Miss Soweto wants to cre­ate a sis­ter­hood

The Star Early Edition - - METRO - si­phumelele.khu­[email protected] SI­PHUMELELE KHU­MALO

DE­SPITE out­grow­ing self-es­teem is­sues and be­ing bul­lied and vic­timised for her phys­i­cal stature from a young age, Nokukhanya Kunene over­came the re­marks of naysay­ers.

The 22-year-old was crowned Miss Soweto this past week­end and is ready to be the an­chor and hope in her im­me­di­ate com­mu­nity that many young girls des­per­ately yearn for.

“I want to tackle men­tal health and or­ches­trate sem­i­nars with young girls, par­tic­u­larly be­cause peo­ple go through de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety and don’t know what to do or who to turn to. I want to cre­ate a sis­ter­hood, in essence,” said Kunene.

She is com­plet­ing her de­gree in lin­guis­tics and so­ci­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg and said she was for­tu­nate that her course and her pas­sion were in­ter­twined be­cause both roles en­abled her to as­sist peo­ple from dif­fer­ent walks of life. Her role model du­ties be­gan at home, as she is the first-born daugh­ter to three younger girls.

“Be­ing a first-born comes with a lot of pres­sure but I gen­uinely en­joy it. I pass down all the les­sons I have learned to my younger sis­ters and they are my mo­ti­va­tion to al­ways do and be my best,” she said. When asked about the mod­el­ling in­dus­try, where weight and looks were im­por­tant, Kunene said beauty pageants were not about phys­i­cal ap­pear­ances but rather giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

She was al­ways teased about be­ing skinny and tall. “I out­grew my self-es­teem is­sues and fig­ured that this was the only body that I had. I need to ac­cept it so I can in­spire girls go­ing through the same thing,” she said.

Kunene walked away with a prize pack­age worth more than R350 000, in­clud­ing a R100 000 cash prize and an op­por­tu­nity to be the brand am­bas­sador for White Star. She plans to in­vest the prize in her stud­ies.

Miss Soweto 2018, Nokukhanya Kunene

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