Cape Town – Mr Deaf South Africa Phumelela Mapukata has arrived home after being crowned the winner at the Mr Deaf World pageant in Mpumalanga.

Twenty contestants from 11 countries competed for the title of Mr and Miss Deaf World in Mpumulanga on 19 July – the first time the pageant has taken place on South African soil.

Phumelela took home the winning title, while Miss Deaf South Africa Lethiwe Ntaka was crowned first runner-up.

Both arrived at OR Tambo on Monday, following their success at the intentional pageant.

24-year-old Phumulela, who lives in Mitchells Plain said he prepared for the pageant by practising sport and getting in shape.

“Communication was a real challenge because every country has its own sign language,” he explained when asked about the challenges during the pageant.

When his name was called, he said he was “shocked and at a loss for words,” as he did not expect to win.

“I want to be a role model for the kids and be someone others can look up during my reign as Mr Deaf World,’ he added. He shares a message with the deaf community saying: “It doesn’t matter where you come from or what your circumstances are you can unexpectedly rise to the top like I did, if you work towards your goals.”