Afrikaans pop singer Leroi has revealed that he is gay and is planning to marry his boyfriend next month.
Leroi (Leroi Janse Van Rensburg) started singing and realised his passion for being on stage and performing when he was 16. He went on to make it to the top 25 of Supersterre and the top 100 of Idols South Africa.
Known as “The Energiser Bunny”, thanks to his high-energy performances, the 25-year-old Joburg-based singer, songwriter and dancer has since released two albums; the Afrikaans Ek Kan Nie Wag and an English offering titled Back in Time.
Leroi told Mambaonline that he decided to come out because he could no longer continue to hide his sexuality. “People always said to me, ‘never reveal who you are,’ but I was sick of it. And to live a lie and pretend to be someone I’m not is a big sin to me,” he added.
He admitted that he was initially fearful of being completely open to his fans and the public, but “I did it because I was feeling like a fake.” Leroi said that he was also inspired by American pop star Adam Lambert’s coming out.
Leroi is now happily engaged to his partner and manager Hannes, who he described as an “angel sent by God” and “the love of my life.”
“He can make me laugh and we have so much fun together,” gushed the performer. “And, of course, he is a caring person who will always go the extra mile to put you first and support you through the bad and good times. He is also the most wonderful father to a son and they are the two stars in my life.”
After an initial friendship and then eight months of romance they are set to tie the knot on 15 August with a Moulin Rouge style wedding in Germiston; attended by close friends, other artists and the couple’s families.
Leroi and his fiancé Hannes
When asked about Afrikaans gospel singer Suné Botha’s recent homophobic comments regarding same-sex marriage, Leroi was diplomatic. “I’m in no place to judge another human being and it’s a fact that there is just one person who can judge us all…”
His fans have generally responded positively to the news about his sexuality and he believes that he’s even gained new followers.
“Everyone still supports me and treats me with so much respect. You will get one or two people who will judge but that’s why there’s a ‘block’ function on Facebook,” he laughed.
The ambitious artist is currently working on two new albums and a DVD, which he says will “express the real me.”
Leroi, who is only one of a handful of openly gay Afrikaans performers, urged young gays and lesbians to never be ashamed of themselves.
“One thing I learned through all of this is that it doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight. Just like yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what to do in life. Go with your inner self and follow your heart,” he said.
For more about the singer, visit his Facebook page.