As President Mugabe comes to the final stages of drawing up a new constitution for Zimbabwe in which he said he would reject any incorporation of homosexual rights, one of only four African men taking place in Mr Gay World has withdrawn from the competition citing personal reasons.
The competition had been celebrating having more African contestants than ever before, and black Africans for the very first time.
“It’s a major development. It’s the first time that black Africans will participate, which sends out a powerful message of hope to Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex people in Africa. A message that there are role models and that one can live as a successful and open LGBTI person,” said Coenie Kukkuk, Africa Director for Mr Gay World.
The organisers praised Taurai Zhanje for making a stand against the oppression of LGBTI but admitted that in Africa the ‘personal sacrifice’ for gay and human rights was often too high, with homosexuality outlawed in 38 African countries.
The 2012 Mr. Gay World competition will be held in Johannesburg from 4 to 8 April.