It was a night filled with tears of joy and gratitude as Down Syndrome star, Raeez Abdul, was awarded his sash and temporary crown as Mr MMI (Magnificent Man Icon) Phenomenal South Africa 2019.
The 27-year-old Raeez from Rondebosch East is set to compete in Las Vegas in August and will represent South Africa in the category of Special Needs people, where he will compete to bring home the world crown.
Raeez was born with Down Syndrome but says he doesn’t let it stop him from doing all things normal people do.
“I’m a king and my talent was recognised because of how well I carry myself and participate in everything and live a normal life,” he says.
“Don’t look at me differently, I’m just like you but just a little more special.”
Family and friends hosted a high tea event at the Darul Islam Hall in Greenhaven on Friday night to raise funds for his trip to Las Vegas.
Raeez, dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and formal black shoes, took to the stage after a smooth strut through the audience and struck a few poses like a professional model before taking his seat on his throne.
But what happened next totally blew Raeez away. His favourite idol, Loukmaan Adams, surprised him with a song for his crowning moment.
Loukmaan came out from the back of the hall to serenade Raeez, who instantly burst into tears when he heard the actor singing Liefling.
A host of top artists performed for Raeez, who wept again when Tashreeq de Villiers sang Impossible Dream, and then had a lekker laugh and dance when Waseef Piekaan performed Baby Shark and more funny songs.
The members of the Shumeez Scott Foundation also took to stage to dance their hearts out.
Miss MWI Phenomenal SA 2018/19, Shumeez, stood next to Raeez as he was being crowned.
Member of Parliament, Ahmed Shaik Emam, ended the night with a pledge of financial support for Raeez’s trip and the foundation’s future endeavours.