as a whole, LGBT pride attendees in Cape Town represent a broad diversity of ages, races, and lifestyles. After winding its way through central Cape Town, the parade ended on the verdant grounds of the Green Point Stadium, for what is perhaps the most enjoyable part of the Saturday event: the Pride Mardi Gras Festival. Here, everyone enjoyed a large area with food and other vendors, as well as organizational exhibitors. There was also a separate section for a stage and two large tents that provided comfortable places to sit, socialize, and order drinks from scantily clad bartenders.
These photos showcase some of the wonderful people that graced this year’s Cape Town Pride.