01/04/2018 13:09 SAST | Updated 01/04/2018 13:16 SAST

Johannesburg Pride Comes Down Hard On Afriforum’s Flag Comparison

Johannesburg Pride has slammed Afriforum’s comparison of the rainbow flag to the old apartheid-era SA flag - calling for a retraction.

Carlos Jasso / Reuters
The LGBTI community wave a rainbow flag during a march in support of gay marriage, sexual and gender diversity in Mexico City, Mexico September 11, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

Johannesburg Pride has slammed Afriforum's comparison of the rainbow flag to the old apartheid-era SA flag - calling for a retraction.

"Johannesburg Pride as the largest LGBTIQ+ pride parade and festival on the African continent, would view any further comparison and/or call to ban the rainbow flag/LGBTIQ + flag as a direct declaration of homophobia," the organisation said in a statement issued over the weekend.

"Johannesburg Pride calls for the immediate retraction by AfriForum of this comparison of our symbol of pride."

Afriforum made the comparison in its response to an equality court application filed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation calling for the old South-African Flag to be banned as it was tantamount to hate speech.

"For the LGBTIQ+ community the rainbow flag is a symbol of equality, love, inclusion, acceptance, diversity and tolerance."

This was in stark contrast to the old South African flag which was linked "to the racially oppressive and sanction of the apartheid regime" serving as "constant reminder of a regime with deep rooted human rights violations carried out against its citizens."

Last month, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said it did not agree with the Nelson Mandela Foundation's move to ban the old South African flag.

"This would be a setback for freedom of speech and our democracy, if you start banning things, what is next?" he asked.

The Mandela Foundation has said the old flag was undeniably a part of the country's history.

"But that is where it belongs, in museums, documentaries and cathartic creative works."