Living life to make a difference
Beauty with a purpose hopes to use world stage to inspire and empower
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.
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.