For the first time ever a South Africa Pride has a theme song specially composed for the event.
South Africa, with its liberal Constitution and equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer plus (LGBTQ+) people, celebrates a number of Pride events all over the country. Pretoria Pride is arguably the biggest of these. Now in its fifth year, the event is set to become even bigger with more than ten thousand people expected to attend.
And for the first time ever since the first Pride event in the early 1980’s, a South African Pride has it’s own theme song. GaySA Radio, media sponsor for Pretoria LGBTI Pride, sent out a call for musicians to compose and record a song that links up with this year’s theme, Carnival. And a selection has been made and released just in time for the build-up events leading to the main Pride event on 7 October.
The song is called Human Being by Cape Town singer Latheem Gabriel. The song speaks about the various labels people in the LGBTQ+ community attach to themselves and challenges us to not be limited by these labels. Whether we are top, bottom, intersex, lipstick lesbian, or whatever, at the end of the day we are all human beings, and beautiful ones at that.
In an interview with GaySA Radio, Latheem said that the theme of the song was a no-brainer for him, as he wanted to write something that was inclusive and that encapsulated the various identities within the LGBTQ+ community. He says he wanted to honour those identities and encourage people to love themselves for who they are. He says: “To limit yourself to this particular box or that particular category doesn’t give yourself room to grow, to change or evolve. It’s something I speak to in the song, about how confusing these labels can get, to the point where we don’t even get to identify ourselves any more.”
When asked #WhyWeDoIt, Latheem says that Pride events are still important, as they are platforms to create awareness around issues that still affect the LGBTQ+ community. Even in a progressive country like South Africa, Prides bring people together for an opportunity to celebrate one another.
So far, the song has had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from all who have listened to it. Comments on YouTube and Facebook show that this is the right time for a song like this and that it can play a role in unifying the LGBTQ+ community, as well as creating more awareness in the general public.
Pretoria LGBTI Pride takes place at the Centurion Rugby Club on Saturday 7 October 2017. There are two build-up events, the first a Wall of Remembrance on 26 August, and a Rainbow Colour Fest on 2 September. There will be a float building evening on 6 October before the main Pride event.