In the leadup to Johannesburg Pride, scheduled to take place this weekend, Sept 28, the event’s chief organizer says she has been repeatedly threatened and attacked by persons who have demanded that the celebrations be cancelled.
Speaking to Mamba Online, Kaye Ally says the threats and violence began in August when three men, wearing balaclavas, broke into her home while she was sleeping. She says a gun was held to her head, and a number of items were stolen, including material related to Johannesburg Pride.
Ally, who says she was tasered and beaten during the attack, says that the men told her they know she is gay but that they wouldn’t rape her.
Ally also told Mamba Online about two other recent incidents, one in which she was held at knifepoint at her car and told to cancel Pride, and another where she was pinned down near her car.
“They said to me that I don’t seem to be understanding English and that I must cancel Jo’burg Pride or next time they’ll teach me a lesson,” Ally says.
She says her attackers were men, but she hasn’t been able to see or identify them clearly. She says she has also received several strange phone calls at work about her sexuality.
Ally says the Pride planning committee has been meeting about potential risks to the event.
“We will look at all the threats and take it seriously. I would put the safety and security of the community before anything else. My involvement stands steadfast, but the way forward is not determined by me alone,” she told the news site.
She says she has no idea who might be behind the attacks. “Johannesburg Pride has been running for 24 years. I can’t see why anyone would want to stop this. We want to work for the community.”
The report notes that Pride had undergone a number of changes earlier in the year after the company that organized the last six events shut down.
Ally’s committee was one of two groups that became involved in staging a Pride event this year. Another group plans to hold a People’s Pride Oct 5.
People’s Pride organizer Kwezilomso Mbandazayo told Mamba Online that her group condemns the attacks on Ally, adding that it is not involved in the incidents.
“Our working group is all about non-violence and freedom of expression. We would never try to clamp down on anyone else.”