WHEN he was younger, there was someone who tried to intimidate him by dragging him to dark corners of the neighbourhood and threatening to hurt him but he always managed to escape just in time.
Other boys called him names and there was constant teasing – all of this because he was gay.
Today, Lindsay Bevin Afrika, from Nelson Mandela Bay, has risen above those circumstances to become the first ever Mr Gay Eastern Cape and is raising money for charity as part of his duties.
A qualified pharmaceutical assistant, 28-year-old Afrika made history when he became the first winner of this title after the competition was held at the end of 2021. It started as Miss Gay Eastern Cape in 2019, but due to postponements as a result of the pandemic, the organisation decided to expand the pageant by adding a Mr Gay Eastern Cape to the mix as well.
“I believe in giving back to the community and at the Mr and Miss Gay Eastern Cape Organisation NPC; that’s exactly what I’ve been taught to do via the officially dubbed Project Queer, a community outreach of the organisation,” Afrika said.
“This is what makes this pageant different from the rest; it’s not just about modelling, it’s about giving back and this is something that I firmly believe in: Giving a helping hand to someone and expecting nothing in return because that is where our blessings from God lie,” he added.
Despite having reached heights with his modelling career, Afrika mentioned that being a gay young man of colour has not been easy but somehow he knew that he had the comfort of being himself around his family until he was ready to speak to his mother about everything when he was 22 years old.
In turn, they told his father, and his parents have shown him nothing but love and support, providing a safe space for him in the home.
He mentioned how important it is for the LGBTQIA+ community to be accepted in society after the recent death of a Stutterheim teenager, who committed suicide, allegedly because he was gay.
“That is exactly what we need to prevent as leaders and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We all go through some sort of discrimination and injustice but not all are strong to overcome or even talk about it.
“In the Eastern Cape, there is no safe haven for LGBTQIA+ members in cases of harassment, pending sexual assault cases and hate crimes. This boy should’ve had someone to speak to, someone to reach out to, a place of safety for minors in special circumstances,” he added.
His plea to communities is for inclusion and support.
“Please share love, not hate. We are all human; we are all brothers and sisters. We are someone’s sons and daughters, we are someone’s brother and sister and we deserve better from our brothers and sisters [in the community].”
Anyone who would like to get involved with fund-raising for the organisation’s community outreach can get in touch with the organisation by sending an email to: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Afrika can also be contacted via WhatsApp on 061 277 0720.
The next Mr and Miss Gay Eastern Cape will be crowned early in December this year.