Coenie Kukkuk (right) and Mr. Gay World 2011, Francois Nel
The organisers of Mr. Gay World 2012 have committed themselves to having at least four African participants in next year’s Johannesburg pageant, a record for the event.
“We will have four African representatives – even if we have to have the Mr. Gay Zimbabwe competition in Komatipoort,” said Mr. Gay South Africa™ Operations Director Coenie Kukkuk at a press conference at the Fairway Hotel in Johannesburg yesterday.
South Africa won the Mr. Gay World title earlier this month for the second time in a row and was also awarded the hosting rights to hold the Mr. Gay World Pageant in 2012.
Kukkuk, flanked by the title winner, Francois Nel, revealed that Mr. Gay World allocates four places for African representatives in the pageant every year, but that to-date South Africa is the only African nation that has been able submit a candidate. A contestant from Lesotho was unable to raise funds to attend the competition in Manila this year.
Kukkuk hopes that the hosting of Mr. Gay World in Africa will facilitate the participation of gay African role models and said that his team is already working with Namibia to field a candidate from that country next year.
He urged national LGBT rights organisations in Africa to apply for a license from Mr. Gay World and to submit candidates who have their backing.
He also confirmed that in light of homosexuality being illegal in 38 African states, gay male citizens from African countries living in South Africa would be considered to represent their homelands. “We know that there are many African LGBT refugees in South Africa,” he said.
Kukkuk said that he believed that events such as Mr. Gay World could help highlight the inequalities faced by LGBT Africans. He urged progressive countries to take a stand against LGBT discrimination on the continent by whatever means necessary.
“If countries have human rights abuses against gays and lesbians, other countries must cut off their aid,” he said.
Kukkuk expressed his confidence that South Africa would once again host a world-class event in next year’s Mr. Gay World, which is set to be held during the Easter holidays to incentivise international visitors to attend.
While venues and other details of the competition were being negotiated, a deal had been struck to accommodate the approximately 80 international contestants and delegates at the luxurious Fairway Hotel, which hosted the Brazilian Soccer team during the 2010 football world cup.
Kukkuk said that he believed that this sponsorship deal, which was in place ahead of this year’s pageant, helped secure South Africa’s hosting of the event. He added that the event would be completely financed by South African sponsors, and promised a
portion of profits made by Mr. Gay World 2012 towards an NGO or NGOs still to be identified.