Six Eastern Cape women have earned spots in the Miss Commonwealth finals.
And one of the women may well walk away with the sought-after title next month.
Aged between 20 and 26, from towns and villages all over the province, they have been busy with intensive social work in their respective communities ahead of the finals in Boksburg on December 9.
The pageant is described by the finalists as “a pageant with a cause” due to the contestants having to prove their abilities through community initiatives.
Miss Commonwealth SA director Ngawethu ka-Siphiwo said the pageant aimed to empower and guide young women.
“The Eastern Cape finalists stood out to the judges because they are driven, ambitious and doing great things in a province with so many challenges,” she said.
“They are all ambitious and want to exercise their gift of giving.”
Rhodes University information systems master’s student Odifentse Lehasa, 23, said after doing her research the competition had appealed to her.
“I wanted to enter a pageant with a cause. I knew that this was the pageant for me,” she said.
Lehasa’s community work involves teaching computer skills to youngsters from Grahamstown’s Fikizolo Primary School twice a week.
She is a finalist alongside Walter Sisulu University students Aphiwe Mqunyana, 26, Phumeza Qwabe, 22, Zizile Mthembu, 21, and Siwakhe Ndamase, 21.
University of Fort Hare student Azola Fono completes the list.
Fono, 20, a first-year law student, is making her way towards the Miss Commonwealth 2016 contest one orphaned child at a time. She said procuring supplies and donations for the Enkazimlweni Ncedanani Life Care Centre in East London had been a heartwarming experience.
However, she described the motivational speaking she does in her home town of Port St Johns as a roller-coaster of emotions. “I have noticed that many pupils in the Port St Johns area drop out of school after falling victim to teenage pregnancy or succumbing to substance abuse,” Fono said.
“It’s been very disappointing to watch them as many of them don’t realise that it does not have to end there.
“We are all capable of making something from our lives.”
If she wins the title, her dream is to uplift the values of young people.