Factory workers ready to blossom at Miss Spring Queen pageant

2015-11-13 13:30
Zubeida Beyers in her glamorous gown. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Zubeida Beyers in her glamorous gown. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - For most of the year, Zubeida Beyers sits behind a sewing machine at the factory where she works, meticulously creating garments sold in top retailers across the country.

“But on Saturday night, I will be the one in the stunning dress with the lights on me. It’s going to be my night!” she gushes.

Beyers, a mother of two from Bonteheuwel, is one of 64 finalists vying for the title of Miss Spring Queen, the annual pageant hosted by the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event, which features workers in the clothing, textile and leather sectors proudly showing off locally created designs.

'Like taking part in Miss World'

Beyers, who is taking part for the second time, said she is back because her first experience “felt like taking part in Miss World”.

“When my colleagues saw me last year, they didn’t even recognise me,” she recalled. “They are so used to seeing me in an overall and a doekie [scarf] that when I came out in all my glory, nobody knew who I was!”

After making it to the top 20 last year, Beyers has her eye firmly focused on taking the dazzling, much coveted Miss Spring Queen crown.

“And my husband and kids – my biggest fans – will as always be cheering me on. I am so excited – my dress is a showstopper. Ek wag nou net om op daai ramp te loop! [Now I am just waiting to hit the ramp!]”

Four decades of keeping jobs in fashion

The pageant gives a face to those behind the locally produced garments which fill the racks of the country’s retailers, explained Miss Spring Queen 2014, Emmerencia Jones, 41, from Manenberg.

“Working in a factory is not a very glamorous job,” she admitted. “It’s hard work with long hours. But for that one night, we are supermodels. And there is no better feeling in the world.”

There is more to the pageant than factory workers dressing up, she continued. ”All the clothing we model is local. It is important that this is promoted, because if clothing is manufactured here, it leads to more jobs in our communities.”

Being crowned is a memory she will cherish for the rest of her life, Jones said. ”I was so shocked – I can honestly say I never expected it.

“All I remember is seeing my husband in the crowd, dancing and singing and laughing that his wife had won.”

And at 40, Jones beat women half her age to the crown. “I always said you’re only as old as you feel,” she laughed.

Flowers of the future

More than 30 years after her mother won the Miss Spring Queen Pageant, Zoe Hendricks of Grassy Park is also ready to put her best foot forward.

She is one of 10 girls whose parents work in the industry who will take part in the inaugural Junior Spring Queen Pageant. “They say we are the flowers of the future,” she said proudly.

Zoe looked all dolled up. (Supplied to News24)

The 14-year-old is eager to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

“She has been coaching me at home and giving me tips on how to do my best,” Hendricks said.

“My mommy is very proud of winning the title all those years ago. She has an album filled with photos of that time. Her eyes light up when she pages through it.

“But now I want to add my photo to her album.”

The pageant takes place at the Athlone Stadium on Saturday November 14. Tickets cost R30.

Read more on:    cape town  |  good news

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