OR Tambo District medical student, Nomthandazo Shange, was crowned this year’s Miss Eastern Cape over the weekend.
The glitzy pageant final was held at The Venue@Hemingways in East London on Saturday evening.
The pageant, now in its fourth year, travels across the province each year to identify young women who embody beauty with a purpose.
A two-hour delay did not deter pageant fans, who came out in their numbers to support their favourite beauty queen hopefuls.
The top 12, who were selected in October, strutted it out in different outfits to woo the affection of the judges and audience alike, but it was Shange’s vision, community work, and solid confidence that saw her walk away with the crown.
Each finalist had to present their philanthropic work to the judges and the audience.
A fourth year medical student at Walter Sisulu University, Shange said she taught and promoted the importance of living healthy lives, among OR Tambo’s communities.
MEC for sports, recreation arts and culture, Pemmy Majodina, pledged her support for the beauty pageant.
“This is one programme that might take us far as a province in that it finds our unsung heroes,” said Majodina.
“It’s a competition that also boosts self-esteem and unearths confidence.”
Founder of the pageant, Zikhona Ngxata, said the purpose of the pageant wasn’t to highlight beauty but to use it to bring greater good to the community.
“This pageant is not based solely on looks but it is based on character, determination and a passion for community building,” said Ngxata.
On Friday afternoon, Ngxata launched the Divine Diamonds Academy, a sister programme of the pageant.
The academy is for young women who have been in the competition’s top 12 in previous years.
“The academy will speak to moral regeneration and character moulding,” said Ngxata.
“It’s not just for anyone, but for girls who are serious about living a life of purpose.”
Shange walked away with a R5000 cash prize, a car that will take her around on her duties, courtesy of Ronnie’s Motors, as well as sponsored clothing, shoes and sportswear for her year of reign.
She will also be the new face of the Eastern Cape Gambling Board.
Speaking to the Dispatch, she said: “Being Miss Eastern Cape means I have a platform to impact positively and empower the lives of many young people.
“I am truly ecstatic about not only winning, but being part of this programme because the skills and knowledge I have acquired and will continue to acquire are worth more than the crown,” she said.
Ngxata said she hoped that through the pageant and the academy, they would be able to reach out to more young women.
“Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With A Purpose is growing stronger each year.
“Women are facing common challenges everywhere, and we hope to live up to our mandate of empowering women everywhere.
“We would like to thank all our sponsors. Through them we are able to make the journey rewarding for these young women,” she added. — nonsindisoq@