Deaf and hard-of-hearing children participating in the Glitz & Glamour pageant will strut their stuff on Saturday 14 September at the Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg.
The event, hosted by Deaf Pageants SA, a non-profit organisation (NPO), aims to demonstrate the children’s talent, skill and confidence.
The NPO is owned by Linda van Schalkwyk, who is also deaf and understands the difficulties of the life of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Van Schalkwyk says the pageant is a direct result of the many requests received from the deaf community to hold pageants for children aged two to 19.
“The pageant is an important part of youth leadership development. It seeks to encourage our youth to become ambassadors for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community,” she said.
“It offers young deaf and hard-of-hearing children excellent opportunities to develop their public speaking skills, performing skills, community participation skills as well as self-confidence and poise,” Van Schalkwyk explained.
The pageant comprises five categories: Miss/Mr Deaf Cutie Pie South Africa (two to five years), Miss/Mr Deaf Petite South Africa (six to nine years), Miss/Mr Deaf Pre-teen South Africa (10 to 12 years), Miss/Mr Deaf Teen South Africa (13-15 years), and Miss/Mr Deaf Junior South Africa (16 to 19 years).
Participants, of which there are usually 12 to 20, hail from across the country.
Su-Ann Liebenberg, who won Miss Pre-teen 2018 (10 to 12 years), says that at first, she was nervous when walking on the runway. “But the competition was fun. I made friends and learnt that as deaf people we are also beautiful, and we can do what any other models do,” she says.
This year is the second time the competition is being held. The first pageant was held in Pretoria last year.
Van Schalkwyk says the NPO will look for different venues every year as the need arises and hope to hold it in other provinces as well in the future.
“Our mission is to stage a production of the highest calibre, featuring deaf and hard-of-hearing children, who are adaptable and flexible.
“We hope to become a vehicle to cross the communication gap between the deaf and hard-of-hearing and hearing communities,” van Schalkwyk says.
The pageant will start at 10:00. The entrance fee for contestants is R100 per child. Tickets to attend the event are R40 per adult and R10 per child (under 13), payable at the door.
Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Dominican School for the Deaf.