Pinkie Salman, the human resources practitioner from Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape, saw his name appear at the top of Trendsmap, brought on by massive public support for the 44-year-old.
About the attention, he says: "I am so excited, and I can't believe that I've made it this far; I've worked so hard to get to this point in the competition."
Channel24 spoke to Pinkie, one of the top 20 Mr South Africa candidates, about hopes for the men of South Africa, and dealing with negative publicity.
Employed by the Department of Health in the Eastern Cape, Pinkie says that when he is not working, he enjoys going to the gym and taking part in various sporting activities. "I look after my physique, and health is important to me. I am also a netball coach for both ladies and men as well as a fitness coach," he says.
Pinkie, who has won several pageant titles including Mr Technikon Eastern Cape (now Walter Sisulu University), says he has always of dreamt of entering Mr South Africa, and if he walks away with the title, he hopes to "change the world."
He says: "As a country we are so divided and people are faced with many challenges including drug abuse and poverty. I want to make a difference in their lives."
Pinkie believes that Mr South Africa should be a role model for men and women.
"It's not just about the title, but you need to be committed to your duties. You need to be humble, and available to the communities around you."
He has a special message to the men of South Africa, who he says are often regarded as "abusers."
"We need to be good fathers and be there for our children. I want to teach boys, and men to be outstanding citizens in the world. I want to lift the stigma that men are abusers." Pinkie's role models are two former politicians Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. About Madiba, he says: "We have to live his legacy, one which is still burning in our hearts. A legacy that brings people together, and a spirit not routed in revenge."
If he is crowned Mr South Africa 2019, he hopes to be able to meet Thabo.
Pinkie is inspired in his day-to-day life by former Mr South Africa winner Michael Mol, who he says "carries himself well, and looks after people." - qualities he too hopes to emulate himself.
About the recent social media backlash about the pageant he says: "In life, you have to be criticised to be successful. I'm not bothered about the negativity. I am so positive and focussed. I urge the public to welcome us; we have worked so hard."
Pinkie, who is not married, says he has a beautiful support system at home, especially from his mother and siblings. He adds that he will never be able to thank his colleagues enough for their continued love and support.