Mad Pride South Africa 2007

Cape Town, South Africa reports about a Mad Pride 2007 event.


by David Robert Lewis

A small crowd gathered to celebrate Cape Town and South Africa’s first Mad Pride near District Six, site of forced removals during the apartheid era. Although few in number, and overwhelmed by the irony of the situation,there is a sense of achievement in the face of great odds.

Photos and a report also found here:

Also, you may hear an audio radio interview with one of the organizers, Moosa Salie here:

This despite the detention of David Stolper, an activist associated to MindFreedom International and Centre for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), who has been carrying the banner of Mind Freedom for some time.

Other problems experienced is the fact that some of us are under threat of commitment, and the survivor movement in South Africa is particularly weak. Then there is the problem that most consumers have been marginalised by the apartheid system, and further abused by coercive psychiatry, and psychiatric prescription posing as treatment.

As a member of newly launched International Association for the Advancement of the Creatively Maladjusted (IAACM), I am demanding treatment alternatives and the right to be different.

Members of the Cape Consumer Advocacy Body (CCAB), World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), and IAACM therefore convened at 10H00 this morning.

Good weather and an excellent winter sunrise, helped to keep us all in good spirits, and we sat and talked about resistance and future mobilisation efforts, before marching to Parliament and staging a vigil & picket for the victims of coercive psychiatric abuse. We also protested against Electro-Shock Therapy, Forced Treatment and Involuntary Commitment Laws and a memorandum is on its way to parliamentarians.

Public reaction was generally positive, although one could tell by the look on people’s faces that they were dismayed at the exposure of a dark-side of our democratic system. Although Mad Pride has supporters from students and artists, there was no media exposure and some reticence from the general public, perhaps out of fear of the coercive system.

South Africa’s mental health system is also particularly notorious for committing anti-apartheid activists and continues to incarcarate people accused of mental illness, despite regulations outlawing politically-motivated admissions.

Moosa Salie, WNUSP co-chair donated flyers, took photographs, and handed out cool drinks and “french fries” as part of the organisations outreach. We hope to have pictures up either on a web-site or Mad Pride blog. Hopefully future events will be much larger and with more support, anything could happen. The vision of a cross-disability, mental rights platform in South Africa is definitely on the horizon, but there are very real obstacles in terms of capacity and organisation that need to be addressed first.

Hope everybody else had a great time, and looking forward to reports from elsewhere.

Yours in madness & disability,

David Robert Lewis

PS: I screened a few people for “normality” and couldn’t find any normal people in Cape Town.

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
FAX: 0865-141011 MOBILE: +27+82-425-1454 SKYPE: david.robert.lewis

BELOW is the original announcement about the event:

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town – Celebrate the Right to be Different

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town celebrates the creativity, strength and resilience of the human spirit by reclaiming madness and raising public consciousness about insanity through various activities such as art, theatre, music, poetry, protests, and vigils.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town is an international event, held every year on Bastille Day, July 14, to protest against the use of coercive psychiatry and aggressive psychology, forced drugging and patient commitment laws, and to raise awareness around the issue of psych-rights, difference and mental disability. Mad Pride counteracts the discrimination and prejudice shown towards people who have experienced madness and mental distress by promoting the economic, political, social, and cultural integration of those considered different as well as users/survivors of psychiatry, into society

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town is so named because, like other pride events, it is an attempt to reclaim madness on behalf of those diagnosed with psychiatric labels or given psychological classifications. We are more than just our labels and the event includes those who reject being classified, as well as those who are marginalized and discriminated against, either because of a medical diagnosis, or who because of their supposed behaviour or mental outlook do not conform to societal norms.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town celebrates diversability, eccentricity and life’s challenges as well as supporting all those living with mental disability. The event is open to everyone, including those rejected by society as well as those who feel they have been classified and even misdiagnosed or “dislabled” by psychiatry/psychology and is inclusive of our friends in the cross-disability and human potential movement.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town will also see the launch of “International Association for Advancement of Creative Maladjustment” a movement originally called for by human rights activist, Martin Luther King, shortly before his assassination. This is to create a link with the civil rights movement and to point out that the struggle for psych-rights is in solidarity with other struggles such as gender rights and ongoing struggles against forced segregation, and racial discrimination.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town will the first time South African’s are participating in the event, however an African Mad Pride was held in Ghana last year, by Mindfreedom Ghana.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town is calling for support from mental health consumers, human rights activists, users/ex-users/survivors of psychiatry and psychology as well as non-conformists, and the creatively maladjusted to participate in a parade on Saturday, July 14 at 10h00.

Mad Pride 2007 Cape Town will join up at Kaizersgracht Rd, Cape Town, Saturday, July 14, 10h00 below Cape Technikon and will proceed towards Darling Street and Parliament in a Mad Parade, where a memorandum will be handed to the Minister of Health. Bring banners, costumes, umbrella’s, funny hats, silly noses, whoopy cushions, whistles etc.

Sponsored by MindFreedom South Africa, PO Box 4398, Cape Town 8000