A young Komani woman, Unathi Debese, is definitely living up to her name – she looks out for her peers.
Unathi is isiXhosa for ‘you are there for us’.
The 28-year-old Unifound woman and founder of Miss Buhle Bendalo Queenstown beauty pageant has taken it upon herself to bring change into the lives of women and girls by instilling confidence and encouraging self love.
“We are aware that females are faced with challenges such as teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence and all sorts of abuses, so Buhle Bendalo educates, coaches and guides them into making great decisions with regards to their lives,” Debese told The Rep earlier this week.
The “goal orientated girl” hails from Bede location but currently resides in Unifound in Komani. She started Buhle Bendalo in June as a project under her company Nutty Kasi Productions, a registered business.
“After seeing what females went into in our society, I took it upon myself to try and bring change into their lives by instilling confidence, loving themselves as they are and actually going out there to lead a great life for themselves and prosper.”
She also collects sanitary towels as part of giving and creating awareness in society, she added.
Thanks to sponsorship from CSP Academy, B.I.G Security, Bau instyle, Yolanda Mzinyati, Artist Engekho Famous, Beautiful Enlightenment, Buhle Bendalo was able to organise a successful beauty pageant to mark Heritage Day recently.
A number of young girls took part in the competition and walked away with wonderful prizes.
“Buhle Bendalo is very important to me because it creates interactions between sisters from different backgrounds to love and grow themselves, it also encourages these young ladies to become leaders and be independent at an early age as to be safe from human trafficking, prostitution and gender-based violence,” said Debese.
A firm believer in Vuk’uzenzele “at all cost”, Debese is also a director in a company called Komani Creatives Industry, also making a difference in different art forms around Komani; a poet and a fashion model. “My interests are creating change in the society through pageantry, live events and just confidence giving platforms. I am greatly inspired by the likes of my mother, [former Miss Universe] Zozibini Tunzi and [musician] Thandiswa Mazwayi.”
On the scourge of gender-based violence, Debese says: “No one male or female has a right to lay a hand on anyone, as soon as you realise you are being abused, report it and walk away from that situation, do not allow it to lead to death.”
She also has a message to all the young people out there: “The world is yours, get out there and make a life of yourself, the aim is just to start – be it a business, school, a hustle, any idea you have, just press the start button and forget all the fear and challenges you may face, it will be worth it at the end.”
For further details and sponsorship, Miss Buhle Bendalo Queenstown is available on Facebook: Miss Buhle Bendalo group and Buhle Bendalo page, and can be reached on Instagram @Buhle Bendalo and on 066-268 0307