Mr SA hope­fuls aim to do good – and win

It’s not only looks that count, says or­gan­iser

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - LEILA SAMODIEN

THESE are the most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lors in town. They’re young, am­bi­tious, good-look­ing and have a soft spot for a good cause – and they’re fi­nal­ists to be Mr South Africa 2011.

Mishal Mookrey, Ryno Swanepoel and Chase Watk­inJones, all from Cape Town, are among the top 12 con­tes­tants.

They were se­lected from a group of 50 semi-fi­nal­ists in a cer­e­mony broad­cast on DStv on Thurs­day night.

Now they’re to go head-to­head with each other and nine other con­tes­tants – from Joburg, Pre­to­ria and Bloemfontein – for the crown in the fi­nal on Fe­bru­ary 19.

Pi­eter Cor­nelius, one of the or­gan­is­ers, said that while looks were im­por­tant, the com­pe­ti­tion wasn’t just about a hand­some face.

“We’re look­ing for an all­round in­di­vid­ual who cares about his com­mu­nity and is a role model for youth,” he said.

The fi­nal­ists have to pro­mote them­selves and take on mean­ing­ful projects in their com­mu­ni­ties.

Watkin-Jones, 20, of Camps Bay, hopes to use his love for Taek­won-Do to get peo­ple in his com­mu­nity ac­tive and to teach them to pro­tect them­selves.

He is a Taek­won-Do in­struc­tor, the co-owner of a mar­tial arts school, an SA Taek­won-Do cham­pion and a stu­dent work­ing for a de­gree in busi­ness and ad­min­is­tra­tion at Var­sity Col­lege. He hopes to use his skills to give lessons at or­gan­i­sa­tions and even re­hab cen­tres.

“You can’t re­ally have a strat­egy when it comes to a com­pe­ti­tion like this. It’s about be­ing your­self and help­ing oth­ers.”

For Mookrey, 28, from Rylands, tack­ling Mr South Africa was a per­sonal chal­lenge. His four-year-old niece had in­spired him to en­ter be­cause he wanted to show her that “you can do any­thing you set your mind to”.

Mookrey is a free­lance TV pro­ducer and pre­sen­ter, and has his own life­style show, which runs on his web­site and Cape Town TV.

The causes he has taken up in­clude fight­ing against teenage preg­nancy and school­yard bul­ly­ing.

“This com­pe­ti­tion gives me a plat­for m to fur­ther my agenda, which is to get peo­ple talk­ing about these is­sues. I can get out to schools and reach out to chil­dren. Even if it’s for an hour, it’s a start.”

Ryno Swanepoel, 21, of Paarl, said he wanted to use sport to make a dif­fer­ence among the youth.

He is an IT en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent at Stel­len­bosch Uni­ver­sity, and loves sport – rugby and ath­let­ics be­ing his favourites – and an­i­mals.

“Sport is a pos­i­tive ac­tiv­ity that can get the youth off the streets,” he said.

Swanepoel said that while he did step up his rou­tine slightly af­ter en­ter­ing Mr South Africa, he loved be­ing ac­tive.

The win­ner is voted for by the pub­lic via SMS. For more de­tails, visit www.mrsa.co.za.

leila.samodien@inl.co.za

PIC­TURES: PI­ETER COR­NELIUS

CHAL­LENGE: Mishal Mookrey, 28.

SPORTY: Ryno Swanepoel, 20.

TAEK­WON-DO CHAMP: Chase Watkin-Jones, 21.

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