South Africa's LGBTI newspaper since the 1980's

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By Gavin Hayward


I was asked to be a breakaway judge in the final week of Mr Gay World Southern Africa 2017. It turned out to be a whole lot of fun and I was sorry I hadn’t freed up more days to spend with the finalists. Deadlines are such dreary things!
Our first encounter was at a restaurant in Melrose Arch after they had been cleaning up Joburg in Newtown. A bit overwhelming as I arrived when they were well into their pizzas already so I was introduced to everyone at once. Bit of a blur of sweet young things who got a brief wave from me….LOL
At the Protea Hotel we booked into in Pretoria, I met up with Hendrik Baird of GaySA Radio, who had also been asked to be a judge. And after supper we were properly introduced to the finalists. Hendrik spoke to them about the radio, and what interviews he wanted them to conduct, but when it was my turn I drew on my teaching experience and got them to talk. I asked them about when they first knew they were gay, and the most memorable answer was probably from the man from Mussina who said he couldn’t remember ever having been straight!3NIKUWe had been encouraged to give them TASKS, so I asked them to each give me a note at breakfast introducing themselves, and saying how they felt about being gay activists, which is, after all, what they had become. They had the t-shirt, they had had to proclaim themselves at reception…
After breakfast, we piled into minibuses and were driven to Hunters Rest in Rustenberg, where the swimwear photoshoot took place in the afternoon. And the next day we drove up to Sun City where the guys were photographed frolicking in the waves. Then all 19 of us were treated to a Segway tour around the hotel grounds, and the golf course, which proved to be an unexpected highlight of the day.
In the evenings the finalists participated in workshops and rehearsals. I was asked to create a written test (with answers) and focused on gay content like: what does GLOW stand for? Who is the gay man who serves in the Constitutional Court?
Wednesday was my last morning with the guys. We stopped on Route 24 for tea with Werner at Riverbend Cottages and I took the opportunity to say my farewells there. I surprised myself at how emotional I felt! I guess one doesn’t often get the chance the spend time with so many talented young people!
This event is completely reliant on sponsorships, and in turn on your support of the sponsors. Choose to stay in Fortis group hotels, seek out NIKU swim- and underwear, and so on.

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