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The Rep - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­ture: SUPPLIED

Chantelle Pre­to­rius, a for­mer Hoërskool Hangk­lip pupil, is the new Miss Deaf SA.

FOR­MER Hangk­lip pupil Chantelle Pre­to­rius is the new Miss Deaf South Africa (MDSA).

Pre­to­rius was crowned at the State Theatre in Pre­to­ria on Satur­day.

The Rep re­ported (“Chantelle flies flag at pageant”, July 28) that the Univer­sity of the Free State grad­u­ate was set to rep­re­sent the Eastern Cape at the MDSA on Septem­ber 15.

“It is a great hon­our to be crowned as Miss Deaf SA. On en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion, I re­alised that I re­ally wanted the ti­tle as I be­lieve that I can make a dif­fer­ence in other peo­ple’s lives.”

She at­trib­uted her win to “be­ing her­self” through­out the pageant and said she was glad that the judges could see her en­thu­si­asm.

“I had to face my fear of pub­lic speak­ing – I never thought I had it in me to speak to the masses. I found it a bit chal­leng­ing to stand in front of a big crowd, but I en­joyed the pageant a lot.”

The pageant has been run­ning for 12 years with the vi­sion of in­spir­ing and giv­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to young deaf women in the coun­try.

Mzanzi Skills Vil­lage CEO Le­viena Smit said MDSA was one of its le­gacy pro­grammes.

“Over the past three years, the com­pe­ti­tion has ex­panded and has grown into a cause that en­joys multi-chan­nel me­dia at­ten­tion and as­sis­tance from a few suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tions,” Smit said.

The con­tes­tants were judged on their beauty, self-con­fi­dence, lead­er­ship and ta­lent.

“The le­gacy pro­gramme serves to am­plify the voice of the deaf in the form of an an­nual MDSA pageant which en­ables the fi­nal­ists to ex­pe­ri­ence a trans­for­ma­tional jour­ney through lead­er­ship, per­sonal and skills de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes,” Smit said.

Pre­to­rius said she pre­pared her­self phys­i­cally by get­ting into shape and by ap­proach­ing peo­ple who as­sisted her on her jour­ney.

“The com­pe­ti­tion was life-chang­ing for me. I learnt a lot about my­self and about my fel­low con­tes­tants. I would ad­vise any­one who wants to en­ter, to do so and just to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

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