Matthew 5: 14 says that “[a] city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden”. 23-year old Adriaan Bergh was ‘set on a hill’ the moment he was crowned as Mr South Africa 2011. He is the youngest person ever to have won this prestigious title and the light he shines is spreading to every nook and crevice in our country –just as Matthew admonished us nearly 2000 years ago: “Shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Adriaan Bergh, our winsome and warm-hearted new Mr South Africa, spent his childhood years in Bela Bela (formerly known as ‘Warmbad’) in Limpopo Province. Whether you look at Adriaan’s ‘Facebook’ or ‘Twitter’ account, or whether you receive an email from him, his faith in God resembles the hope that the beloved psalmist, David, found in his Lord.
Adriaan is a devoted sportsman: he obtained provincial colours in rugby, cricket, golf, tennis, cross-country and the biathlon. Wow! Have I mentioned that our Mr South Africa is also a very skilled lifeguard, ladies? We would all rather watch Adriaan run the beach than David Hasselhoff!
Mr South Africa is not only sporty (he was a member of the Vodacom Cup Bulls Rugby Squad), but he is also smart: at school he was one of the top ten academic achievers! He credits his parents for teaching him how to live a balanced life. In an interview with the man who was voted our country’s most handsome, hardworking and inspiring man (other than our husbands of course!), Adriaan shared his heart for God and our country with Vision Magazine.
V: You matriculated from Hoërskool Warmbad in 2005. What did you decide to do after school?
A: I studied BSc Quantity Surveying at Tuks (the University of Pretoria) and successfully finished my degree. I am now staying in the Jacaranda city, Pretoria, where I am busy completing my honours degree.
V: How did your modelling career start? Was it something exciting like a talent scout seeing you in the street?!
A: Haha! Yes – my modelling career started in true Hollywood fashion after being ‘scouted’ at the Cape Town airport by a modelling agency. Some modelling work followed and the Mr South Africa 2011 title came shortly after being crowned ‘Bone Wear Model of the Year’ and ‘Sportsman of the Year’ at the Mr South Africa 2011 Competition. Since all of this, everything has been happening so fast: doors have opened for me in the radio, TV, magazine and newspaper industries!
V: What is your personal goal as Mr South Africa? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
A: To me the most important thing as Mr South Africa is to be an example: I want to be someone the youth can look up to – someone with strong Christian morals and values. I also want to be involved in various charities, especially focusing on sports for kids, teaching young people to believe in themselves. (‘You have just as much potential for success as the most successful person you know.’ – Ralph Marston)
V: What does a day in Mr South Africa’s life look like? I am imagining lots of glamour! I follow you on Twitter, and everything seems so exciting!
A: Well, since I was crowned my life has been much different than it used to be! Everyday is exciting and I am constantly travelling all over the country. But even when I did not have all the Mr South Africa responsibilities, I could never sit still for a second! I lead a very active lifestyle, and even now that I am so busy, I never skip one day at the gym.
V: What has been your greatest challenge as Mr South Africa (other than having to deal with thousands of fans who love the fact that you are single!)?
A: Haha! I love being Mr South Africa! So far, no challenges. I am just very new to the whole modelling industry… it feels weird to smile for the camera all the time. Sometimes they take more than 500 pictures a day! But I am starting to get used to it.
V: Tell us about some of the charities you are involved with?
A: I am an ambassador for the ‘PinkDrive Campaign’ – you can find them on ‘Facebook’. This campaign is committed to improving breast cancer awareness and providing and offering services to women across South Africa (such as affordable mammography services and oncology facilities), particularly to those who do not have access to information on breast health. I am also a representative of SANCA, fighting against drug and alcohol abuse.
‘Paying it Forward SA’, whose slogan is ‘Don’t pay me back, pay it forward’, and ‘Let’s Play’, an NPO that focuses on using sport to teach children life skills, are also two charities that are close to my heart. It has all been so rewarding! Haha – once, when I was at the Abraham Kriel Kinderhuis, one of the little boys asked me: ‘Oom, is oom die President?’
V: Well Adriaan – we will vote for you as President!
V: You are very open about your relationship with and love for God. Tell us about your King?
A: Yes, I am a Christian – Jesus is King! I give all the glory to Jesus Christ – without him nothing is possible for me. I know the reason why I am so blessed: it is because I give Jesus my glory. “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” (John 13:16)
We are on earth not to be worshipped, but to worship and give God all the glory. Sometimes the world wants to pull you in, but I have got such a great support system behind me and they pull me back to reality very fast! My family has especially been very supportive. Family is everything to me – without my family, I never would have been where I am today.
V: Any advice you want to leave our readers with?
A: Positive thinking is crucial for successful, happy living. Whether you think you can or you think you can’t… you are right! (Henry Ford) Confidence is the name of the game. Anything in life is possible – it just depends on how badly you want it!
You got to have a dream and think about it: you can’t hit a target if you can’t see it. Write it down and make it your target, think about it everyday, do everything necessary to achieve this! My motto in life is ‘you got to dream it, to live it’.
Perhaps just one more word of advice: Be different! If you do what everyone else does you will have what everyone else has! ‘An authentic life is the most personal form of worship.’ (Sarah Ban Breathnach)
Adriaan Bergh is indeed a radiant city on a hill! As Mr South Africa 2011 he is shining God’s light and love in our country. Watch out for Adriaan this year – Mr South Africa won’t be sitting still on any throne! Let’s pray for him, as we are urged to do in 1 Timothy 2:1-3, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour…”
For more information on Mr South Africa 2011, Adriaan Bergh, go to: http://www.adriaanbergh.com