Khayelitsha contestant appeals for your votes

Zuko Langeni hopes to attain enough votes to win the competition.

When Mr South Africa comes to your television screen later this year one of the contestants could be a familiar face to Khayelitsha residents.

However, Zuko Langeni, of Khwezi Park, Khayelitsha, must first make it into next month’s top 25.

After some successes locally, Zuko, standing at 1.81 metres tall and weighing 71kg, has cast his net wider by entering the country’s ultimate pageant for men.

He has joined 50 other men from across South Africa who are working tirelessly to secure their spot in the finals which take place in November.

His success though depends on your vote.

The number of votes contestants get will be critical to their destiny. They are added on a score sheet with points scored in individual projects. Contestants with the highest combined scores will make it through to the next round.

In an interview with Vukani last week, the 24-year-old Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) student said he entered the competition by faith and believes his destiny is in the hands of God.

He said it was by pure chance that he discovered entries for the competition were open – and then he just managed to sneak in his entry hours before the closing date on Saturday April 30.

He submitted the form without making the required payment, uncertain he would even be able to scrape the entry fee together.

Lucky for him he was helped out by a car dealer and managed to pay the fee.

He is now hoping that his efforts were not in vain. “But if I don’t make it there will be no hard feelings. This has already placed me on the map,” he said.

However, he is keeping his eyes firmly on the competition’s top 25 and promises to be an “icon and a good role model to young people”. “Young people have a lot of wrong role models. Seeing someone like me from the township will be a motivation to a lot of young people,” said Zuko.

Zuko is also appealing to his community – and the rest of Cape Town – to vote for him.

Contestants are required to identify and help a business with a marketing strategy; and come up with a sustainable strategy to assist a charity organisation.

The third year analytical chemistry student said he was not overly concerned about his scores for the two projects, but was worried about votes.

“You get a certain number of points for votes and for the projects. They are then added onto your score sheet which determines your success,” he said.

With a smile on his face, Zuko says the competition also requires “a high level of commitment and networking” – not just looks and a brain.

“Whatever that you do, you depend on the people around you. You cannot do it alone. As much as it is my thing I had to identify people who can assist me,” he said. “I am continuing with my work, they are the people who assist me. The pressure is not only on me.”