Despite a rainy and cloudy start to the day, around 150 people made history by taking part in the first-ever Hammanskraal Pride in December last year.
The event, which was held at Mandela Hall in the northern Gauteng township on Saturday, 8 December, was hosted by OUT LGBT Well-being.
OUT, through its TEN81 Pretoria clinic and outreach teams, provides free HIV testing and treatment, PrEP and other sexual health services to men who have sex with men.
Hammanskraal Pride was an occasion for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trasngender and queer) locals and their friends, families and allies to get together. It was also a rare opportunity to safely celebrate and assert diverse sexual and gender expressions and identities.
“There aren’t a lot of spaces in the area for LGBTQ people to socialise,” explained Happy Phaleng, Outreach Programme Coordinator at OUT. “And it can be difficult and expensive for them to go to other places or Prides outside of Hammanskraal. So there was a lot of excitement around the Pride.”
Attendees picnicked and braaied on the lawns while being treated to entertainment from performers and DJs. TEN81’s outreach staff and nurses offered Pride-goers the opportunity to get tested for HIV, be put on treatment or start PrEP (the daily pill that prevents HIV). The celebration ended in the early evening.
In response to the success of the event, Phaleng said that OUT plans to host future Hammanskraal Pride events in 2019.