Energy! Focus! Power!: Three words recently tattooed on the wrist of Mambaonline’s Sexiest Man of 2009, Dene Botha: words that help remind him of his goals. After meeting the hunk in the flesh, Kevin Featherstone had a number of other words he’d have no hesitation in using to describe our worthy winner: Gorgeous! Friendly! Hot! Down to earth! And Real!
Dene’s energy and enthusiasm for life was evident and amazingly infectious from the start of our e-mail communications. As with all our finalists, we first needed to get their permission to put them on the site for the boys to ogle over. Without hesitation the Capetonian accepted the nomination and was happy to be involved right from the start. He was bowled over by being selected, and was “stoked” as to what an honour it was to be singled out by the gay community. No mess! No fuss! No hang ups! I was immediately impressed.
Dene first got us a little hot under the collar earlier this year when he was named South Africa’s “most irresistible man” after winning the Axe Sweet Life reality TV show. Besides being incredibly easy on the eye, he was also down to earth and humble. A winning formula for the show, and for us! We soon discovered that this was not his only claim to fame though, and the sex bomb from Kommetjie has a rather impressive list of talents and credentials.
Growing up at the coast, and with a famous surfer father, Dene was a natural waterman, and was on his way to becoming a professional surfer when an injury forced him to bow out of competitive surfing and focus on other areas in the sport. After living and working abroad for a few years, Dene established the Kahuna Surfing Academy in South Africa, using a curriculum he brought back from Newquay while working as a surf instructor there. To date, he’s still the only internationally accredited surfing trainer and assessor in the country.
In 2006, Dene and his company Kahuna Promotions found a new challenge and succeeded in breaking the Guinness World Record for the “most surfers on the same wave”. This feat was achieved again in October this year, with the event receiving widespread international and local news coverage. As part of this initiative, Dene launched the international ‘Earthwave Surf Festival’ in 2007, where surf schools across the globe attempt to break the record, and in so doing, use the publicity to raise awareness of climate change and sustainable living options.
Our sexiest man is also one of SA’s premier surf event commentators, working at most of the main events around the country. As a bit of an adrenalin junkie – and ‘a bit of alright’, if you know what I mean, Dene has also become the brand ambassador for big corporates like Billabong, Von Zipper, Nixon watches, Sector 9 skateboards and Excel wetsuits.
Dene is not only into action sports and daredevil events though, and he is just as comfortable on the stage as he is in the water. With the help of his actress mother, Dene got his first acting and modelling gigs at the age of seven. While surfing and playing rugby at school, he also found time for theatre school, ballet classes and ramp modelling courses. This part of his career has been just as successful, and he has done Shakespeare in Maynardville and a season at the Baxter too. Not forgetting his more recent work in local and international movies and commercials.
The finely toned body and sexy features have also seem him grace several magazine covers like Men’s Health Living and he has also been featured in GQ, Cosmo and the BOMBsurf. This year he was also Mr March in the Cosmopolitan’s 12 Hunks for 2009.
Once again though, Dene was not happy to rest on his gorgeous laurels, and has been working on his own television concept, where he hopes to work both in front of and behind the camera. He has also started taking on more presenting gigs, having presented dozens of awards ceremonies and numerous MC roles. Dene also has his sights set on motivational speaking and a range of other exciting projects.
“It would need to be well done and, yes, the money may play a major part, but would I go nude on camera? Yes.”
Growing up as an only child, Dene says that while they weren’t the richest family, he was showered with love and attention from his parents, who still play an extremely important role in his life. His mother is his biggest fan he says, and Mamba voters may even have seen her comments posted on the site during the competition.
And while many mothers don’t have much to be proud of in their sons (trust me – I’ve dated many of them), Dene’s mom has every right to hold her head up high. Dene has a wonderful sense of self, and an amazing attitude to life. Not to mention the courage and humour to go out and make things happen for himself.
“I am living my dream!” he says about his life, and by all accounts he is living the life of several men. Having achieved so much by the age of 27, and with so much more planned, I for one, am looking forward to seeing a lot more – in every sense of the phrase – of Dene Botha in the years to come.
So how does it feel to be the gay community’s most desirable man?
Amazing! After seeing the names of the previous years’ winners I’m really honoured and pretty damn surprised to be honest.
When did you first realise that you were unusually attractive?
(Laughs) Um, gosh, when it was unusually easy to meet girls?
Have you had a lot of gay men expressing interest in you?
If pointing and whispering to their friend or partner means ‘expressing interest’ then yes. (Laughs) I live in Cape Town; it’s the Pink City!
Have you ever been chatted up by a male celebrity?
No, why, who said what? (Laughs)
Gay friends. Do you have any? How do they feel about you winning?
You say it as if there aren’t many gays around! (Laughs) Yes, I’ve got gay friends, and they’re all pretty proud of me.
When were you last in a gay club?
Haven’t been clubbing for a while I must admit, but we are planning a ‘Mambaonline Sexy Man Celebration / denebotha.com launch’ party at a gay club in CT soon (Keep checking Mambaonline for details).
What does surfing mean to you?
How did you get into it?
My father, Paul Botha, is Mr. Surf SA. I really had no other choice.
Can we come take some pictures next time you’re peeling off your wetsuit by the beach?
By all means. Just give me a heads-up first please!
What did you dream of doing when you were growing up?
I’m still growing up you cheeky bugger! It was always to be a pro surfer but a knee injury prohibited that at 16. My dream since and still is to get my TV show on air. It’s happening! You just wait and see. On top of that I’m trying to promote myself as a MC / presenter and I would like to get into inspirational speaking down the line.
Would you describe yourself as a metrosexual?
Sure, why not.
Do you have or believe in bromances? Do you have any close guy friends?
Yeah, of course, my mates mean the world to me. Most of the guys I grew up with are all overseas but I’ve got a close knit of friends from my childhood, the surfing scene as well as my newly adopted ‘town life’ shmodeling friends! (Laughs) Yeah I said it!
Your parents’ background combines acting and water sports. Was that a template for you?