‘I NEARLY GOT MY­SELF A BLESSER’

SEC­OND PRINCESS

CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa@city­press.co.za

One of the favourites to win the Miss SA ti­tle last week­end was Boipelo Mabe (23), a master’s stu­dent at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand. The taxi driver’s daugh­ter, who hails from Alexan­dra in Gaut­eng, cap­ti­vated the coun­try with her an­swer to the judges’ ques­tion in the Top 5 round of con­tes­tants vy­ing for the crown. Asked about the great­est fear she had to over­come, she replied that it was the fear of in­ter­gen­er­a­tional poverty, which had af­flicted her fam­ily and which she had es­caped, thanks to her ed­u­ca­tion. Twit­ter erupted with a col­lec­tive “yes” to her an­swer and actress Rami Chuene tweeted: “Well done, Boipelo. Your an­swer with that gen­er­a­tional poverty re­minds us of the work still to be done. You rock!” The day be­fore the pageant, City Press asked Mabe, who is also a news­reader on Soweto TV, what the ti­tle would mean for her. “It is go­ing to be more than a dream come true to me, [it will be] a life change. It’s go­ing to im­pact my fam­ily, com­mu­nity and peo­ple who have been look­ing up to me,” she said. “It’s go­ing to be the kind of achieve­ment that has a rad­i­cal ef­fect that goes be­yond me and my per­sonal achieve­ment.” But it was not to be. The day af­ter, she said: “My eyes were on win­ning the ti­tle of Miss SA. I mean, go­ing through the jour­ney, one thing I learnt was to be true to my­self. I grew up in a typ­i­cal town­ship that is full of many things, but my par­ents made sure I had ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion.” Mabe’s path to her master’s de­gree in in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions has been paved with loans from the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme. “Luck­ily, I re­ceived a bur­sary for my hon­ours de­gree be­cause I had worked hard,” she said. “As for my master’s, I am still look­ing for spon­sors to help fund my tuition.” “Car­ry­ing on with life and univer­sity was not easy”, and she con­sid­ered “find­ing a blesser” – a rich, older boyfriend – to sur­vive. “But I had to be strong as a young woman at var­sity fac­ing pres­sures that young peo­ple face. I had to tell my­self that I could make it even dur­ing the hard times.” Her fa­ther is her great­est role model. “From him I have learnt the prin­ci­ples of hard work, stand­ing for what I be­lieve in and to be in­de­pen­dent,” she said. “I used to be em­bar­rassed by the fact that my dad was a taxi driver, but to­day I have grown to em­brace and cel­e­brate it. “It was his pres­ence, love and sup­port that mat­tered most to my growth and de­vel­op­ment as a young woman, not his job ti­tle.”

PHOTO: GARRETH BAR­CLAY

Miss SA run­ner-up Boipelo Mabe

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