It’s spring at last and the annual Miss Soweto pageant is back, bringing with it a welcome burst of brightness after the long days of a winter in lockdown. A firm favourite on the Soweto social and entertainment calendar since 1979, the pageant will enter its fifth decade with a contemporary set.
Twenty eager finalists will take to the stage of the Soweto Theatre on the 28th of November to compete for the coveted titles of:
- First Princess
- Second Princess
- Miss Personality
- Miss Photogenic
- People’s Choice Award
The event will be judged by broadcaster, businesswoman and 2002 Miss South Africa runner-up, Bridget Masinga, former fashion editor and blogger, Grace Mantjiu and renowned singer/songwriter Judith Sephuma. And, as always, it will air live on Soweto TV so that everyone can be part of the excitement.
“The pageant has a dedicated following,” says Mokhele Makhothi, Marketing Manager of White Star Super Maize Meal, the headline sponsor of the event. “It’s a fabulous spectacle that kicks off the festive season and has launched many household names, including those of businesswoman Basetsana Khumalo, who was Miss Soweto in 1990; the CEO and Founder of The Image Firm, Doris Msibi, who wore the crown in 2000; and deejay and media personality, Lerato Kganyago, who took the coveted title in 2005.”
These and other award winners are, he says, a worthy illustration of courageously bold women who are confident self-starters keen to use the opportunity Miss Soweto presents to create a public profile, build a successful career, and make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
“It’s all about giving Sowetan women a platform to be bold, to take charge of their own lives, and to be a force for good in the community in which they live,” he says.
The 20 finalists will benefit from a total pageant experience sponsored by Even and Lovely, Eli Ball, and Candi & Co. The finalists will go through a series of workshops to enhance their grooming skills, hone their fashion sense and train them in the finer points of etiquette and professionalism. It’s a treat of a lifetime for the participants and, for many, a life-changing experience.
The reigning Miss Soweto, Musawenkosi Gumede, says the pageant was an important turning point in her life and has set her on the path to becoming everything she can be.
“There has never been better opportunities for women,” she says. “We’re defining our own reality and rising courageously to define our own space in the world. Winning the pageant was incredibly empowering for me and will propel my career forward for many years to come. My sincere wish is that one of this year’s contestants will be able to benefit from the experience in the same way that I have.”
As always, community involvement is an intrinsic part of the event and White Star will invite fans around the country to help choose the People’s Choice Award. Voting will open on 27 October – 27 November, giving everyone a chance to make their selection. To vote for your favourite contestant, simply say ‘hi’ on WhatsApp using the number 087 153 1007 or click through to the White Star online voting platform and include the unique number allocated to your pick. Fans can vote up to five times per unique cellphone number.