South Africa Misses Out On Mr Gay World Title

South Africa’s hopes of making it three in a row were Sunday night dashed after German Andreas Derleth won the Mr Gay World title at this year’s event in Johannesburg.

The country’s representative, Democratic Alliance councillor Lance Weyer, placed second in the four-day competition after compatriots Charl van den Berg and Francois Nel had in 2010 and 2011 respectively bagged the global title.

Thirty-two-year-old Derleth, who edged out 21 other contestants, lives and works as a stationery store manager in New Zealand.

Only three Africans participated in the annual contest for gay men after contestants from Kenya, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya dropped out for various reasons ranging from intimidation to government pressure and lack of funding.

None of the other competing black Africans (Weyer is white) placed in the top ten after judges picked the winner based on categories that included sportswear, swimsuit, fashion and public speaking.

Death sentence
It was the first time that the event, which debuted in 2009, had been held in Africa, which is known for its intolerance of sexual minorities with the “offence” punishable by death in a clutch of countries.

South Africa remains the only country in the region that allows gay marriages.

Namibian entrant Wendelinus Hamutenya was disappointed after also missing out on the title. News agency Associated Press reported that he believed an attack that landed him in hospital last year was a mugging and not a hate crime.

Hamutenya said he would return to Windhoek to “”for gay rights and human rights” and hoped that his country would be the second to recognise the rights of sexual minorities.

Ethiopia’s contestant, student Robel Hailu, came in for sustained criticism after his participation became public, with his family reportedly cutting links with him.

Zimbabwe’s Taurai Zhnaje, whose mother is a civil servant, had to withdraw following suffocating pressure from the government.

His country’s President, Robert Mugabe, is known for his strong disdain for gays, whom he regularly refers to as “sodomists” and “perverts.”

Organisers said they believed the four-day contest could change Africa’s homophobia.
“It’s the search for a global ambassador who can represent human rights,” said Coenie Kukkuk, the contest’s Africa director. “Beautiful men yes, but beautiful with a purpose.”

“The delegate chosen to represent his peers on a global stage will not only have the inner beauty of confidence, self-assurance, charisma and natural leadership abilities but he will also take care in his outward beauty,” the organisation adds on its website.

Among the prizes on offer are a $25,000 travel voucher to allow the winner to travel and share the minority message.

Via Africa Review

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