The largest gay pride festival on the African continent will be held on October 6th on the streets of Johannesburg, it was revealed today.

A street parade, with the theme “Coming of Age”, will be followed by a Mardi Gras at the Zoo Lake Sports Club on Rosebank.

It will be a week of celebrations, with the days before the parade including an art exhibition, a cabaret show, fund-raising and theatre events, along with something called “real drag” racing.

Past events have been marred by accusations of unpaid debt and mismanagement, but this year’s event will be organised by a new, not for profit company run by volunteers.

The new Jo’burg Gay Pride Festival Company claims to be “an unprecedented milestone in the history of Jo’burg Pride.”

Rosebank city councillor Ian M. Ollis told Mail and Guardian that gay pride is “not just about gay people ‘flaunting it’.”

He said: “It is an opportunity for every citizen and resident to celebrate our hard-won freedoms.

“I aim to invite the business community, the malls, the media, residents, tourists and, of course, the gay community to participate in a week of celebrating Jo’burg Pride.”

A number of fringe events, such as nightclub parties, will also take place around the city and across Gauteng during Pride week.

Earlier this month, PinkNews.co.uk reported that the first regional conference of the International Lesbian and Gay Association in Africa took place in Johannesburg.

South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution was the first in the world to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

And on 1st December 2006 South Africa made history by becoming the fifth country in the world, and the first in Africa, to legalise same-sex marriage.