The Cape Town gay community was rocked by the death of pageant director Mark Donough who passed away on Friday of Covid-related illnesses.
Mark, 54, was admitted to Somerset Hospital on Monday where he was diagnosed with the Coronavirus. Alongside Barry Reid, he was the co-director and founder of the Miss Gay Western Cape pageant and also the co-director of the Cape Town Pride Pageant.
The two were planning to launch Mr. Gay Western Cape together.
Mark, who has been living with Barry for the last few months, was also a sought after gym instructor at Virgin Active.
A heartbroken Barry says: “I'm totally devastated, I have lost my best friend, confidante and go-to person.
“We created so many wonderful memories together, he changed so many people's lives positively, I wouldn't be involved in this art form of drag today had it not been for Mark.
“I'm going to miss him terribly.”
Barry says he took Mark to the hospital last Monday after they had been in self-isolation since Christmas.
He says Mark, who had comorbidities, became more ill and eventually succumbed.
“He had high blood pressure and kidney issues,” says Barry.
Mark was born and raised in Bokmakierie in Athlone.
He worked at Rex Truform for many years and was involved in the Sactwu Spring Queen events.
Mark brought Miss Gay Western Cape back to life in 2009 and featured on the award-winning documentary Glitterboys and Gangland in 2010.
Barry adds: “He advocated acceptance, guided and counselled many families back together after hearing their child was LGBTI.”
In a tribute on social media, Maxine Wild, the reigning Miss Gay Western Cape, said: “It saddens me that I will not have the honour of you escorting me during my final walk. It was such a privilege to be one of your queens.”