Mr. Gay South Africa, Charl van den Berg, crowned Worldwide Mr. Gay 2010
15 February, 2010
OSLO — At just after 3 am local time on Valentine's day, Charl van den Berg, Mr. Gay South Africa, was crowned as the new Worldwide Mr. Gay 2010 in Oslo, Norway. The competition (previously known as Mr. Gay World) drew delegates from all over the world representing all of the continents.
Charl van den Berg, Worldwide Mr Gay 2010, with first runner up, Byron Adu of Australia and Max Krzyzanowski, last year's winner. Photo: Carlos Melia
Australia came second and the rest of the top five were made up of Hong Kong, Spain and China. Both Mr. Photogenic and Mr. Swimwear were won by Russia and Brazil took the Mr. Popularity title. The competition was streamed live on the Internet to viewers from all over the world.
Charl said from Oslo just before the finale started: "The competition is very tough, but I am confident." That confidence shone through when he had to answer the main question put to the final five: "If you were to speak to a high school about sexuality, what would you tell them?". Charl answered: "Sexuality is a private matter; regardless of what your sexuality is, we are all the same – we are all human beings."
The 28-year-old restaurant manager from Cape Town impressed the judges and Morten Ruda, President of Mr. Gay Europe said to the organisers of the Mr. Gay South Africa™ competition: "Congratulations on your victory! He has made a deep impression on all of us here in Oslo! Well deserved. Best wishes for all his future endeavours."
The first duty of the newly appointed Worldwide Mr. Gay will be to fly to Vancouver, Canada to take part in the festivities of the 2010 Winter Olympics. While in Vancouver and Whistler, Worldwide Mr. Gay will be an ambassador for equality and diversity while taking part in the Pride House – a safe space that brings visibility to LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex) people in sport.
Supporters in Cape Town have already indicated that they want to stage a huge party in celebration once Charl eventually returns to the Mother City.
Juan Lerm, Coenie Kukkuk and Cor Jansen van Rensburg, the directors of Mr. Gay South Africa (Pty) Ltd have expressed their elation at Charl's win and wished to thank all of the people who were part of the 2009 national Mr. Gay South Africa™ competition, specifically the sponsors such as Club Travel Honeydew who flew him to Norway and those who made his wardrobe in Oslo possible, namely Peter Bondisio of Bondisio Couture, Wilco Stemmet from Bone Wear, who was also the sponsor of the swimwear and underwear of the Worldwide Mr. Gay pageant as well as Mr. Gay South Africa™, Paul Fouche from GF Menswear who was responsible for the formal suit that Charl wore when he was crowned, Diesel for his watch and Jean Paul Gaultier for his sunglasses.
As part of his Mr. Gay South Africa™ duties, Charl is expected to attend Cape Town Pride at the end of February and the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras in Knysna, which will be staged from the 28th of April to the 2nd of May 2010.
The LGBTI community in South Africa have expressed their jubilation at his win through e-mails, text messages and messages of congratulations on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which started rolling in directly after his win in Oslo. – Issued by Mr Gay SA
Mr. Gay South Africa 2009 leaves for Oslo to represent SA