Miss Gay Soweto, Nhlanhla “Fiona” Thabatha (centre), flanked by her princesses (Pic: Zanele Muholi/Inkanyiso)

Soweto hosted its annual Miss Gay and Lesbian pageant on Saturday 7 December.

The event, which was launched in 2000 but was suspended for a number of years due to lack of funding, had a comeback last year.

It is fairly unique in South Africa in that it honours both male and female members of the LGBT community.

This year’s pageant was held at the Soweto Theatre and Labelz from Simply Blue nightclub and Boiki from West Rand FM were the MCs for the evening.

The show consisted of two pageants; Miss Gay Soweto and Miss Lesbian Soweto. The contestants paraded on stage in three outfits; casual, swim wear and evening wear.

Nhlanhla “Fiona” Thabatha was ultimately crowned Miss Gay Soweto. The first runner up was Collen Dimpho Tsotesi and the second runner up was Thao Tee.

In the Miss Lesbian Soweto category, Paballo Tholwana took the crown and was followed by Ntombi Moagi in second place and Vuvu Makubetse in third place.

While the production itself was well received, the turnout was disappointing. Organiser Letebele Motswenyane told Mambaonline that he was deeply frustrated by the lack of support from the community.

“I don’t know why. We did the marketing,” he said, although Motswenyane suggested that the ticket price could have played a role.

“Last year we had a R60 cover charge and this year is was R100 and R150, but this year we also moved to the Soweto Theatre, which is much more expensive to rent.”

Motswenyane added that he was nevertheless happy with the standard of the pageant. “What we wanted to achieve we achieved. It was a good show.”

He said that despite the setback the event would continue next year but that it would be held at a more manageable and affordable venue.

Below are some highlights from the event (courtesy of Inkanyiso.org).

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