Durban - The Gauteng IFP Youth Brigade is hoping to receive a blessing from the founder and president emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, to host a beauty pageant in his honour this month.
Buthelezi received a letter two weeks ago informing him of the pageant and requesting his approval, and saying his presence at the event “would be a dream come true” for the organisers.
Although the finale was scheduled for Friday at the Soweto Theatre, the event had to be postponed due to flash floods that severely damaged the venue. Over the past week Gauteng has experienced torrential rain which resulted in many areas being flooded.
Families have been left homeless, while road accidents and infrastructure damage increased. Councillor Dalsy Manganyi, Gauteng IFP Youth Brigade chairperson, told the Sunday Tribune that this would be the second time they would be hosting the competition.
The first was held in 2020, and this year was another opportunity to develop and mentor young women. She said for now the competition was limited to Gauteng, but plans were in place to extend it nationally.
“When the current executive was elected, the goal was to change the perception that people have of the IFP in Gauteng,” Manganyi said.
“The president emeritus has played a huge role in the country’s politics, therefore, as the youth brigade we have the responsibility to ensure that everyone understands and appreciates his importance.” Manganyi said the participants were carefully selected.
They were women aged between 17 and 25 who had never occupied any political positions, and were not affiliated with any political party. This was verified through background checks conducted in the early stages of the competition.
The Soweto Theatre was chosen as this year’s venue because of its history linked to Buthelezi. During the Soweto uprising in 1976, he addressed the crowds outside the venue calling for peace.
“During an hour of crisis, he made an appeal to protesters to desist from burning infrastructure, schools and called for calm,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know that he is a man of peace and harmony.
It is then our responsibility as the youth to go back to the archives and to share about what happened before 1996, before conflicts between the ANC and IFP, and the deadly hostel attacks during apartheid-era South Africa.”
Manganyi said the pageant was also a means to preserve and sustain Buthelezi’s legacy, and that once the young women learned more about the party, in most cases they opted to become members.
During the competition, contestants are offered a coach and they participate in youth programmes.
Winners receive cash prizes and an opportunity to become brand ambassadors. “Young women are not given the opportunity to play out of their skin, so we groom them to realise their potential. We are not looking for cover page perfection, but for inner beauty with brains.”