A week of campaigning and voting is over, and the public has chosen Chris Emmanuel from Knysna as Mr Gay World South Africa 2018.

Chris (42), who owns and operates CrossFit Knysna, managed to not only garner the most public votes via SMS, but his self-promotional video also landed the most hits on YouTube. Speaking to the Mr Gay World South Africa organisers, Emmanuel said that he is happy and surprised to accept the coveted title.

“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.”

The public has chosen Chris Emmanuel as Mr Gay World South Africa 2018.

Chris says that he realises the responsibility that comes with being Mr Gay World South Africa and doesn’t take it lightly. Speaking about the difficulty of coming out when there is a risk of being rejected, especially when one’s fundamental human rights are in peril, Chris undertakes to use this platform to highlight the bravery of those members of the LGBTQI+ community that live their truth, despite being faced with immense adversity.

“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. 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.”

Gay Pages journalist, Kevin du Plessis (whose promotional video, together with the video of another finalist, Lourens Moorcroft, got almost the same amount of hits as Chris’s video – testament to how tough the competition was) has been crowned as the first prince, and will step in, should Chris be unable to fulfil his duties for whatever reason.

Chris now goes on to represent South Africa at the Mr Gay World competition, which will be held in Cape Town from 28 April to 4 May, culminating in the crowning of the current Mr Gay World Jordan Bruno’s successor at the Mr Gay World finale on Saturday, 4 May.