Hope Nokuthula Bhuda, a woman who identifies as lesbian, was crowned Mr North West University (NWU) 2019, sparking a debate about gender and sexuality in beauty pageants.
This year’s application for the Mr NWU Mahikeng campus aimed to challenge beauty standards and sexuality with the slogan #BreakTheCode.
The poster read: “Are you shorter than your friends? Are you a member of LGBTI+ family? Are you a human being? Are you bigger than size 32?”
According to the NWU spokesperson Louis Jacobs said the university strongly promotes gender and sexuality awareness.
“Gender and sexuality awareness is a critical component of the diversity focus of the NWU and we respect the rights of all our staff and students to express themselves in whatever way they wish to,” said Jacobs.
However, she added that the management had taken note of the issues raised by some stakeholders about the crowning of Mr NWU Mahikeng.
Jacobs said they were awaiting a report from the organisers of the event “after which the matter will be handled from there”.
The newly crowned Mr NWU, Bhuda, posted on her Facebook page shortly after being crowned: “Young King The Crown is yours. You’ve been chosen.”
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.