For the first time ever in South Africa, a gay event is being promoted on a massive billboard on one of the country’s busiest highways.
The billboard, for the upcoming Mr. Gay World contest, was unveiled on the M1 South in Johannesburg, near Melrose Arch.
The highway takes drivers from Pretoria and the city’s northern suburbs to Gold Reef City in the south, the venue for the event’s final ceremony.
The billboard was initiated by Mr. Gay World’s John-Louis O’Neil and was designed by Kyle Correia De Araujo. It features the past two Mr. Gay World winners, Francois Nel (2011) and Charl Van den Berg (2010), both hailing from South Africa.
“It obviously wonderful advertising for Mr. Gay World,” exclaimed Mr. Gay World Africa Director Coenie Kukkuk. “But there’s more to it: it shows how far we have come in South Africa; that we can have a billboard proudly proclaiming a gay event.”
“Compare that to the Mr. Zimbabwe participant having to withdraw, the Ethiopian delegate getting death threats and the Namibian delegate being attacked. The change must start somewhere and South Africa is giving LGBTI Africans hope that one day that they too will have a gay billboard go up in their country,” said Kukkuk.
Mr. Gay World 2012 will take place from April 4 to 8 in Johannesburg and surrounds, culminating in the Grand Finale show on Sunday, 8 April at The Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City.
Mr. Gay World is an annual contest for gay men, aiming to establish ambassadors for LGBTI and human rights, with winners of national contests competing as delegates in a variety of categories including leadership, sports, swimwear modelling and knowledge of LGBTI world affairs.
This competition is one of the most publicised gay contests in the world. For the first time, this year will see three African finalists taking part. Tickets for the Mr. Gay World 2012 finale can be book through Computicket.