Miss Teen finalist the youngest showstopper

Maclear beauty Zukhanye Funani is the youngest finalist for this year’s Miss Eastern Cape Teen pageant.

 TAKING A STEP UP: Zukhanye Funani is the youngest finalist in the Miss Eastern Cape Teen pageant Picture: ALAN EASON
TAKING A STEP UP: Zukhanye Funani is the youngest finalist in the Miss Eastern Cape Teen pageant Picture: ALAN EASON

The 13-year-old is one of 12 teenagers selected for the “pageant with a purpose” taking place next month.

Other finalists are Qhawekazi Mlungu, 18, Uyathandwa Ndika, 16, Sikhona Kolele, 17, Siyolise Dalisile, 15, Zenande Cewuka, 16, Joleen Fathula, 16, Yonela Tsutsu, 18, Wendy Dlezi, 19, Ongezwa Mpambani, 19, Lukhona Magona, 17, and Thandiwe Jadezweni, 19.

The Maclear High School pupil said she did not expect to be selected among the top 12.

“I did not expect to be selected at all. The only reason I entered was for the experience. I wanted to know how it feels to enter a Miss Eastern Cape Teen competition.

“I’ve entered so many back home and I wanted to know what to expect – what happens at such shows,” she said.

Her love for modelling started from the age of five.

“I am always the youngest finalist but I don’t mind that because I am doing what I love,” she said, adding that she hoped to change the lives of other children in her community.

“We have been told that this pageant is not like any other and I like that.

“I like pageants that are community-driven initiatives and I like being a part of a bigger cause, it is not just about modelling but we are equipped with great skills to help us in our communities,” she said.

Zukhanye is also one of the finalists for Miss Petite Teen run by Pageants SA.

Pageant founder Zikhona Ngxata said they were happy with this year’s finalists for both Miss Teen and Miss Eastern Cape.

“The standard is getting better and we are reaching the entire province as we originally planned when we first started the pageant,” Ngxata said.

The top 12 finalists for Miss Eastern Cape are; Thozama Bango, 22, Zikhona Mkosana, 19, Nobenathi Newana, 21, Zintle Dingela, 21, Bongiwe Kavi, 23, Thandokazi Mfundisi, 22, Yolokazi Dana, 24, Thandanani Nongalo, 23, Ziyanda Nogula, 21, Anelisa Venge, 20, Siyamthanda Sibeko, 22, and Thando Jadezweni, 20.

Ngxata said when they started auditions for the show earlier this year they had more than 120 candidates from each district in the province.

“Our pageant is not just about smiling and walking but there is more to it, hence we call it ‘beauty with a purpose’. We equip the girls with skills that will help them bring change to their communities,” she said.

Ngxata said this year’s pageants’ theme is “back to my roots”. The crowning for Miss Eastern Cape and Miss Teen take place on December 11 at Hemingways. — poliswap@dispatch.co.za