Factory f loor Cape queens score
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.
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.