Six East London women in running for Mrs SA

Six women from in and about East London have been selected as semi-finalists in the 2020 edition of the Tammy Taylor Mrs SA pageant.

Yolanda Lefutso, Siwaphiwe Sonyabashe, Jo Jackson, Zikhona Ngxata, Marion Marillier and Nomandla Dlakavu are among the 100 married women from across SA who will be vying for one of the top 50 spots in the finals.

The Tammy Taylor Mrs SA pageant has gained the reputation of a women-empowerment programme for SA women between the ages of 25 and 50.

It is not a beauty pageant in the traditional sense of the word, but rather promotes women who are making a difference in the world.

Unlike in previous years, the finalists will be announced on Women’s Day on August 9 via online platforms due to travel restrictions and lockdown regulations.

The official crowning will only take place in 2021, but East London’s six semi-finalists are as excited as ever for the journey ahead.

Jackson, a mother of four, dance teacher and studio owner, said she had entered the pageant to challenge herself.

“It’s been amazing, I have loved every minute.

“The opportunities and platform it has given me are remarkable.

“I have found myself again and I have learnt you are never too old to follow your dreams and become a voice of change,” said Jackson, 43.

Nurse Sonyabashe, who is from Tsomo, said: “I have never entered any beauty pageant in my life, this is my first time.

“The experience is overwhelming but exciting and interesting.

“It is a learning platform to discover your strengths and weaknesses,” said Sonyabashe, who is also a mother of two.

Lefutso, 35, said should she make it to the finals and win the title, she hoped to become an ambassador for children with learning disabilities.

“My journey so far in the competition has opened up my worldview about women empowerment and sisterhood.

“I’m inspired by what I have seen and want to do more to have impact in my community.

“The title would enable me to be an ambassador for all children who require access to special needs schools in SA,” said Lefutso.

Mother-of-three Marillier, who is in her final year of study working towards a degree in organisational psychology, agreed that the experience had been rewarding.

“I have made invaluable connections through becoming a semi-finalist.

“The calibre of strong, remarkable women in SA who truly want to see other women thrive and succeed in life has blown my mind,” said Marillier.

“I want to open a safe house where women can come to recover from the rough patches in their lives.

“I also want to focus on caring for abandoned or abused children during a time of transition and beyond,” Marillier said.

Ngxata, who is the CEO of NPO Beauty with a Purpose, said the journey was very meaningful to her.

“The most rewarding thing is what this journey means to me, my NPO and the work I do in the Eastern Cape.

“Winning the crown will mean expanding the empowerment programmes nationally,” said Ngxata, 32, whose NPO aims to empower young women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds through pageants and workshops.

Auditor and mother of one Nomandla Dlakavu, 31 said: “On this journey I have definitely learnt to embrace all the best qualities I have as a woman.

“I am capable of so much more and all my dreams and wishes are valid and can come true.”

MadeleineC@dispatch.co.za


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