This year's Soweto Pride will be held on 26 September and will honour the memory of two hate crime victims: Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa. The theme of the event is 'Our Lives Matter – Safety, Justice and Freedom Are Our Rights'.
Soweto Pride has been held at Credo Mutwa Park in Jabavu for the last few years, but will this year return to Meadowlands Zone 2 Park (Moroka Street, opposite the police station). It was here that Sigasa and Masooa were brutally murdered in 2007.
In 2009 – the last time Soweto Pride was held in Meadowlands – a plaque and memorial bench were installed in the park, though these were later removed by the council when the park was upgraded.
'As part of this year's Soweto Pride we will hold a memorial for Sizakele and Salome,' explains Siphokazi Nombande, Advocacy Coordinator for the Forum for the Empowerment of Women, (FEW).
'We will have a moment of silence to remember them and all the other lesbians who are victims of hate crimes. Their murder remains unsolved. Until today we do not know who killed Sizakele and Salome. Justice keeps failing us.'
Soweto Pride was started by FEW in 2004 with the aim of creating a political and social space for the township's LGBTI community, with a particular focus on black lesbian women. In the decade since, the annual march has become one of the most influential pride events in Gauteng, with an estimated 5000 people taking part in 2014.
According to a statement from FEW, Soweto Pride 'is aimed at publicly expressing and celebrating our identities, activism and resilience as black lesbian women. It is also a space to express our outrage at the violations that we still face in South Africa because of our sexuality. It is an act of courage and resistance, an act of open public display and a key moment in the year for increasing the visibility of all the identities of this community.'
Soweto Pride 2015 will kick off at 9 am. There will be a programme of speeches, followed by the march and then an afternoon of festivities in the park. People are welcome to bring a picnic basket and camping chairs. A number of after-parties will also be held at various locations on the night of the march.