Renate Engelbrecht
Content producer
2 minute read
2 Nov 2021
5:08 pm

From suicide survivor to Mr Gay World – Louw Breytenbach’s journey to success

Renate Engelbrecht

Louw Breytenbach celebrates winning Mr Gay World and bringing the crown back to South Africa for the first time in ten years, saying: “Here is to all those who love freely, loudly and boldly.”

Louw Breytenbach, the new Mr Gay World 2021. Image: Facebook

Louw Breytenbach has won the title of Mr Gay World 2021 – the first South African to bring the crown home since Francois Nel won the title in 2011, and Charl van den Berg in 2010.

During the virtual finale of the Mr Gay World competition which took place in Knysna, Breytenbach – originally from Boksburg – also won the prize for Mr Photogenic. Joel Carcasona from the Philippines was the first runner-up and Joshuan Aponte from Puerto Rico came in third.

In a recent Instagram post, Louw Breytenbach said that he had tried to commit suicide for the third time twelve years ago and two and a half years ago, he was in a car accident that got published all over, so much so that he ended up in a mental health facility.

“Then I made the papers for my weight struggles and closing businesses in lockdown and so many were shocked that a year ago I cleaned houses to make ends meet and keep my staff employed.”

READ: 1 in 5 LGBTQ youth have attempted suicide in the past year – study

He says that even after all of this, a cancer scare and plenty of breakdowns, he made it. He reminded fans and followers to never give up.

“Your future self depends on you getting through today’s struggle. You are so worthy.”

According to Louw Breytenbach, 69 countries globally still criminalise homosexuality and 29 of them are in Africa.

“I want to be a driving force to change this and challenge this along with my existing charities,” he says.

In a previous social media post, Louw Breytenbach wrote: “We have a responsibility to take up the torch and light the way for the community that comes after us. We need visibility, diversity, and inclusion. Break the silence om mental health, trans rights, stigmatization of HIV and bullying.”

The Mr Gay World Organisation congratulated Breytenbach on his achievement on Instagram, saying: “…We are so proud to have you leading the way.”