Mr. Gay Namibia, Wendelinus Hamutenya
(Pic by Chris De Villiers)
Wendelinus Hamutenya, the recently-crowned Mr. Gay Namibia, has been beaten in a brutal attack near his home by two men who demanded his prize money.
According to a statement issued by the organisers of Mr. Gay Namibia, Hamutenya was attacked on the night of Sunday 4 November close to his residence in Katutura, Windhoek.
Hamutenya, a 24-year-old personal financial consultant, had been dropped off at the street corner near his home by friends when he noticed two men sitting further along the road.
As he walked towards his house the men approached him and demanded “the money (he) won at the Mr. Gay competition”.
After a short confrontation, one of the perpetrators allegedly kicked Hamutenya to the ground, while the other man allegedly tried to take his mobile phone and wallet.
Several blows were exchanged between Hamutenya and his attackers with one allegedly striking Hamutenya’s head, face, chin and ribs with a soft drink bottle.
The men made off with approximately N$200 in cash while Hamutenya was hospitalised for observation at a private Windhoek clinic for 24 hours.
Hamutenya said that he was wary of linking the attack with his position as Mr. Gay Namibia so as not to “fuel unnecessary agendas”.
“Violence in various forms occurs to persons from different walks of life in our country,” said Hamuntenya, who is said to be vocal supporter of the RDP opposition party.
“The relevance of this incident may [be connected] to my title. Perhaps they thought I had heaps of ‘prize money’ in my pockets. Likely it was my sexual orientation that made me a target – even my political support that angered them. Or perhaps, and most likely, it was just plain and simply out of greed.”
The Mr. Gay Namibia Board added that “what remains relevant is that any person, no matter race, gender, orientation and/or ethnicity has the right to safety and should not feel threatened when walking down his/her own street of residence any time of the day”.
The board condemned the assault, but also warned against sensationalising the incident, stating: “We are in sensitive times and we should focus on the facts. Propaganda, misinterpretation and wrong reporting on matters will not suffice – factual and mature deliberation on matters is what is needed to embrace the future.”
While a case of assault has been opened with the Namibian police, the board said that Hamutenya remains focused on his participation at the Mr Gay World event in South Africa next year and that “his vision and dream for a sensitised and more accepting Namibia towards human rights in terms of sexual orientation remains his core focus”.
Hamutenya was crowned the first-ever Mr. Gay Namibia at the end of November at a ceremony in Windhoek, making the country only the second African nation, other than South Africa, to hold a ‘Mr. Gay’ competition.
The incident could hamper efforts by Mr. Gay World to secure more African delegates for the Johannesburg event in April. Currently, only competitors from South Africa and Namibia have been confirmed.