News of a Pride March in Windhoek, Namibia appeared as a bolt of lightning. This remote, sparsely-populated nation on the south-west edge of Africa is a neighbor to LGBTI activism hotbeds like South Africa and Botswana, but rarely makes international headlines for its efforts in this arena.
We wanted to know more about this sudden show of community organizing and found Friedel Dausab at the center of this and other LGBTI activism in Namibia.
Following a series of hate crime attacks, members of Namibia’s LGBT community took to the streets of the capital Windhoek for a Pride march on Saturday, July 26.
“We painted Windhoek on a dreary winter morning with color and the paraders represented the diversity of LGBT communities across age, class, gender and racial lines in Namibia,” said Out-Right Namibia Director Friedel Dausab. “The reception by the public was good. We had some good cheers and many curious onlookers. A minority were unhappy but no attacks or violent incidences were reported.”
Organised by Out-Right Namibia, the procession through the city’s main road, Independence Avenue, included around 200 participants, who were escorted by the police.
Some marchers helped carry a huge rainbow flag while others held up placards with messages such as “Gay rights are human rights,” and “You don’t need to be LGBT to support LGBT.”
Dressed in colorful attire and accompanied by music from the lead float, the participants danced and chanted: “We are one, we are one!”
The parade was part of the We Are One advocacy week, which included workshops, discussions, fundraisers, health screenings, live performances, a “lip sync battle” and an afterparty. The week-long line-up of events concluded on Sunday with a “rainbow church service”.
Originally planned to take place later in the year, the march and We Are One advocacy week was moved forward after a well-known transgender member of the LGBT community was attacked at a restaurant and fast food store in the space of a week.
“Her friends brought the case to the Out-Right Namibia office,” said Dausab. “We decided to hold the advocacy week to highlight the fact that, as an LGBT community, we are part of the fabric of our communities and to celebrate our peaceful co-existence as productive citizens in our diverse communities.”