The Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Mongameli Bobani, who has since been removed from this position, attended the annual NMB Pride 2019
calling on equality and freedom for all.
The event, held over the weekend of Saturday November 30 – Sunday December 1, is reported to have had an underwhelming turnout at Saturday’s parade when compared with the attendance at other Pride events hosted earlier that week, including the launch party and fun run.
However, this did not deter the enthusiasm of the LGBTQI community as they marched through the streets of Port Elizabeth waving rainbow and transgender flags to the support of cars that would hoot in solidarity.
“We unreservedly welcome and thank you for bringing pride, joy and colour to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality,” Mayor Bobani told the pride goers at Victoria Park Sports Club after the parade.
“On behalf of 1.2 million residents, you are all welcome”.
Having been named after South Africa’s iconic late president and champion for freedom and human rights, Nelson Mandela, Bobani thanked the organizers for showing that “Nelson Mandela Bay is truly living the spirit of a free and democratic South Africa where each and everyone enjoys equal rights”.
“We, therefore, urge the LGBTQI community to expose hate and abuse based on sexual orientation and gender identity and collectively advocate for laws and policies that will protect everyone’s dignity. If we act together, we can reach the hearts and minds of everyone in Nelson Mandela Bay,” said the mayor.
Zac Muller, NMB Pride organizer, said the event was a success, despite the turnout being low; it was an improvement from last year’s attendance.
Celebrations continued into late hours at the sports club venue, with one couple getting engaged, while another got married at the venue.
Muller said that they’ve done the best that they could after noting the cancellation of the Pride two years ago had weakened the event’s reputation, “we paid for much out of our own pocket,” he told MambaOnline.
“This year was a start to begin building it up so that it gets back to a few thousand people [participating]; where it was a few years go,” Muller said after disclosing the numerous challenges faced by organisers.