Miss SA finalist Chuma Matsaluka and TV personality Bonang Matheba. Picture: Vukani News

Cape Town - The crime ravaged township of Nyanga is pinning its hopes on Chuma Matsaluka who is one of the 16 contestants vying for the Miss South Africa title.

Chuma, 21, is third-year student in humanities, majoring in anthropology, industrial sociology and political studies at the University of Cape Town.

“I have always been interested in how society works and understanding others. What I am studying helps me to be a critical thinker while understanding the dynamics of the organisation of societies,” said Chuma.

Chuma said she always dreamed of winning the title and was inspired by former Miss SA, Basetsana Kumalo who won the crown in 1994.

“Since I was a little girl, I have always loved her. She’s a businesswoman and a philanthropist amongst many other things and she seems so graceful while being a superwoman, and that has inspired me a lot,” she said.

She counts her parents and grandmother as role models.

“All three of them have taught me that God is my everything, charity begins at home and that whatever challenges I come across in life should not stop me from breaking boundaries and that those challenges can only make me stronger,” she said.

If she wins the title, said Chuma, she wants to “touch lives and make significant changes where I can”.

“My love for people drives me to do my best in helping those in need and to make people realise that they can achieve anything they put their minds to. I want to pave the way for young people and show them that where you come from should not determine where you want to be in life,” she added.

Miss South Africa 2019 will be crowned on National Women’s Day, Friday August 9 – what does that mean to her?

“Being crowned on Women’s Day is very significant. It means that I will be carrying the baton for the thousands of women who marched in 1956 and fighting a number of significant issues that not only African women still face but many other women across the world too,” Chuma said.

Asked if beauty pageants were still relevant in 2019, she said: “Beauty pageants are still relevant because they help individuals by giving them opportunities to not only fulfil their ambitions but to assist them in serving their communities. It also helps contestants identify key values, helps them gain confidence and teaches discipline, while at the same time fostering their goals. Beauty is not about what you see on the outside, but it’s what is on the inside that matters more.”

While her role models include Bonang Matheba, Basetsana Kumalo and Nomzamo Mbatha, she would really like to meet, jazz singer Letta Mbulu in person.

“The work that they do and how they carry themselves while doing what they do makes me believe that I myself have so much more to offer. Mamu Letta’s music touched so many lives,” she added.

Her message to young girls and young women in South Africa is this: “To always strive to be the best version of themselves, not to be too hard on themselves, to never create boundaries for themselves, and to love and take care of themselves.”

Bonang Matheba will host this year’s pageant at the Sun Arena at Time Square, in Pretoria. It will be broadcast live on both M-Net and Mzansi Magic.

There is close to R3 million in prize money ad sponsorships for this year’s pageant, with the winner walking away with R1 million in cash and other prizes.

The runner-up takes home R250 000 in cash, and all 16 finalists will get R25 000.

Vukani News