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Loud and Proud 11/01/10

Claire Martens stood up with the best of the veggies in support of Cape Town's first Veg Pride Parade.

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What is there not to be proud of?

When I first heard about the Veg Pride Parade, which happened in Cape Town last Saturday, 30th October 2010, I had mixed feelings about attending.

I don’t really enjoy bringing attention to myself, or my causes; but then I thought to myself, “What is there not to be proud of?”

In an article called The Value of Everything, George Monbiot says:

“People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them. We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.”

For me, the Veg Pride Parade involved getting over my concerns or embarrassment. It was about showing confidence and dedication to a cause which is not only worthy, but empathetic and kind. And we should be proud to have chosen a vegetarian lifestyle which is not selfish nor cruel.

With banners that said “Give peas a chance”, “I’m only here for the food” and “hack computers, not animals, Veg ++”, the parade was light-hearted and fun, with a serious edge. Being gawked at by passersby was certainly an uncomfortable experience, especially when people laughed at us, but I never once felt embarrassed. It was nice of people to ask about our cause and to take some interest in the values expressed by the participants of the march.

I certainly expected more people to show up, but I noticed that the advertising behind the Parade was limited. Word of mouth convinced many people to come; including foreigners, people from the Hare Krishna community and even people from the Vegan Society of South Africa. Everyone was friendly to one another, accepting the various degrees and forms of veg; from the vegans to the raw food junkies.

We made our way up Long Street to the beat of a drum and the Hare Krishna mantra, to be rewarded at the end by some scrumptious food, great tasting beer and eco-friendly products at the Wellness Warehouse market.

I really enjoyed myself, despite not knowing a soul, and hope that the Veg Pride Parade will become an annual event. Hopefully more people will attend next time round, because I am more than certain that Cape Town is filled with eco-friendly people.

I am sure that people who merely have an interest in our concerns, and support our endeavours, will be welcome to walk alongside us.

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5 Responses to this article

Andrew November 2, 2010 Reply

I will make the effort to be there next time. I am proud of you little sister.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” – Mahatma Ghandi

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jodi November 3, 2010 Reply

Great stuff Claire! Indeed many of us shared your mixed feelings, but by the end I of it I was buzzing – good to get out, meet other people and show pride in what we so often get flack for. I, too, hope that it will become an annual event and get bigger and better each year!

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VEG++ November 3, 2010 Reply

It was a pleasure meeting everyone and met several people who are busy with awesome initiatives.
Sven for example, the guy on the bike, is planning a second trip around South Africa (on his mountain bike) or even around Africa (if the funding is available) to spread the word about how the vegan lifestyle is more sustainable in terms of resources.

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Roline November 5, 2010 Reply

I am not going to lie – this is hilarious! Go Veggies!

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Micahel November 5, 2010 Reply

This is such a cool idea! It should have been done nationally!! Would I have taken part? Thinking about it, I might have initially felt embarassed, but maybE we need to get over it, nothing to be embarrased about!

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