Liv­ing life to make a dif­fer­ence

Beauty with a pur­pose hopes to use world stage to in­spire and em­power

Daily Dispatch - - News - ZI­ZONKE MAY [email protected]­soblack­

Madiba’s firm and pas­sion­ate be­lief in the power of ed­u­ca­tion is one of the driv­ing forces which has brought East Lon­don-born Thulisa Keyi to ful­fil one of her goals in the fi­nal leg of the Miss World 2018 pageant in Sanya, China on Satur­day.

Keyi, 26, was crowned Miss World SA at this year’s Miss South Africa cer­e­mony.

“This is my first time trav­el­ling out­side the coun­try and it’s been ab­so­lutely amaz­ing. I’ve grown so much as a per­son and I’ve learnt so much about my­self.

“I’ve al­ways been clear about my ca­reer path, but this plat­form has def­i­nitely strength­ened my net­work base.”

Keyi – who is 1.85m in height – is one of 130 Miss World con­tes­tants, and the un­wa­ver­ing sup­port from her mother, who has ac­com­pa­nied her to Sanya, has given her the much­needed con­fi­dence to thrive in all the chal­lenges build­ing up to the fi­nal.

Keyi se­cured her Miss World Top 30 spot af­ter she won the view­ers’ hearts dur­ing the head-to-head chal­lenge, where she faced Venezuela, Sierra Leone, Fin­land, Wales and Latvia.

She spoke about the lessons of the im­por­tance of ed­u­ca­tion shared by for­mer pres­i­dent and el­der states­man Nel­son Man­dela.

“It is through ed­u­ca­tion that the daugh­ter of a peas­ant can be­come a doc­tor... or the pres­i­dent of a great na­tion,” she said.

Talk­ing about what drives her to want to ex­cel in ev­ery­thing she does, Keyi said her par­ents taught her to never limit her­self be­cause of her cir­cum­stances. Since her fa­ther died when she was 17, she has re­lied on her mother as a pil­lar of strength.

In the same year she made the de­ci­sion to over­come her grief and ma­tric­u­lated with dis­tinc­tions, be­ing of­fered nu­mer­ous schol­ar­ships to study fur­ther.

“I had a very sim­ple up­bring­ing and have al­ways been aca­dem­i­cally strong. I pushed my­self through very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions. I grad­u­ated from UCT with a BCom Ac­count­ing and PGDA [post­grad­u­ate diploma in ac­count­ing] [and] I’m cur­rently com­plet­ing my ar­ti­cles with one of the top four au­dit firms in the coun­try.

“While study­ing at UCT, I was a pro­fes­sional part-time model, but I stopped in 2016 when I started my ar­ti­cles.

“When I de­cided to en­ter Miss SA, I had sought to en­cour­age the eco­nomic par­tic­i­pa­tion of women and youth, and use ed­u­ca­tion to in­spire them to chase their dreams and pri­ori­tise ex­cel­lence.

“I knew that Miss SA would give me a plat­form to have a voice, al­low me to share my story and in­spire South Africans. Miss World [on the other hand] would al­low me to do the same on a global scale,” said Keyi.

Speak­ing of what she be­lieved the true, fun­da­men­tal na­ture of a Miss World is, she said: “The essence lies in beauty with a pur­pose. Hav­ing the pas­sion to serve and make a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence in the lives of peo­ple all around the world. To do this, one needs to be kind and com­pas­sion­ate.”

The pageant will be broad­cast live on SABC3 (DStv chan­nel 193) from 1pm to 3pm on Satur­day from Sanya City Arena where Keyi will com­pete with 29 other coun­tries in the race to be crowned the 68th Miss World 2018.

Pic­ture: MASI LOSI

BEST FOOT FOR­WARD: Thulisa Keyi from Mdantsane when she was crowned Miss World South Africa dur­ing the Miss SA pageant at Sun Arena in Pre­to­ria in May.

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