Mr Gay South Africa MD Thinus van der Walt with Mr Gay South Africa 2014, Werner de Waal
A revamped Mr South Africa contest was launched in Johannesburg on Friday night, with entries now open for the 2015 edition.
The competition was recently taken over by Johannesburg businessman Thinus van der Walt, who says he intends to elevate the event to more than just a pageant.
“I believe our youth needs more heroes and I know that I can contribute to that with this competition. I believe in community, togetherness and spreading the love,” said van der Walt.
“I also believe that each human being has a beautiful and unique expression of themselves. This expression is not solely based on our sexual orientation but based on the fact that we are human, all of us,” he added.
The glamorous launch was attended by members of the media, as well as the reigning Mr Gay South Africa, Werner de Waal, and was hosted by Casper De Vries and Anne Hirsch. The crowd was treated to performances by Toya Delazy and crooner Emil Struwig.
It was announced that the competition will no longer operate on regional lines as in the past. The grand finale, to be produced and directed by the renowned Jan Malan, will take place on 28 February 2015 in Johannesburg.
Toya Delazy performed at Friday’s launch
Van der Walt said that he aims to not only focus on the winner after the crowning but to see all the finalists empowered and taking part in charitable initiates for the duration of the year.
“My intention is to create a platform where young men will be afforded experiences of growth and expansive thinking. I intend to create a space where these role models will lead as examples – examples of love, passion, enthusiasm, kindness and community,” he said.
Entries are now open on the Mr Gay South Africa website. Closing date is 31 December 2014. Sixteen candidates will be selected nationally for interviews, which will take place from 4 to 11 January in Cape Town, Johannesburg and online.
The winner will compete in the 2015 Mr Gay World competition, which will be co-hosted by Knysna and Cape Town, with the grand finale taking place in the Mother City on Sunday 3 May 2015.
South Africa has twice won the Mr Gay World competition (in 2010 and 2011) and came second in 2012. Last year’s winner, New Zealander Chris Olwage, was born and bred in South Africa.