Mr. Gay Namibia, Wendelinus Hamutenya, left for South Africa on Tuesday to participate in the finals of the Mr. Gay World contest. Twenty-five contestants from Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America will strut their stuff in the revered city of gold, Johannesburg. Hamutenya was crowned in November last year as the first ever Mr. Gay Namibia.
If he wins, Mr. Gay Namibia will be the first black African to win the Mr. Gay World since it first started four years ago. The contest has already produced two winners from South Africa. Mr. Gay Zimbabwe recently withdrew from the contest, while another African contestant from Ethiopia has been barred from re-entering his native country after deciding to take part in the global event for gay men.
“I am very concerned about the situation of Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in African countries, especially in Uganda, where an anti-gay bill has been tabled. Africa at large troubles me and they (Africans) must learn that homosexuals are part of our heritage. We were here before the colonizers arrived on our continent,” Hamutenya said. Mr Gay Namibia was viciously assaulted in Windhoek last year and although the matter was reported to the police the dockets mysteriously disappeared from the police station.
He says that “it is time for a black African to win the global pageant. Homosexuality is part of African people and it was never a western import, as some people claim. I would like to thank Joe Gertmayer, the director of Mr. Gay Namibia organization, my family and all the people who voted for me,” Hamutenya said shortly before leaving Namibia on Tuesday.
“I have the leadership qualities to lead the international LGBT community and to be that authentic voice,” Hamutenya says confidently. The contestants will be judged on traditional outfits, swim-suits, panel interviews and general knowledge of LGBT issues. “I am going to wear something special from the North”, Hamutenya revealed.
The winner will get US$25 000, a fully-paid scholarship for tuition fees at a South African college, jewellery, clothes from leading shops and also a week-long trip with Namibia’s only LGBTI tours and others prizes. The Mr. Gay World will also travel the world and engage leaders in some countries.
“I am already a winner since I am participating in the global event. I will bring the title back home as this belongs to the LGBT Namibians and the world at large.” Hamutenya said.
The finale takes place on 8 April at the luxuriously Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg. South Africa is the only country in Africa that currently recognises same-sex marriages and bars discrimination against sexual minorities. Namibians can still vote for Wendelinus Hamutenya on www.mrgayworld.org
- Clemans Miyanicwe is a freelance community reporter