‘No sin’ for this pastor to chase pageant crown
Preacher Portia Radebe will swap pulpit for pageant next week when she takes part in the Mrs South Africa finals.
The 36-year-old mother of five said not everyone in her congregation at the God Sanctuary Church in Rondebult, Ekurhuleni, had been supportive when she announced she had made it into the top 25 of the competition.
“With some it didn’t gel well at all . . . after I got a chance to explain, some of the members came around. There was an element of thinking that they may lose me, that I would be too busy and become this famous person.”
But she said most members of the church, which she co-pastors with her husband, Seth, were excited for her. “They see a model when they look at me,” she said.
Radebe said she had also had to deal with a backlash on social media.
When Mrs South Africa organisers announced the top 25 finalists on Facebook there were many congratulatory messages but also some criticism of Radebe from people saying it was “inappropriate” for a pastor’s wife to be in such a pageant.
“A guy reposted it on his wall and asked whether a pastor’s wife should dress like that. Then people started commenting on that. Other pastors’ wives actually defended me and then spoke about how pastors’ wives also have our own aspirations,” she said.
Despite having the full support of her husband and children, Radebe said she was “stressed” about modelling in a swimsuit.
“My only stress was around the swimsuit area, not because I’m not comfortable in my own skin but I knew it was going to raise certain issues with a lot of people, which it did.
“But for me it’s something I enjoyed doing. I’m not planning on being out there without my clothes but it was the state of the competition.”
Despite some of the negative feedback, Radebe said one pastor’s wife had thanked her for being brave enough to show everyone “it was not a sin” to follow her dreams.
The Mrs South Africa competition differs from other beauty pageants in that entrants must be married and between the ages of 25 and 49. The programme has a strong focus on empowerment.
Radebe said the competition was an opportunity for her to achieve her dreams, which she had put on hold to focus on the church and her family.
She is an event co-ordinator and image consultant, but she always felt there was more she could do.
Between preaching when her husband is out of town and singing in the church band, she also delivers the “word of encouragement” every Sunday.
Mrs South Africa 2017 will be held on Friday at Emperors Palace. The event will be broadcast at 6.30pm on November 19 on SABC 3.
Portia Radebe, one of 25 finalists in the Mrs South Africa pageant, says some of her congregants were not happy about her participation.