After weeks of campaigning, it was a gym owner and fitness buff, Chris Emmanuel, 42, who ultimately won fans over to be crowned and receive the title of Mr Gay World South Africa 2019.
Chris has been chosen as South Africa’s delegate at the upcoming Mr Gay World 2019 contest in Cape Town.
The contest was originally scheduled to take place in Hong Kong, but due to a clampdown by Chinese authorities on LGBT affiliated events, Mr Gay World 2019 was moved to Cape Town.
Hailing from Knysna, home of the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival, Chris runs a CrossFit box in the town. Chris says that winning the SA title is a great responsibility that he won’t take lightly.
“It is with great joy and surprise that I accept the title,” he said.
“I am overflowing with ideas and powerful topics that I will use my title to explore in the coming year. I am humbled by the support from family, friends and total strangers that has seen me through to take the title”.
Chris plans on using his title to speak for those who at risk of rejection when coming out, and to stand up for their rights in places where doing so could cost one’s life.
“It takes the bravest of people to walk the township streets declaring their true self at the risk of corrective rape, it takes the bravest of people to cry in the dark, alone, only to wake up and fight another day for what is right,” said Chris.
“You are my heroes and I can’t wait to spend this year trying to be as brave as the people you all are, hopefully sparking that fire of happiness within you that you all deserve”.
Chris was chosen after votes via SMS and scoring the most views on his self-promotional YouTube video.
Interestingly, Kevin du Plessis, the first prince, had almost the same number of YouTube video views. An indication of how fierce the competition was.
The Mr Gay World 2019 Annual VIP Dinner will take place on Friday 3 May 2019 at The President Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa. The Grand Finale will take place the following evening, Saturday 4 May, at the Cape Town City Hall.