Johannesburg was introduced to a new queen this weekend as Paige Harvey was crowned Miss Soweto 2023 on the eve of her 20th birthday.
The 44th Miss Soweto finale took place at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani on Saturday, November 25.
The prestigious event was hosted by media personality Lerato Kganyago, who paid homage to her Soweto roots and Thabiso Makhubela at the pageant.
Winning the first and second runner-up were Lethaukuthula Ayanda Maseko and Nhlakanipho Amandla Mkongi, respectively.
Before handing over the crown, Miss Soweto 2022 Tsakane Sono expressed how grateful she is to have carried the title.
“What a previous and honour it has been to serve you, Soweto. Being Miss Soweto has changed my life in many ways that I never could’ve expected,” she said.
“Not only has it helped me become more confident in myself, either as a model or speaker, it has opened opportunities for me to collaborate with so many organisations that may be forgotten or unseen.”
Taking over from Sono was Eldorado Park’s Harvey.
The beauty queen told Sowetan Live that she wants to use her reign to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse, which she considers a pandemic in her community.
“For someone growing up in hardships and amidst drug abuse, winning means breaking free from those challenges,” she told the publication.
“It involves overcoming adversity, pursuing education, building a stable life and breaking the cycle of negative influences.”
The new Miss Soweto added that this victory represents resilience and personal growth.
“I believe this title could be used to highlight individuals who excel in the awareness of drug and alcohol abuse, youth development, mental health advocacy and community development,” Harvey said.
“I believe this could shift the focus beyond traditional beauty standards and place importance on the positive impact titleholders can make in specific areas of societal development.”
Meanwhile, former Miss Soweto Sono added that the pageant organisation as well as sponsor allowed her “to be an ambassador for one of the greatest and largest townships in our country.”
“It came with a huge weight on my shoulders but allowed me to sow and fly to high”.