Miss SA trio tough cook­ies

Sunday World - - Hola Mzansi - BATLILE PHALADI

THEY may have been con­sid­ered the awk­ward duck­lings of their youth but they have now – blos­somed into Miss SA hope­fuls. Fi­nal­ists Boipelo Mabe, Adè van Heerden and Zoz­ib­ini Tunzi are no or­di­nary girls. They be­lieve that as a re­sult of their back­ground they have what it takes to be crowned SA s fairest. ’ Mabe comes from one of Joburg s town­ships, Alexan­dra, ’ and is the daugh­ter of a taxi driver some­thing she was once em­bar­rassed – about. She says she felt the need to hide her fa­ther from her school mates. I at­tended San­dring­ham High School “in the sub­urbs. Most chil­dren at the school were from wealthy fam­i­lies, so when my fa­ther fetched me from the school with his ugly taxi I used to be so ‘ ’ em­bar­rassed. He had the looks of a typ­i­cal taxi driver and I was known as the daugh­ter of a taxi driver. That used to break my heart be­cause I wanted to be known as more than that, she says. ” Mabe says the school was so ex­pen­sive her par­ents could not even af­ford the fees. When the bill came, my par­ents had “noth­ing.” But she is grate­ful for her dad s sac­ri­fices. ’ I have al­ways been an am­bi­tious girl. But “when you come from Alex, peo­ple think your life be­longs in the town­ship and you can t go above the life of that town­ship. ’ I grew up know­ing that my par­ents did “not have much. I wanted to be some­thing and I had to work my­self out of the poverty,” she says. The 23-year-old is now a free­lance news reader at Soweto TV and an in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions masters stu­dent at Wits Univer­sity. Zoz­ib­ini Tunzi is from a vil­lage in the Tsolo area in the East­ern Cape. The coy beauty says she was en­cour­aged by her mom to start par­tic­i­pat­ing in pageants at the age of seven but never

– won any.

She says she has al­ways dreamed of be­ing Miss SA and her mom has al­ways been sup­port­ive of her dreams.

The pub­lic re­la­tions dropout from Cape Penin­sula Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy is pas­sion­ate about ed­u­ca­tion but she had to put her own on hold un­der tough fi­nan­cial cir­cum­stances . Ed­u­ca­tion is very “close to my heart, my fam­ily, so it was so heart-break­ing for me to drop out of school. It s been a tough

’ jour­ney for me. I was very frus­trated and hurt when the univer­sity said I couldn t

’ con­tinue due to my his­toric debt. Though I was fi­nan­cially ex­cluded from my stud­ies, I m

’ still very pas­sion­ate about get­ting ed­u­cated in fu­ture. The stu­dents are fight­ing for all those who face a bleak fu­ture. I hope some­thing pos­i­tive comes from this strug­gle, says Tunzi. ” The 23-year-old says she wants to be the voice of young women in SA. I don t be­lieve in giv­ing up and there are “’ so many women who give up only af­ter one storm. We need to push un­til we open doors that we want to en­ter,” she says. Van Heerden is a Cape Town med­i­cal doc­tor and lieu­tenant in the SA Na­tional De­fence Force. Orig­i­nally from Herolds Bay, also in the West­ern Cape, she says it s time for SA to have a strong ’ woman as Miss SA who can bring huge changes to this con­ti­nent. I want women to know that “they are ex­tremely pow­er­ful. They can do any­thing and we need to step up and lead,” says Van Heerden. The 25-year-old com­pleted her med­i­cal de­gree at Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity. The phys­i­cally fit and toned beauty says she wants to change per­cep­tions that women who take on male­dom­i­nated ca­reers are not fem­i­nine. I be­lieve a lot in “plan­ning. I m a big ’ plan­ner and firm be­liever of us­ing the small time we have in the day to be the best we can be and do the best things we want in life. Miss SA res­onates a lot “with who I am and grow­ing up to be. Be­cause be­ing a lieu­tenant in the mil­i­tary as well as a med­i­cal doc­tor has moulded me into a strong woman, I know that can make a huge dif­fer­ence in the coun­try ” says Van Heerden. Miss SA takes place in March next year at Sun City.

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