Namibia’s new Mr Gay World representative, a 21-year-old activist and law student, from Mariental said he aims to increase visibility of LGBTI rights and his community following his win.
Rivelino Reinecke who took out the title during a ceremony at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre in Windhoek, makes Reinecke the first Mr Gay Namibia in 6 years, with his nation taking a break from the competition due to funding and political restraints.
The competition which comprised of four categories including traditional wear, funky, swimwear, and formal wear. Finalists also answered questions from the judges on issues affecting the local LGBTI community.
Reinecke was the overall winner, followed by 1st runner-up, Jason Du Plessis and 2nd runner-up, Collin van der Westerhysen.
“I really did not expect the win as the competition was very high but it is a great feeling to know that you are able to stand firm for what your community believes,” Reinecke explained to Mambaonline.
“I really feel blessed, lucky and overwhelmed.”
Reinecke, who is also a programmes manager at the organisation Rights Not Rescue Trust, highlighted that one of his main catalysts in entering the contest was to increase the visibility of the LGBTI community.
“In Namibia we have lacked role models, most especially as young black gay men,” he said.
“It is imperative that a community facing hostile treatment has someone to look up to, someone that could represent the community.”
Reinecke added that he also aims to use his title to “speak for the voiceless” and “promote inclusivity and participation of the community in decision making.”
The event was organised by former Mr Gay Namibia, Wendelinus Hamutenya, following the competitions relaunch in early 2018.
“The contest was bigger and better than ever,” said Reinecke, who expressed hope that his newly launched Mr Gay Namibia competition will continue to take place on an annual basis, much like the Mr Gay Pride Australia, Mr Gay New Zealand, and Mr Gay Southern Africa competitions.
While Reinecke aims to represent Namibia at Mr Gay World 2019 in Cape Town, taking place from 28 April to 4 May 2019.