INCUMBENT: Miss Soweto Nthabiseng Kgasi celebrated her 22nd birthday with children from three centres in Soweto at The Box Shop on Vilakazi Street, Orlando West at the weekend.
The search is on for the next Miss Soweto. 
Online entries for the pageant opened earlier this month, and if you fancy yourself as the next queen of the country’s biggest township and are between the ages of 18 and 24, then this one is for you.

Now in its 39th year, the beauty pageant has seen the likes of businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo and radio presenter Lerato Kganyago take home the title and go on to become thriving personalities in the media industry.

At the weekend, Miss Soweto Nthabiseng Kgasi celebrated her birthday at The Box Shop in Vilakazi Street, Orlando West.

She spent her Saturday with children from the three centres that she has been supporting throughout her reign.

“I’ve worked with all the centres before and have always been involved in initiatives where I would visit to donate products to them.”

Kgasi turned 22 on Saturday, and in the spirit of Mandela Month, she decided to give back to her community.

Kgasi said: “The children from the Kliptown Youth Program, Emndeni Drop-in Centre and Thembelenkosini Care Givers in Senaoane came to celebrate my birthday with me. I took the children from their environment, and the day was amazing. We had a number of sponsors and the children received toys, lunch and goodie bags.”

CARING HEART: Miss Soweto chose to spend her birthday with children from various Soweto centres in honour of Mandela month. Picture: Instagram

Kgasi, who is a third-year marketing student, said she was blessed to have a family and community who supported her.

“Most of the kids are from impoverished backgrounds. I wanted it to also be their day and let everyone celebrate with me. We started the day with activities and a show from Nathi scientists, had jumping castles and also had a dance-off and performances from Mofolo Melodies,” she added.

The Protea Glen beauty said her reign had been challenging, but she believed that with those challenges came much-needed experiences.

“It has been an amazing ride. The people I have met along the journey have been so helpful and I have made the reign a learning experience and something I will carry after the crown.”

Kgasi said she would continue with her monthly initiatives with the centres even after her reign and also planned to enter the Miss South Africa pageant.

For all the Miss Soweto hopefuls, she has some advice: “I first entered in 2015 and got placed as a runner-up. I want them to believe in themselves. They are capable of achieving anything that they put their mind to.

"A lot of the time, people tend to focus on external factors and lose who they are. Identify you and invest in you.”

The online entries can be submitted on the White Star Facebook page or at White- and close on August 7.

Once the top 20 have been selected, the finalists will be coached and taken through a training programme that will see them do rehearsals and public appearances, all the while being judged. The main event will be held on November 25 at the Soweto Theatre.