The rainbow flag has flown over Southern Africa’s last absolute monarchy as hundreds of people participated in the first gay pride march in Swaziland, now officially called eSwatini.
The gay rights group Rock of Hope organized the event despite some strong public opposition in the kingdom where homosexuality is still illegal.
The eSwatini Commission on Human Rights was at the Prince of Wales Stadium in the capital Mbabane where marchers congregated with gay rights groups from South Africa showing solidarity.
The US Ambassador to the Kingdom Lisa Peterson, over served proceedings along with representatives of the European Union and other diplomats.Petersen said she was thrilled that event could take place, adding that the envoys were there to make justice for all.
Just last Sunday the Swaziland Observer published a full-page letter accusing the organizers of the march of promoting
paedophilia and bestiality.
King Mswati III has called homosexuality satanic and questioned whether there are gay people in his kingdom
Rock of Hope communications officer Melusi Simelane said gay pride is about promoting the safety of homosexuals, lesbians and transexuals.
The right time would never come for many Swazis to accept this so it’s matter of being brave enough now.
The participants wore t-shirts declaring God is love.
Official spokesman for aid-dependant eSwatini Percy Simelane has anti sodomy laws with the government having questioned in the past whether LGBTIQ people even existed in the country.
Swazi government officials insist it is unfair to describe the Kingdom as homophobic.