Fac­tory f loor Cape queens score

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS -

THE snip­ping scis­sors and sewing ma­chines that churned out the gar­ments will be out of sight tonight when Cape Town’s fac­tory work­ers gather to crown their Spring Queen at their highly an­tic­i­pated an­nual beauty pageant. For the past four decades the Southern African Cloth­ing and Tex­tile Work­ers Union (Sactwu) has or­gan­ised the pageant. The event venue has shifted though, from the tra­di­tional Good Hope Cen­tre to Athlone Sta­dium for the first time.

A to­tal of 64 fi­nal­ists, each rep­re­sent­ing a dif­fer­ent fac­tory, will com­pete for the Spring Queen ti­tle in a com­pe­ti­tion that seeks to en­cour­age sup­port for the lo­cal cloth­ing in­dus­try.

Sactwu gen­eral sec­re­tary An­dre Kriel de­scribed the cam­paign as suc­cess­ful in a mar­ket that has been im­pacted neg­a­tively by cloth­ing im­ports.

Kriel said they had worked with the gov­ern­ment to push back and cre­ate jobs.

“We be­lieve deeply in the im­por­tance of pro­mot­ing and grow­ing our lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try. Lo­cal pro­duc­tion means more jobs.

“Na­tional gov­ern­ment has de­clared that all cloth­ing, tex­tile, footwear and leather prod­ucts bought by all spheres and de­part­ments of gov­ern­ment must be lo­cally man­u­fac­tured.

“The im­pact of it all is that af­ter many years of job losses our in­dus­try has sta­bilised.”

At fac­to­ries this week, work­ers have been fi­nal­is­ing dresses for con­tes­tants who have been re­hears­ing in­dus­tri­ously for their big night.

An in­au­gu­ral Ju­nior Spring Queen Pageant was in­tro­duced this year, with 10 girls aged 13 to 16 par­tic­i­pat­ing.

Tal­ented per­form­ers drawn from fac­to­ries are sched­uled to en­ter­tain an au­di­ence that usu­ally num­bers thou­sands of fac­tory work­ers, their fam­i­lies and friends.

Shiehaam Green, who does hand-sewing at a women’s cloth­ing fac­tory, will com­pete in the fi­nals for a third time. The Hanover Park sin­gle mother of three says she’s go­ing to have fun go­ing up against “girls much younger than me”.

“My old­est son is 21 and he can’t be­lieve that I’m do­ing this. His friends asked him if I’m his sis­ter when they saw my pic­tures from the last pageant on Face­book.

“I live alone with my chil­dren and this keeps me busy. It could not have come at a bet­ter time”.

Green said she had searched the in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion for her dress for the fi­nale. Fac­to­ries spon­sor the man­u­fac­ture of the main dress, but each par­tic­i­pant needs to cover re­lated ex­penses, such as hair and make-up.

Candice Caswell, a fac­tory clerk from Ma­nen­berg who is en­ter­ing for the first time, said this was where sup­port from co­work­ers was vi­tal.

“The fac­tory spon­sors the dress, but you have to get your own jew­ellery and make- up. The other girls help with fundrais­ing for the stuff we need.”

Caswell found af­ter start­ing her fac­tory job ear­lier this year the pageant was a way for her to meet new friends at work.

“When I started in this job I knew no­body. The pageant gave me con­fi­dence to speak to them (col­leagues). I met a few girls and we be­came friends.

“I’m get­ting a lot of sup­port from the peo­ple I work with, es­pe­cially my man­ager. They are all ex­cited for me. I’m hav­ing fun.”

As to what she’s most en­joyed about en­ter­ing the pageant, Caswell said it was the “steps that you learn, es­pe­cially the danc­ing se­quence”.

Alisha McNeil, a qual­ity con­troller from Mitchells Plain, is en­ter­ing the pageant for the sec­ond time.

As she rushed off to re­hearsals to “prac­tise how to walk and dance”, she said she was “su­per ex­cited”.

A heart­felt mo­ment dur­ing the last prepa­ra­tion week for packer Kerr Fa­colyn, from Bon­te­heuwel, was when her ma­chin­ist mother Pearl Fa­colyn of­fered her ad­vice.

Two decades ago Pearl en­tered the Spring Queen pageant. Mother and daugh­ter now work at the same fac­tory in Ob­ser­va­tory.

“She said I musn’t stop smil­ing, no mat­ter what hap­pens.

“I knew she also en­tered be­fore. That made me curious to see what it’s all about”.

Kerr was named Miss Per­son­al­ity in last year’s fi­nals and as she walksed through the fac­tory she spoke about what made her ner­vous about this year’s event.

“I’m ner­vous be­cause I want to make them (my co-work­ers) proud. I don’t want to dis­ap­point them. They worked hard to make my dress for the event. I want to give my best to thank them.

“I am very ex­cited. All of the peo­ple in my fac­tory are with me 100 per­cent. The sup­port from my com­pany is mo­ti­vat­ing me.”

In the end, she said, the event is meant for ev­ery­one to “come to­gether and just have fun”.

“It’s all about fac­tory work­ers and bosses try­ing to come to­gether. Usu­ally, it’s just work, work, work. Now you don’t have to worry about pro­duc­tion. It’s just a fun day.

“We are with each other more than we are with our fam­i­lies at home. To just cel­e­brate and be to­gether for some­thing other than work is nice,” Kerr said.

‘It’s all about fac­tory work­ers and boss try­ing

● Sactwu’s Spring Queen pageant will be held at Athlone Sta­dium to­day from 3pm. The day’s events in­clude a ju­nior pageant be­fore the main event.

PIC­TURE: SUP­PLIED

RUNWAY READY: Sixty-four fi­nal­ists rep­re­sent­ing fac­to­ries across Cape Town com­pete in tonight’s Spring Queen pageant for fac­tory work­ers at Athlone Sta­dium.

FACE­BOOK QUEEN: Shiehaam Green of Kazak used in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion.

REIGN OF THE PLAIN: Alisha McNiel of PJ Cees has en­tered for a sec­ond time.

FE­MALE FUNDIS: Candice Cask­igh of The Surgery gained con­fi­dence by en­ter­ing.

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