Miss World South Africa says beauty pageant are also a platform for advocacy, not just winning

Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego. Picture: Supplied

Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 7, 2024


Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego, who is one of over 100 women from around the globe vying for the Miss World title in India, says beauty pageants are not just about winning, but also a platform for advocacy, nurturing creativity and possible collaboration.

“It’s a journey that enlightens us about the world, nurtures creativity, expands networks, gives rise to possibilities of collaboration and, most significantly, cultivates the ability to acknowledge and embrace our intrinsic worth,” said Mashego.

“It serves as a poignant reminder of our potential, highlighting that courage and fear are complementary facets, and how we navigate them shapes the impact we witness and the legacy we create,” she says.

Dr Mashego says competing on the Miss World stage was the fulfilment of a lifelong odyssey, pursuing her ambitions and aspirations.

“This pivotal moment not only symbolises the pursuit of my individual dreams but also stands as a beacon of hope for the aspirations of countless young individuals within my sphere of influence and throughout South Africa,” said Mashego.

For the past three weeks, she has been in India and she says her perceptions on pageantry have shifted and have been refined.

A central takeaway has been the recognition that pageantry serves multifaceted purposes, unveiling boundless horizons.

Established in 1951, Miss World stands as the longest-running global pageant. In 1971, it pioneered the “Beauty with a Purpose” initiative, dedicated to raising funds for organisations that champion disadvantaged individuals and communities, including those living with disabilities and various other deserving causes.

Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego. Picture: Supplied

Many have questioned the motives behind entering contests or pageants, wondering what drives individuals to participate.

“For me, championing a cause beyond my own goals, lies at the heart of it all. The ability and desire to passionately advocate for a cause I strongly believe in, utilising influential and widespread platforms such as pageantry is a powerful tool and means to spread awareness and ignite change for a cause close to the heart,” says Mashego.

Empowering the next generation of young women is what she stands for as her advocacy platform for the 71st Miss World pageant.

“I aim to bring attention to the pivotal role that mentoring plays in shaping and developing the potential of future leaders. By highlighting the significance of mentoring, I seek to emphasise the transformative impact it can have on individuals as they navigate their journey towards leadership roles.”

“Mentorship not only provides guidance and support but also fosters personal and professional growth, empowering individuals to realise their full potential and make meaningful contributions to their communities and the world at large” she continues.

In addition to her love for fashion, beauty, and glamour, her final year at university ignited a profound passion for humanitarian endeavours within her.

It was during this time that she felt compelled to give back to her community.

“Establishing the Young Leaders Network (YLN), my non-profit organisation, became my vehicle for building a network of young leaders and community builders across South Africa. At the heart of YLN lies the belief in the transformative power of mentorship and guidance. Our programs aim to equip young leaders with critical thinking skills, resilience, and positivity to overcome life’s challenges and contribute meaningfully to their families, communities, and Africa as a whole.”

As an advocate for youth leadership, she is dedicated to empowering young people to become agents of change in their communities and beyond.

The absence of mentorship and positive role models has inspired her to make the Young Leaders Network her “Beauty with a Purpose” focus at the Miss World.

“The trajectory of South Africa rests upon the optimism, drive, and determination of its youth.

Together, we possess the power to forge a path toward a future where the aspirations of South Africa’s young generation are not merely dreams, but achievable realities,” she adds.

“The Young Leaders Network (YLN), my Beauty with a Purpose project, serves as a testament to the notion that winning a pageant transcends mere titles or crowns.”

“It embodies a transformative journey that nurtures personal growth, provides platforms for advocacy and education, and enables me to effect positive change within communities, both locally and globally,” she says.