Pretty in pink: Kings and queen crowned in Pietermaritzburg’s gay pageant

2008-12-07 00:00

Under cloudy skies at the Golden Horse Casino on Saturday stood a 40-metre rainbow in the form of a gay pride flag. It marked the pageant that would conclude the first annual Pink Mynah Festival in Pietermaritzburg.

Organised by the Gay and Lesbian Network, the Mr King, Ms Drag Queen and Mr Gay KZN ’08 pageant was the finale to a week-long festival. Apart from the bad weather and a few “mynah” glitches with the sound system, the event was entertaining — with a bit of comedy and drama (and few wardrobe malfunctions).

Contestants buffed up, plucked an eyebrow or two and strutted their stuff in front of close to 200 people in the hope of winning the votes of the six who sat as judges for the evening.

There could, however, only be one winner for each category and they were … Leo Mthethwa, who took the title of Mr King KZN ’08, Mellisa Mbambo. who took the title of Ms Drag Queen KZN ’08 and Andrew Venter, this year’s Mr Gay KZN.

“I’m so excited,” said Mbambo, who is from Inchanga. “I didn’t think I was going to be the queen of the night.”

This is not the first pageant that the 23-year-old has featured in. “I’ve been modelling since I was six. In 1998, I even competed against girls in the Ms Taxi Association contest and took second princess,” Mbambo said.

Mthethwa, who also competed in Mr King PMB in 2006, was ecstatic to be crowned this time around.

“I didn’t expect it. I actually walked off stage when they were reading out the winners because I didn’t think I’d be crowned the overall winner.”

Mr Gay KZN said being crowned was a great honour. Venter, who is originally from Bulwer and now lives in Pietermaritzburg, said, “I’m looking forward to the duties and I’m willing to do anything they throw at me. If I had my way, I’d even wear my sash on the beach!”

The winners will represent KwaZulu-Natal in a national pageant next year.

Their first duty will be to help out with East Coast Radio’s Toy Story campaign — an initiative to collect and distribute toys and food parcels to needy children.

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