Outgoing Miss Sundowns Kadija Makhanya reflects on difficult year
Pretoria - Outgoing Miss Sundowns Kadija Makhanya has opened up about reigning at a time when the country was in hard lockdown.
The country went into lockdown just two weeks after she won the crown at a glittering ceremony last year.
"There I was, enjoying my reign and thinking about and planning all the initiatives we wanted to conduct in the year, and then, boom, lockdown level 5 happened," she said.
"I must admit, just like everyone else, we were caught off-guard, and were searching for answers and alternative ways to carry out the duties that lay ahead," she said.
She said it had been a different reign as Miss Sundowns was a very hands-on role.
"However, I had to learn to carry on, and our voices were amplified in the virtual space. I felt defeated at first but soon learnt the importance of being resilient," she said.
She said travel was normally a huge part of the job, and she missed direct human interaction. However, as the lockdown continued, she realised her message didn't die, and travel did not necessarily make one a good ambassador. "I landed up going to so many communities virtually,” she said.
One of her highlights was being the host of an online round-table discussion, streamed live on the Tshwane University of Technology Facebook page, about diversity, tolerance and inclusion.
Another highlight was providing soccer boots to disadvantaged communities. "It was more than just the soccer boots. It was allowing someone a shot at their dream," she said.
She said her most important takeaways were ubuntu and helping communities. She said the Motsepe Foundation genuinely cared about assisting others, and that some of its initiatives were not in the media for people to see.
"There was a lot of genuine, selfless work done behind the scenes which, for me, showed that it was not all for the camera."
From Umlazi, the 24-year-old civil engineering student said her goal was to specialise in construction management and contribute to infrastructure development in South Africa and Africa.
“We live in a time where individuality is celebrated. Now is the time for women to embrace their strengths and uniqueness. We can do anything we want and be anything we wish to be,” she said.
“Despite the limited opportunities we've been given, we have proved our worth in society. Let us continue to stand up, be brave and courageous and assert ourselves in our purpose to create a better future for us as women.”
Entries for Miss Sundowns 2021 opened yesterday. The pageant began in 2010, and today it has become one of the most coveted titles in South Africa. Birthed from a desire to empower women through a platform usually dominated by men, Miss Mamelodi Sundowns is one of the football club's corporate social investment initiatives, and focuses on empowering women throughout the country.
Interested people are encouraged to visit the Mamelodi Sundowns social media pages and website.