Jason Rogers has resigned (Pic: Joe Strydom)
In a shock move, the current Mr Gay South Africa, Jason Rogers, has resigned, less than two months before the Mr Gay World competition in Belgium.
In a statement, the organisers of Mr Gay South Africa (Mr GSA) announced that Rogers had decided to step down in a meeting on Monday.
Jason, who is a medical Biologist, is also a part-time student finishing his degree this year. He told the organisers that he felt that he would not be able to give the Mr GSA and Mr Gay World organisations the attention they require and that he would rather give the opportunity to another candidate who could.
“South Africa deserves the best representation and the title holder to attend this event. It is because of these circumstances that I have chosen to step down as Mr Gay South Africa and in my heart I know it is the best thing to do,” said Rogers in a letter to the Mr GSA organisers.
“I would like to thank everyone who has provided support for me along the way. You guys are the true lights of our community. I have met so many wonderful people and had amazing moments of working within the LGTBI community. Thank you to the Mr Gay South Africa organisation for the opportunities and all the hard work. Everyone I have come across has made an impact on my life and I thank you all for that.”
According to the rules of Mr GSA, should the winner of the competition be unable to fulfil his duties for whatever reason, the runner up is given the option to accept the position of Mr GSA.
After consulting with the Director for Africa and the Middle East of Mr Gay World, Coenie Kukkuk, an urgent meeting was held between the organisers and Steve Williams, first runner up to Rogers in the 2012/13 competition, to discuss the possibility of him fulfilling the duties of the title holder and representing South Africa in August.
Williams, who represented Mr GSA at the recent 2013 Limpopo Pride in Polokwane, said that he gladly accepted the position as the new Mr GSA.
“When I look at the recent Mr Gay South Africas and what they have accomplished, I have big shoes to fill. I am honoured to be given this opportunity and view it as an exciting challenge,” said Williams.
Steve Williams is the new Mr GSA
“I will work hard to be a positive role model for the LGBTI community and hopefully I will be able to make a difference. South Africa has had such great success in the Mr Gay World competition during the past three years. I am really honoured and humbled to have this opportunity to represent South Africa on the world stage and will do my best to bring the title back home,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Mr Gay World competition, Kukkuk said: “The organisers of Mr. GSA have consulted with the organisers of Mr. Gay World and received their consent to the resignation and appointment of Steve Williams as Mr GSA. We are confident that Steve will make an excellent candidate to represent South Africa. It should be noted that Steve holds the record for the highest score in the Mr. GSA written exam – so it is a question of having brains and brawn. We look forward to hosting him in Antwerp.”
Williams will be formally introduced to the community and the world as Mr GSA 2012/2013 at a special handover ceremony to be held at Beefcakes in Illovo, Johannesburg. Dates are to be confirmed.
Two previous Mr GSA titleholders have won the Mr. Gay World competition, namely Charl van den Berg in Oslo, Norway in 2010 and Francois Nel in Manila, Philippines in 2011. Mr. GSA 2011, Lance Weyer, was first runner-up when Mr. Gay World 2012 was hosted in Johannesburg in April 2012.
Mr GSA 2013/14 will be chosen at a glittering grand finale ceremony at the end of the year and will represent South Africa at the 2014 Mr Gay World competition.