Jason Kunungwa chomping at the bit to get on with Mr World pageant

Musa Zimunya 

WINDHOEK, APRIL 7 – The elation of crossing over into the New Year was quickly deflated for Jason Kunungwa upon learning that the pageant he had so eagerly been preparing for, ‘Mr World 2019’ had been postponed from 27 January 2019, to an indefinite date. However, reports coming out of Manila, Philippines, suggest that the Grand Final will finally take place on June 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Contestants will begin to pour into Manila on 18 May and Kunungwa has set his ambitions on becoming the first ever African to hold the post of Mr World – a biennial male beauty pageant sponsored by the Miss that was founded in 1996. The current Mister World is Rohit Khandelwal of India was crowned on 19 July 2016 in Southport as the first ever Asian to hold the post, and as per tradition, he is currently enjoying his reign at his base in London.

But if Kunungwa is to realise his dream, he will have to dominate over 100 participants from around the globe and display optimum physical prowess in challenges that include an Army Assault Course, Extreme Fitness, Ultimate Sport; and of course no pageant is complete without a Style & Fashion segment.

“Each challenge has been designed to push contestants to the very limits, to discover who will be crowned Mr World 2019 at the Grand Final on 8 June at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila” – www.missworld.com

“I am an optimistic person. I look at things in a positive way, thinking that the glass is half-full rather than half-empty. My primary reason for joining this pageant is to develop and boost my self-esteem. You have to be a role model (in life), the title is a phenomenal platform to inspire others and have an opportunity to engage people from all walks of life,” said Kunungwa.

He said when people hear the word pageant, they usually think about beautiful women gliding across a stage in an array of sparkling evening gowns, adding that this was not always the case.

“Guys can participate too! Pageants exist to hep people form all walks of life gain confidence in themsevls and grown as individuals, regadless of gender, race or sexuality.”

According to the aspiring contestant, Mr World should be a man with a kind heart and humility and makes people feel that they can count on him, that he transcends their beliefs, attitude and character; and Kunungwa believes these traits are embedded in his DNA.

“The Mr World title is an opportunity for me to be a change agent and expand beyond what I am. I would have the honour and opportunity to show people of all ethnicities the importance of embracing one’s heritage and celebrating what makes us unique. I would be inspiring youth worldwide to celebrate their own culture and background, and to appreciate the value of ethnic diversity. You are given the opportunity to impact so many people in so many ways.”

Born in Shoaango village in the Ohangwena Region “in the late 90’s” Kunungwa will now rub shoulders with models from around the world, in his quest to wear the crown. A stroke of luck led to his qualification: Namibia lack’s national male pageants, thus presented the opportunity for Kunungwa to enter the competition with his Mr UNAM and Mr Photogenic 2014 titles.

Still however, Kunungwa believes that he has what it takes to be the first ever Namibian to represent the country at the historic tenth Mr World pageant. – musa@namibiadailynews.info