Andreas Derleth
New Zealand man crowned Mr Gay World 2012

Andreas Derleth from New Zealand was crowned the Mr Gay World in a gala event that took place for the first time in Johannesberg, South Africa.

The world's biggest gay beauty pageant saw black Africans contesting for the first time, despite facing violent threats from their government authorities and family.

Contestants from as many as 25 countries competed in the four-day event that dazzled the African nation.

The contestants were tested on their knowledge of LGBTI issues and also put through a wildlife drill and rigours swimsuit contest. They spent an afternoon doing HIV outreach work before the finale at the Gold Reef City casino in Johannesburg, reported the Independent.

Some of the African contestants faced difficulties taking part in the event due to threats. Ethiopia's delegate, Robel Hailu, who was studying in South Africa was disowned by his father and cut off communications after a radio station in Addis Ababa announced his title.

Zimbabwe's contestant, Taurai Zhanje pulled out from the event after his family received death threats from the government agents.

"There was relentless pressure on the delegate from Zimbabwe to withdraw,"AFP quoted Coenie Kukkuk, the contest's Africa director, as saying.

"His family was followed by agents of the regime in Zimbabwe. His mother is employed by the government; she surely would have lost her job. And with 80 percent unemployment, she was looking after a lot of people," he added.

The Mr Gay World pageant debuted in 2009 and in the four years two South African white men have won the title.

South Africa was the first African nation to adopt gay rights and in 2006 Civil Union Act was passed which allowed same-sex marriage. But other African nations still maintain certain sexual acts as crimes, which in some case is punishable by death.

Non-heterosexual lifestyles are in different ways ranked criminal in 38 out of 54 African countries. Mauritania, Sudan, and northern Nigeria explicitly allow death penalty sentencing for homosexual acts, the Independent report said.

Most of the contestants in the pageant come from Europe and the Americas, with none from the Muslim world and few from African and Asian continents.