The Top 16 Finalists of the Miss South Africa pageant 2019, in association with The LFP Group, recently sat down to share their thoughts on the importance of having role models in South Africa. The LFP Group is passionate about changing the lives of young South Africans. “We feel that true transformation cannot happen without the presence of strong role models, for guidance and inspiration,” said Nthabiseng Phoshoko, spokesperson for the LFP Group. Finalist Noluthando Bennett (24, Krugersdorp) agreed saying “we need strong role models who will motivate young people to take the road less travelled rather than looking for shortcuts to success.”
Having a role model gives you the motivation to “be better and have something to aspire to,” said Chuma Matsaluka (21, Nyanga) which is particularly important in situations where young people are economically barred from some opportunities, like the situation described by finalist Nompumelelo Maduna (24, Soweto). “I wouldn’t be a Miss South Africa finalist without the role models in my life. I made it out of a situation where I didn’t have many opportunities because of those individuals, who showed me that I have the potential for greatness.”
The LFP Group was born out of a desire to transform the B-BBEE Landscape of South Africa and to empower the lives that were most in need of it, the country’s young people. Unfortunately, South Africa is plagued by negative news stories, which has led to “youth feeling despondent about the state of the nation,” says Errin Brits (22, Randpark Ridge). Keabetswe Kanyane (25, Pretoria) feels that South Africa is not lacking in positive role models with the power to inspire the youth, but rather that we’ve “fallen into a trap where we focus on the more negative aspects of the news, rather than the positive changes that citizens are making each day.” Loren Leigh Jenneker (24, Centurion) agreed that the country is not lacking good role models, they’re “just not as glorified as the country’s glamorous celebrity influences. To change this perception of who a role model should be we need to place more emphasis on people with good moral standing, people who’ve worked really hard to be where they are today.”
So what makes for a good role model? According to Danielle Wallace (26, Umhlanga), it’s simple: “you don’t need to be famous or have a massive platform to be a good role model- just try to be a good example in your day-to-day life.” This sentiment is echoed by Sasha-Lee Olivier (26, Alberton) who thinks that “if everyone just took it upon themselves to be the best version of themselves, it would encourage others to do the same.” When it comes to what a role model should like, finalists Xia Narain (23, Chatsworth) and Kgothatso Dithebe (24, Centurion) emphasise that South Africa’s role models need to reflect the country’s diversity both in terms of cultural heritage and physical appearance, as “there are so many different types of beauty.” Ultimately, Lisa Stoffela (26, Margate) sums it up best, describing “a role model as someone who is impactful and worth imitating. If you surround yourself with good role models you’re more likely to become an effective role model for others.”
One of the reasons the LFP Group chose to sponsor this year’s pageant is because they see Miss South Africa as the ultimate role model. She is young, she is dynamic and she has big dreams for this country. The youngest finalist, Zanele Phakati (20, Soweto) is mindful that Miss SA is “the biggest platform in the country to directly reach and inspire young girls like her.” And although South Africa has been a country of many historical role models like Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko, “we are still in need of young people who are eager to take on the world and rock it,” says Beulah Baduza (23, Hatfield). The next generation of role models needs to be relatable to the current South African climate. “Fortunately,” says Sibabalwe Gcilitshana (24, Nqamakwe, Eastern Cape) “this years’ Top 16 finalists are an accurate reflection of the contemporary South African woman.”It would be amazing if just one person could look at me and say that ‘when she was Miss South Africa she inspired me so much because when I looked at her I saw parts of me. She represented me.’”- finalist Zozibini Tunzi (25, Tsolo, Eastern Cape)
LFP Group, like finalist Eloïse van der Westhuizen (24, Panorama) believes that “if you work hard, if you’re passionate about what you do, the world is your oyster and the future is yours to create.” Those who are interested in joining the conversation between The LFP Group and Miss South Africa 2019 about what makes a role-model, can visit @lfpgroup on Instagram or Facebook for the chance to win a VIP Miss South Africa Experience, just by sharing their role model story!
The prestigious event will take place in Menlyn Pretoria, Times Square on Women’s day, 9th August. It will air on Mnet and channel 161 on Mzansi Magic. Bonang Matheba will be the host.
This content was supplied by Tinashe Venge