Taurai Zhanje

There is speculation about why the Zimbabwean delegate in the upcoming Mr. Gay World contest in South Africa has suddenly decided to withdraw.

On Sunday, the Mr Gay World organisation announced that Taurai Zhanje had withdrawn from the competition due to “personal reasons”.

This was just days after his participation had been announced, along with that of three other African delegates. Zhanje also received the backing of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) for taking part in the event.

“We are sad to lose Taurai, but in Africa, the personal sacrifice for gay and human rights is sometimes too much to expect from people,” Coenie Kukkuk, Director for Africa said.

“Taurai already made a very brave stand against the oppression of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and intersex persons and we have to respect his decision. We wish him and his family only the best for the future.”

Kukkuk declined to give details as to why Zhanje had dropped out of the competition.

Kukkuk said that the organisation will explore all avenues to find another country from Africa to take Zimbabwe’s place, but that “the general political climate in Africa is not conducive to LGBTI rights being recognised and that it will be very difficult to do so”.

Robel Gizaw Hailu from Ethiopia, Wendelinus Hamutenya from Namibia and Lance Weyer from South Africa are the remaining African delegates in the 2012 Mr. Gay World competition which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 4 to 8 April.

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