A Walter Sisulu University local government finance student will jet off to sunny Brazil later this year to take part in a beauty pageant with a difference.
Xola Bokoloshe (18), who won the Indoni Cultural Miss South Africa pageant held in Durban last year, will go to the South American country this December to represent South Africa at the Cultural Miss World edition in the capital, Rio de Janeiro.
“I’m ecstatic about going to Brazil. I am looking forward to know about various cultures from other countries as it will be my first visit. I want to learn about how they live, how they do things and how their culture is different from mine so that I can share with them things about my culture” says Bokoloshe.
One of the key criteria of the pageant is for the participants to make a difference within their respective communities by initiating community-based programmes that address some of the critical issues confronting their people.
Having identified teenage pregnancy as a growing problem in her community, Bokoloshe addressed the issue head-on by enlisting young girls to participate in workshops which aimed to teach them about sex and the consequences of “babies having babies”.
“It is a gratifying for me to be involved in a positive programme which aims to help young people arm themselves with the tools that help confront these social ills. Teaching them to refrain from sex and how to conduct themselves as young women was central to my message,” says Bokoloshe.
Her words of wisdom and encouragement for the young women emanate from the teachings of the various Indoni camps she’s been attending since the competition’s inception.
The camps are held in different cities and towns around the Eastern Cape to promote cultural knowledge in young girls by teaching them traditional female etiquette and self-worth by retaining their virginity.
“It is important for me and other young girls to remain a virgin and not be part of the teenage pregnancy stereotype. Abstinence lessens the chances of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases,” says Bokoloshe.