The newly crowned winner of Mr. Gay World 2010 is Charl van den Berg, a 28-year old South African restaurant manager and blogger.
Charl beat competitors from Australia, Hong Kong, Spain and China to win the coveted title and become the second global gay ambassador following Max Krzyzanowski from Ireland. The aim of the competition is to find a leader who can take responsibility and talk about human rights and equality worldwide. The AFP wrote earlier this month:
OSLO — A South African man has won the 2010 Mr Gay World pageant, beating rivals from Australia, Hong Kong, China and Spain, the organisers said on Sunday.
Charl Van den Berg, 28, who runs a restaurant in Cape Town, won after four days of competition finished with a walk down a fashion runaway in an Oslo nightclub dressed in skimpy swimwear and various costumes.
The competition is aimed at “finding a leader who can take on the responsibility of being a spokesman for the community and who can also speak out on equality and human rights on the world stage,” a statement said.
After winning, Charl expressed himself on how he is ready to represent the gay community in a proper manner and urged the world to learn to love people who are different:
My hope is to be able to first of all represent the gay community in a proper manner, but at the same time to also just show people that it’s okay to love someone who’s different than you. You don’t have to focus on their differences, but you focus on what makes you a unit, what makes you and the other person equal.
On his blog he shows his patriotism by thanking the communities and Nelson Mandela, his sponsors and supporters who made this possible for him. Being the only representative from Africa in the competition, he has got a hard task ahead of him as many countries in Africa have refused to accept homosexuality.
Homosexuality is only legal in handful of countries in Africa such as South Africa, Rwanda (recently), Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Côte dl’voire, Cape Verde and Benin.
Wow! What an amazing experience and first two weeks. I want to thank you all personally for supporting me in my endeavors and goal of representing South Africa on a global stage. My fellow competitors were amazing and taught me a significant amount in diversity, cultural adversity and the challenges the LBGT community faces. This has clearly set the goals and objectives for my reign as their global spokesman and new Ambassador.
My first few days back home has made me realize the extent of the tasks that lay ahead, and it has been a whirlwind of events and interviews. However, the most humbling aspect has been the support I have received from all the communities within South Africa, and has made me proud to be a part of the Rainbow Nation that Mr. Mandela envisaged nearly four decades ago. I am proudly South African and embrace the diversity, potential and prospects the country offers on the eve of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Since, returning from my first trip abroad, I need to acknowledge the work and effort the local committee from Mr. Gay SA played in making the event possible and my representation in Oslo possible. Also, the sponsors and supporters of the event have made it comparable to other (major) local pageants.
Charl van de Berg believes he has got a message and a sense of social responsibility to give back to the people he interacts with in his community.
Not all is well in South Africa despite being the first country to legalize gay marriage in Africa and has a constitution that favors the gay community. He wants to fight heterosexual prejudice, homophobia, AIDS and other issues confronting the LGBT community:
Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking these beauty competitions are so narcissistic and just brainless wonder parading around in skimpy underwear working hard for that sash and sceptre. LOL! Believe me I’m not here for the glory of being South Africa’s Number 1 Moffie. I actually have a message and a sense of social responsibility that I’d like to share and winning this title will provide me with a great opportunity to contribute positively towards the South African gay community and hopefully to South Africa in general.
Although I’m painfully aware that as South Africa we have a Constitution that is based on sexual equality, I think our biggest obstacle to this equality is not what we perceive to be so called heterosexual prejudice. Our biggest obstacle to true equality is our own internal prejudice within the gay community.
Amidst controversies of his past appearing on gay movies, Pierre Le Roux a South African blogger says his past should not determine here, people make mistakes and he should not be judged, he owned up to his mistakes and faced the music in a respectable manner he would make a great ambassador:
But do the making of one video and a few pictures actually make Charl van der Berg a veteran porn star? I think not! Sure he may have had a lapse of judgment, but then again everyone makes mistakes. The fact that he stood up and faced the music in a respectable manner says plenty about his character. So do I think he’s a suitable ambassador for the international gay community, yes I do. The GLBT community is not without our flaws and neither is South Africa. Having our own president embroiled in sex scandals with bastard children popping up with what seems to be everywhere, why can’t we be proud of our own homegrown Mr. Gay World even if he had made one dirty little film.