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Sunday Times STLive By SANTHAM PILLAY, 2012-04-01

Not in front of my Mom and Dad!

NERVOUS: The first Indian Mr South Africa, Andrew Govender, did not invite his parents to the final pageant Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
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A week ago, model Andrew Govender made history as the first Indian winner of the Mr South Africa pageant.

However, his parents were not allowed to witness the moment first hand for fear of making him too nervous.

The 25-year-old actuarial analyst from Johannesburg says while he may be able to make speeches in front of thousands, he would be nervous if his parents were present.

"I value their opinion and I wouldn't want to disappoint them. But it's not difficult for me to give speeches in front of people... I don't feel under any pressure. If I messed up it would not be a big deal."

Instead, Govender asked his fraternal twin, Edwin, to accompany him to the final at the Silverstar Casino in Muldersdrift, Gauteng.

"It was my brother who called my parents and told them that I had won. He called my entire family, actually," he said.

Govender said there were many times during the months of preparation when he doubted his ability to win the competition, but he kept his confidence up by reminding himself of his duty to his community.

"All the guys were very competitive and any one of them could have won, so it was very intimidating. Of course I had moments of doubt. But then I realised I was there representing the Indian community and I had to do it for them."

The fitness fundi says one of his favourite places to spend his time is in the gym at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

"I'm a huge gym fanatic, so that's where you would most probably find me. Also, there's a spa, which is where I like to destress after a hectic day at work."

He said he realised that many would find his choice of "hangout" odd but added that he was incredibly private and the hotel was his home away from home.

Govender said he would be using his new status to promote his passions of getting more children interested in tertiary education and working within the Indian community.

"It is an honour to have the title, but to be the first Indian Mr South Africa is what really adds value to the whole experience for me. This is mainly because, when things were hard, the thought that I was representing a whole community served as a reminder to keep me going," he said.