Making a beautiful difference
Yolanda Bushwana-Mhlakela is making a difference in her community through beauty pageants
NOT a lot of people can devote their time and resources to helping others. But Yolanda Bushwana-Mhlakela, from Worcester, Cape Town, has dedicated her time and skills to empowering young people in her community. She uses beauty pageants to help young people find their purpose in life.
USING HER SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE
The 35-year-old mother of two says it gives her great pleasure to use her experience and skills to uplift her community, adding that it’s her way of showing people that you don’t have to be a celebrity or rich to change people’s lives.
“We look up to celebrities, forgetting the power we also have to be role models in our communities. There are many hard working young women who are pushing hard to break boundaries,” she says.
INSPIRATION BEHIND HELPING OTHERS
She says she felt like working to better herself and her family wasn’t enough.
“I embarked on a journey to help those around me with the little I have. A lack of recreational activities in my neighbourhood had me reflecting on my past and how it shaped the woman I am. The recreational activities that I took part in during my childhood taught me to believe in myself and build my confidence. So my husband and I thought of a way we can give back and that’s where the idea to host beauty pageants came about,” she says.
“We had our first pageant last year. People think beauty pageants only look at external beauty, but judges also look for the right attitude and confidence. But it’s not only about beauty pageants, we run community-based projects, which are self-funded. Some of the girls involved in the pageants are part-time workers, so we contribute the little we have to buy sanitary towels for disadvantaged high school learners. We also donate old clothes to charities and visit high schools in the area to motivate learners.”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Yolanda wants to bring about change in the lives of young people in her community.
“Apart from being a mother of two beautiful children, my biggest accomplishment and passion is starting my non-governmental organisation, The Pink Divas Foundation. Giving back to the community using my skills and knowledge is priceless. Through the organisation, I am working with girls aged between 18 and 27 to make a difference in their lives and the community.”
“I am proud of Pink Divas beauty pageant’s uniqueness as it embraces all shapes and sizes.”
Yolanda, who got married in 2013, has a lot on her plate, but she still makes time to give back to her community. She says you have to find a balance in order for everything to be in order.
“I want to be the best mother I can be and I am proud to say that I am doing a rather impressive job. Along with being a mother and running beauty pageants, I also work full-time at the Department of Correctional Services and I am studying towards an Honours in Psychology,” she says.
A few years ago, Yolanda opened a business that sells clothes for little girls. “I dress young girls from birth until the age of six. I have a supplier who designs and manufactures the clothing.”