Published on June 22nd, 2023 by Yandani Mlilo

The planning of The Pride Fair commenced immediately after the Safe Abortion Fair . We started creating awareness of the event two months in advance where those interested in attending fill in a google form with their details and that of their plus one. This was for security purposes. We received just under 300 applications to attend, however, the venue capacity was 200 therefore we conducted a vetting process where we looked up members of the community that had registered to attend and ensured we were satisfied that they would not pose any form of violence or threaten the security and safety of other attendees. As this project was underway we simultaneously sought after vendors willing to come and sell their products at the fair; artists to perform and transportation companies for the bus hiring. This posed its own unique challenges as it was not easy finding affordable bus companies who were also LGBTQIA+ friendly. In addition to this, some vendors and artists canceled either a few days before or on the eve of the event. Nonetheless, the planning and implementation process of Pride was quite successful. We had planned and made contingency plans for things that were within our control. 

In the weeks leading up to the event we had a social media campaign where we posted the rules of conduct of the event, key information attendees needed to be aware of and look-book. The social media campaign allowed us to communicate with attendees and create excitement for the event as it was one of the first bigger Pride events in the country. As stated above, security was our top priority. In order to ensure that the event remained as secretive and exclusive as possible as our emphasis was on the security of the attendees from homophobes, attendees received a SMS message and an email with the location of the venue or the central bus pickup location the day before the event. Each message consisted of the attendees name, ticket number and name of their approved plus one. Luckily, the venue price included security so we did not have to outsource the security, which proved to make the event more secure. 

As a small organization, volunteers are the cornerstone of our events. For Pride we had 12 volunteers who assisted from setting up to packing up the event. It was important that volunteers knew their roles and responsibilities well in advance, therefore we had a meeting with all volunteers which gave them the opportunity to meet each other before the event and most importantly to answer any questions they may have had. We provided a document with each volunteer’s role for the day and gave them reflector bibs with our logo so that attendees knew who to turn to if they ever needed assistance. 

Lastly, in the spirit of ensuring attendees have fun and meet new friends we hired giant games and had a separate table with card games dedicated to meeting new friends as we had attendees that came alone. 

We had such a great time and we can’t wait to have more events such as these!!! Do not forget to follow us on all our socials to stay updated on upcoming events and projects!

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Yandani Mlilo