I'll nail Little Miss World pageant - Pretoria girl

Pretoria - An 11-year-old philanthropist from the city will represent South Africa in the Little Miss World pageant in Greece.

Reabetswe Mmekwa, a Grade 6 pupil from a Soshanguve school, is flying to the south-eastern European country on Saturday for the week-long pageant, which starts at the weekend and ends next Saturday.

Reabetswe Mmekwa, 11, founder of Ditsala Children's Shield and Projects, will represent SA in the Little Miss World International pageant in Greece, Europe, this weekend. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

"I'm excited; I'm not nervous at all. I know I'm going to nail it," the confident pre-teen said.

Her aim was to use the platform to raise awareness of her philanthropic efforts, she said.

"In 2013, I started Ditsala Children's Shield and Projects. I heard about a girl on radio who needed funding to go to Brazil. So I raised funds for her and that's how I started the project."

The project focuses on young girls and elderly women with the aim of restoring their dignity.

Among her initiatives has been praying for Nelson Mandela when he was in hospital in 2013 and raising R95 000 for upgrades at her school.

Last year, she also prayed against the xenophobic-related violence sweeping the country.

She said her love for modelling began at a young age where she used to model in her grandmother's house in Pankop, Mpumalanga.

She would wear her grandmother's high heels as well.

When she gained confidence in her modelling skills, she began entering pageants.

Last year she was crowned first princess at her school pageant.

In March, she entered the Mini Miss Earth pageant and was first princess. She followed that up with the Little Miss Continent, where she was crowned the queen.

This is what earned her a spot to represent South Africa in the Little Miss World pageant.

Her mother, Madison, said school was No 1 for her daughter. "It's not something that takes away from her youth. She has time for her books; education comes first," her mother said.

Reabetswe is head girl at her school - which her mother did not want to disclose for safety reasons - and participates in gymnastics and athletics. Other than her school activities, Reabetswe also wants to take her project to the rest of Africa.

However, pageants are still a long-term ambition for her. "I want to win Miss South Africa and Miss World in the future; Miss South Africa because this is my country and I want to represent it well, and Miss World because I think it's the biggest pageant in the world."