Here’s Why The Top 16 Miss SA Contestants Say They’re Changing The Face Of Pageants
A new Miss SA will be crowned on the 9th of August and the entire country is keeping their eyes peeled for updates on the contestants. And rightly so, as this years top 16 is arguably the most diverse group of women we’ve seen in years. Beauty pageants have been around for decades — and so has criticism to it. Whether you identify as a feminist or not, you probably have some thoughts on whether pageants are still (or ever were) relevant.
More Than Just A Beauty Pageant
Without a doubt, we live in a society that has beauty standards, and so much of what we consume reinforces what is considered beautiful. And for decades beauty pageants have helped to enforce those rigid beauty standards — but it’s important to remember that pageants are about so much more than beauty. They give inspirational women a platform to make a positive change in their own lives and that of others.
If we look at our former Miss SA’s we can tell that besides being beautiful these women have hearts of gold. Miss SA 2018, Tamaryn Green used her platform to break the stigma around TB and help educate the public on the illness. Liesl Laurie from Eldorado Park in Johannesburg was crowned Miss SA in 2015 and has since inspired countless young women to chase and believe in their dreams regardless of where they come from. Former Miss SA and Miss World Rolene Strauss continued her charity work long after she passed on her crown. Along with her family, Rolene started The Strauss Foundation which aims to be a positive contributor in society through the promotion of Health, Education and Charity.
The Ground-Breaking Top 16
We haven’t even crowned a Miss SA but the top 16 are already doing such a wonderful job of representing and empowering the people of SA. From Sinanalwe Gcilitshala being openly queer to Kgothatso Dithebe showing off her unique birthmark to most of the contestants embracing their natural hair- this year so many women will be able to watch Miss SA and see themselves.
The Top 16 share why they believe pageants are relevant in 2019 and what they’ll bring to the role of Miss SA:
Sibabalwe Gcilitshala (24)
“There’s no denying the long history and associations beauty pageants have had in the past but I take great issue with the monolithal and stereotype that beauty pageants are only about beauty. I find it disappointing that some would consider a competition that celebrates young women’s beauty, intellect, and aspiration as no longer relevant.”
Siba says she hopes to represent a contemporary young South African woman. She goes on to say that she wants to inspire all those young “Siba’s” who have no idea of their greatness and just need someone to remind them to dream. If she was to win, she would also seek to advance Queer women’s rights.
Chuma Matsaluka (21)
“Beauty pageants are still relevant because they help individuals by giving them an opportunity to not only fulfil their ambitions but to assist them to serve their communities. It also helps contestants identify key values, help them gain confidence and teaches discipline, while at the same time foresting their goals.beauty is not what you see on the outside, buts its what is on the inside that matters more.”
Chuma would like to be Miss SA because she believes she has a purpose in life which is to touch people’s lives and make significant changes where she can. She wants to pave way for young people and show them that where you come from should not determine where you are going.
Eloisëvan der Westhuizen (24)
“Beauty pageants provide a platform for young women who aspire to make a difference, investing time and money in the development and growth of contestants who want to use their reign to make an impact on communities and make a difference.”
Eloisëvan says she’s a confident resilient and driven young woman with a vision to empower youth. If she crowned Miss SA she believes she will be able to use this platform to impact and inspire young girls through upliftment programs focusing on the physical and emotional wellbeing.
Zozibini Tunzi (25)
“The first misconception people have about beauty queens is that they lack depth, which is why they do not find relevance in beauty pageants. This is far from the truth. Beauty pageants in 2019 are more than just outer beauty, they are about what an individual can offer to the world. They are about being impactful, being an empowered woman who can empower other women as well. That can never be irrelevant”
To Zozibini being Miss SA means contributing towards her goal of living a purposeful life. She says she is ready to tap fully into that selfless aspect of herself.” I have seen first hand how a little help can have a huge impact on someones’ life. I want to be able to do that for someone,” she explains.
Danielle Wallace (26)
“I think any platform that provides the opportunity for the upliftment of women is, and forever will be relevant. I think women should always seek to pull each other up rather than knocking each other down. The values and morals represented through the beauty pageant industry are those that encourage its participants, hopefully, and those that follow the journey, to be better people.the institution really speaks to being a better version of yourself .”
“I see myself as entirely unique” and that’s what makes her a proud and strong candidate choice for Miss South Africa says, Daniel. She details how she would bring the role an open-heartedness and love of the diversity of our nation’s cultures, a core passion for the betterment of our country.
Sasha-Lee laurel Olivier (26)
“Pageants contribute meaningfully to society and are key players in social development. Like sport, they bring the country and the world together. Acting as a vehicle that drives awareness to socio-economic issues. A shining example of this would be ‘The Beauty With A Purpose Project” and the introduction of biodegradable sanitary towels that not only keep the girl child in school but are also eco-friendly”
Sasha says she wants to represent the women that broaden the definition of South African beauty by including women and girls who don’t fit the pre-assumed template created by subjective society. She further wishes to continue to script the narrative of beauty in South Africa
Loren Leigh Jennecker (24)
“I think they inspire women to stand firm in their beliefs and help fulfil their passions, hopes, and dreams. It has been a gateway for so many women to realize their potential and meet like-minded highly educated individuals. Beauty pageants challenge us at an emotional, intellectual and spiritual level and anyone that has entered a pageant is extremely brave and determined.”
“I want to convey a message of empowerment and compassion, to show our nation and the world that you can grow outside of the conditions you are born in and create your own beautiful story.” Lorena believes that every single person deserves an amazing life and will do her best to make that a reality for as many people as possible.
Xia Narain (23)
“Personally the beauty pageant gives me a platform to make a positive difference.it also helps women gain confidence, self-esteem, and power that can be used to motivate and inspire others.”
She wants to be Mis South Africa because she wants to do away with tolerance and promote acceptance. She says she will focus on three major aspects, women empowerment, uniting our nation, and motivating youth. Xia says another goal of hers is to eliminate racism by teaching SA citizens to embrace their differences and respect each other’s traditions and cultures.
Kgothatso Dithebe (24)
“Because of social media, beauty pageants have gained popularity globally, making them relevant now more than ever. May who joins pageants are not only beautiful but strong, smart and have more substance than we think. Beauty pageant plays a significant role in helping and challenging the contestants to be a greater version of themselves.”
If crowned Miss SA, Kgothatso says that she wants to “bring hope to those who feel mistreated, misplaced or misunderstood”. She wants to offer inspiration to those, who like her, have a birthmark on their face.
Zanele Phakathi (20)
“Beauty pageants will always be relevant.it is through beauty pageants that I found my purpose. As an entrant, you are exposed to so much that puts you under pressure and through that you learn to identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to use these to overcome your challenges.”
Zanele wants to be Miss South Africa because she feels that she is ready to let her story of defying the odds be an inspiration to most of her peers and young girls. She wants to represent our rainbow nation with pride.
Nompumelelo Maduna (24)
“Beauty pageants are still relevant as they are the foundation for many women’s success stories. They open the door to opportunities, build self-confidence and equip women with the necessary skills to lead with compassion and make a significant difference.”
Nompumelelo says she wants to be Miss South Africa because she will be a beacon of hope that will inspire and empower generations to come by motivating them that any goal is attainable through hard work and determination.
Lisa Stoffela (26)
“Beauty pageants are relevant now more than ever because the right people are starting to listen to women who a big title. It is not only about outward beauty, but also about what is going on in the hearts and minds of the candidates, that’s why there are interviews like any job. It is an incredible opportunity for women from all walks of life and career paths to unite and share ideas of how they will each play a meaningful role in society”.
Through her work as Miss South Africa Lisa says she would like to show other young girls and women that they too can achieve their dreams if they start with a goal and work hard to manifest it.
Errin Brits (22)
“South African has a youth unemployment rate of over 55%. Miss South Africa is an opportunity for a South African woman to have one of the most empowering jobs in the nation for a year. To better herself and her community.”
Errin says she has a project in mind that has never been done before and that will empower the people of South Africa with a basic but vital skillset that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Keabetswe Kanyane (25)
“There is a perception that beauty pageants only award women for how they look. My interaction with the contestants has taught me that this perception is the furthest thing from the truth. I have met well rounded, smart, ambitious and caring women through pageantry. The real problem is the stereotype that a woman can only be beautiful or smart. It is problematic that society still believes that women can’t be multifaceted and multitalented.”
Keabetswe says that if she won the title, she would use her platform to share her struggles with uncertainty and mental health. She would do this by creating large scale workshops, that aim to assist in decreasing the anxiety of finding employment and engage students bodies.
Beulah Baduza (23)
“A platform that gives deserving women a voice to inspire, protect and change the world will never be irrelevant,”
Beulah says she wants to inspire girls to be the healthiest, happiest and best version of themselves no matter what social restrictions they’ve been socialized into, that’s the role she’ll play when crowned Miss South Africa. She wants to be Miss SA because she wanted girls and women all over South Africa to see just how far confidence and hard work can take them, despite the standards set by society of what girls should look like and behave.
Noluthando Bennet (24)
“Beauty pageants are still relevant in that they’ve eradicated the stigma that it’s all about beauty and nothing more. Beauty pageants give women a platform to show the world that they are more than just a beautiful face, they are willing to take a risk and implement them to see change.”
Noluthando says what she would like to bring to the role is more than just her face and mind but her skills that would aid in changing the current state of the country where the youth are concerned.
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