Khayakazi Koto is from small town with big dreams for Miss Bachelorette
Pretoria - Miss Bachelorette South Africa finalist Khayakazi Koto was a shy girl who lacked confidence during her teenage years.
She doubted her beauty while growing up at Ezibeleni Township near Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.
However, the deputy director for radio at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation later challenged all the stereotypes and her own perception of herself.
This by entering the Miss uMhlobo Wenene FM beauty pageant in 2002 where she made it to the top five.
Little did Koto, 41, know that years later, she would be among the 11 women vying for the coveted prize of Miss Bachelorette South Africa at a gala event billed for next month at Polokwane in Limpopo.
“Growing up, I honestly was not big on beauty pageants purely because I lacked confidence and never saw myself as beautiful. I did however once enter Miss uMhlobo Wenene FM in 2002 which was way out of my comfort zone, but I made it to the top five,” said Koko.
Like many models, catwalking is not Koto’s first choice.
The University of Western Cape graduate, who obtained her BA degree in English and Social Sciences, describes herself as a rooted, mature woman from a small town with big dreams and a worldly outlook.
“I am the biggest supporter of women, thrive on being helpful, I am open to learning new lessons and enjoy challenging myself.”
Although she is not new in modelling, Koko says it’s the first time she will be competing in an event as big and glamorous as Miss Bachelorette SA, which she says is also fit for her purpose.
“Miss Bachelorette South Africa spoke to my passion of empowering the girl-child. For the first time there was a pageant where I was expected to be just myself,” she added.
Koko said being crowned as the next queen would also be a proud moment for her single mom, whom she credited for the strong young woman that she has turned out to be.
Like many children, Koto was raised by her grandmother who left her with fond memories of her upbringing.
“I’m a child of a single mother who was not necessarily a single parent as I was primarily raised by my maternal grandmother while my mother worked hard for me and my older sister. My sister would from time to time assume the role of a guardian so did my community.
“Life was beautiful at Ezibeleni. I look back at the fond memories and realise we were so lucky. Being able to play in the streets until sunset, going house to house on Christmas Day to ask for Christmas. The mother next door was no different to your mother, we were communally raised with so much love,” Koko said with pride.
The Miss Bachelorette SA competition is an annual event created in 2019 by former Miss SA finalist Refilwe Mogale.
The competition is meant for mature women between the ages of 25-50 who are unmarried, with or without children.