Meet your newly crowned Mr South Africa 2019.
Heinrich Gabler, 28, is a Grade 5 teacher at Huguenot Primary School in Wellington, the same school he attended as a child.
“I found it fit to give back to my community by investing in my foundation, hence working at this school,” he says.
On Saturday night he came out tops at the glitzy event held at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay.
First runner-up was Shaun Stander, followed by Bhekuzinde Nobunga.
Growing up wasn’t easy for Heinrich and his three siblings when they lost their mother when he was nine years old.
At his mother’s funeral it was also the last time he would see his father alive.
Heinrich and his siblings were sent to House Andrew Murray, a children’s home and safe haven in Wellington.
“House Andrew Murray taught me to be independent, to respect other people, along with many other values I still hold dear today,” he says.
Heinrich, who has a girlfriend, currently lives in Welgemoed and commutes to Wellington for work.
“I have a passion for working with kids, I’m also the under-13 rugby coach at the school.”
Except for loving aunties, teachers, lecturers and rugby coaches who shaped his life, he vividly recalls a moment in his matric year when Dieter Voigt (Mr South Africa 2007), approached him and told him that he had the talent and ability to make a difference in society as a model.
“I’ve entered Mr SA before, but never imagined actually winning the competition.
“The title is the most important thing for me above everything else. It allows me to reach out to more people and get more opportunities.”