Miss Teen Southern Africa contestant visits local school

MOVING TOGETHER: Last Friday Miss Teen Southern Africa finalist Somilasonke Mshumpela was at Van Coller Primary School in Mlungisi to donate sanitary towels to pupils. From left, Van Coller pupils Lisa Nomtshongwana, Achumile Mangaliso, along with Mshumpela, Zethembiso Ndamane and Eza Dondolo Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive says Queenstown Girls’ High School pupil, Somilasonke Mshumpela, a Miss Teen Southern Africa contestant.

Mshumpela was at Van Coller Primary School last week on a community outreach initiative where she handed out sanitary towels to pupils. The 17-year-old is a finalist in the inaugural Miss Teen Southern Africa pageant, a competition that aims to change the stigma around pageants.

The bright-eyed pupil says her aim is to empower women by breaking perceptions and barriers holding them back. “I want to be a voice for women and girls. They got through a lot of struggles in their everyday lives and this platform will help me be their voice.

“I want to change the idea society has about girls. As much as we can say it has moved forward, people still look down on us. I want to show that girls are capable of anything they put their minds to. I will make it my mission to empower them so they can reach for their dreams,” said Mshumpela.

She was accompanied by members of the Chris Hani municipality special programs unit (SPU) which donated a number of towels towards the outreach. SPU coordinator Avumile Mqanqeni said they got involved because the pageant was about uplifting and empowering the youth.

“We are proud to be part of the Miss Teen Southern Africa project and especially so since we have one of our very own as a finalist. It is our responsibility as the SPU to support any initiative that empowers young people,” said Mqanqeni.

REACHING OUT: Van Coller Primary School pupil, Achumile Mangaliso, receiving a sanitary pack from Ms Teen Southern Africa entrant, Somilasonke Mshumpela. Also in the picture is Van Coller principal Edward Valashiya in a brown jacket Picture: ZINTLE BOBELO

Van Coller principal Edward Valashiya said Mshumpela’s visit would inspire other young girls to dream big. “The school is so appreciative that she chose us out of the many places she could have visited. Sanitary towels are very important for hygiene. Some pupils miss schooling and even drop out because they cannot afford them. Mshumpela’s visit will also inspire our pupils to know they can become a Miss Teen Southern Africa, Miss South Africa and even Miss World. We wish her the best and hope she brings home the crown,” said Valashiya.