Miss Teen World South Africa finalist Keleabetswe wants ama2000 to do better

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Keleabetswe ‘Ziny’ Dingoko says for her, beauty pageants are about motivating others.
Keleabetswe ‘Ziny’ Dingoko says for her, beauty pageants are about motivating others.

She is a finalist for Miss Teen World South Africa Finalist 2022 and Miss Teen International South Africa Finalist 2022.

Her main message? Preaching self-love and self-worth before anything to her peers. 

Keleabetswe ‘Ziny’ Dingoko (18) says her peers can do better in society.

“We are living in dangerous times where young people are dealing with depression, alcoholism, drugs and are lost. They are looking up to the wrong role models and end up in life-threatening situations,” she tells Drum.

While many beauty pageants promote vanity, Keleabetswe says she is an activist for self-love.

“It all starts with self,” she says.

“Once your confidence is boosted, you can conquer anything. I joined beauty pageants to make a change among young people, not because I felt I was the prettiest teenager. I want my peers to do better and be better adults,” she says.

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Born in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, at 18 years old, she may seem like she knows nothing about the real hardships of life, but Keleabetswe has dealt with issues of low self-esteem and depression.

“It took me a lot to be able to speak up about issues that affected me. I have dealt with issues of mental health,” she says.

“I would undermine myself, my capabilities, and live in doubt of whether I am good enough. I would do well at school and had everything I wanted but I would still doubt myself and try hard to fit in and in the end, I would self-distrust,” she says.

She started identifying the issues that were pulling her back and using her faith to guide her.

"It took me my early teen years to realise and work on my self-worth and self-love and I am now at a place where I am confident and self-esteem.”

She's been supporting friends who have dealt with depression, low self-esteem, divorcing parents, and issues related to adolescence and wants to do the same for other young people across the world.

“I wanted to encourage and spread the message that you are worth more. Many young people struggle with depression and anxiety and the aim is to spread a message of love and acceptance,” she says.

Keleabetswe is involved in community building projects involving the youth in Kempton Park dealing with issues faced by adolescents.

“It really starts with one person at a time and helping others means helping myself.”

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Keleabetswe started modelling when she was two and entered her first beauty pageants at four-years old. She has since entered a number of contests and won a number of them. But what she has learned throughout the years is that beauty pageants are about motivating others before beauty.

“Beauty starts within,” she says.

“It’s all about what you feel inside, how you perceive yourself first before moving onto walking on the runway.”

She wants to use her voice in promoting positivity and motivating young people.

The avid reader says she inspired by authors such as Maya Angelou and Jennifer Houston. 

“I want to encourage young girls to love themselves and for young boys to express themselves more and break the stigmas of ‘men don’t cry’ that has set our parents back for many years and we need to break the stigma.”

To vote for Keleabetswe, SMS WSAP KELEABETSWE to 47439. Each SMS costs R3.00. Free SMSs do not apply.

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