Miss Pre-teen Universe South Africa encourages young girls to believe in themselves

Manqoba Vilakazi Miss Pre-Teen Universe South Africa 2023. Photograph: Supplied.

Manqoba Vilakazi Miss Pre-Teen Universe South Africa 2023. Photograph: Supplied.

Published Mar 25, 2023


Durban - Kimberley-born sisters Unamandla Vilakazi, 14, was crowned Miss Teen Mundial SA 2023 and Manqoba Vilakazi, 12, won the Miss Pre-teen Universe South Africa, a first of its kind in this category, at the Miss Teen Universe South Africa national pageant recently held at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino and Entertainment Kingdom in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

Vilakazi said that she was humbled by the win and taking part in the pageant was an amazing experience.

“I am happy that with this title I am able to bring more awareness to my advocacy of education. I am super proud that I got this title and this crown and proud to say that I will use it to impact others and make a difference in their lives,” she said.

The Grade 9 pupil who is the older sister of Manqoba said she advocated for education.

She said that the pageant had groomed her into becoming a better person as she had now learned how to behave, to share and how to make a difference in the lives of others.

She said that as she grows, she sees herself continuing with the modelling journey, while also pursuing a career as a neurosurgeon.

“For me holding this title means that I can inspire other young girls. I want to show them that they can achieve their dreams as long as they work hard at it and that they can be anything they want in life if they believe in themselves.

Unamandla Vilakazi Miss Teen Mundial SA 2023. Photograph: Supplied.

Manqoba, who is in Grade 7, said that she was ecstatic at winning.

She said that she was inspired to get into modelling by her mother, a former model herself.

Manqoba said that as part of her eligibility to compete, she began doing charity work, which she enjoyed.

“A lot of my charity work was based around autism. I considered it as an interesting thing to learn about and began researching more about it, especially since not many know what it is or how to treat people who suffer from it,” she said.

She said that her title came with a lot of responsibility.

“I am a brand ambassador now. I have to carry myself with pride and dignity. Having the crown means that I get to set an example out there for other young girls.

“It is also proof that nothing is impossible and that you can do anything if you apply your mind to it,” said Manqoba.

She said that she was looking forward to competing on a global stage and getting to represent the country in Colombia in the Miss Pre-Teen Universe competition.

The judging panel for the pageants were former Miss South Africa and Miss Supranational 2022 Lalela Mswane, actress and television personality Noni Mbete, Miss Heritage Global South Africa Zabelo Hlabisa and Billy Brown, the founder of Mr Mpumalanga.

The Director of the Miss Teen Universe South Africa Organisation Ntombi Gumede, said that she was happy about the success of the event.

She added that more than anything, the pageant was a girl empowerment programme.

“What we mainly advocate for is education and its importance and as such, contestants are encouraged to make means since they have got the platform to get things like stationery supplies, sanitary pads and school shoes to their peers who cannot afford these things. We encourage our girls to give back and be educated,” said Gumede.