Soweto-linked woman eyes Miss USA title


The potential future Miss USA is staying in Diepkloof, Soweto.

ON A MISSION: A potential Miss USA is visiting her grandparents in Diepkloof, Soweto. Nana Meriwether, or Miss Maryland 2012, is in southern Africa for philanthropic work.Picture:Dumisani Dube. Credit: Dumisani Dube

She is not on her first trip to the country, nor is she staying in a guesthouse – she is visiting her Soweto-resident grandparents.

Nana Meriwether, or Miss Maryland 2012 as she is also known, is a true African-American.

The high-achieving young woman has a Soweto-born mother and an American father.

As well as being a beauty pageant winner, she is a political science graduate; had a professional volleyball career in Puerto Rico; co-started a humanitarian organisation, the Meriwether Foundation, in conjunction with her parents; and plans to attend medical school.

The foundation runs a project in Mpumalanga called the Meriwether Resource Centre.

It includes an HIV/Aids support group and early childhood development and feeding programmes.

The centre also does testing and provides health services while supporting vulnerable children

Nana and her mother, Nomvimbi Meriwether, are going to visit the centre nd kick-start the new year by getting their hands dirty themselves.

“People see me coming and suddenly the clinic fills up,” laughs Nomvimbi, who visits the project regularly.

The mother-daughter team will also be staffing and finalising work on a clinic they built in Zimbabwe, where they plan to expand the early childhood development programme.

They will end their visit to southern Africa in Zambia.

That’s the next place where they will respond to the need for a clinic.

They have been communicating with role-players from a particular village in the hope of starting a clinic there.

The foundation has been training medical practitioners and plans to open the clinic as soon as it has funds.