Newly crowned Miss SA wants to change stigma against mental health
Johannesburg - Shudufhadzo Musida, 24, is a passionate mental health activist. On Saturday she was crowned Miss South Africa at a glamorous live event in Cape Town.
Hosted by actress Nomzamo Mbatha at the Table Bay Hotel, the affair was judged by Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, Anele Mdoda, former Miss SA Peggy-Sue Khumalo, actress and entrepreneur Leandie du Randt and actress Kim Engelbrecht. Musida beat Natasha Joubert and Thato Mosehle to the crown.
As she begins her reign, the first thing she wants to do is to change the stigma against mental health and the disregard towards gender-based violence.
“I am passionate about mental health awareness and the economic and educational empowerment of women and children – especially in disadvantaged communities. I truly believe that we need to work on the mind for any change to come about in this country.
“I plan to mobilise various stakeholders and the nation to bring about educational empowerment through the tackling … of poverty among young girls, work- shops that teach children about the importance of mental health, and mentorship programmes for young women so that they can be empowered to be agents of their own future.”
The Limpopo-born Wits University BA Honours student was a cut above the rest and a firm favourite from the beginning of the virtual search for a new ambassador for the country.
She was one of many women thrust into a new kind of spotlight because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is more important, now more than ever because of Covid19, to check in on mental health, especially in the education sector with children having to adapt to so many changes in their daily lives, and more so in disadvantaged communities where poverty has been exacerbated,” she said.
The international relations student is making it her goal to try to help the fight against poverty.
“I will continue the fight against food insecurity in rural communities because children can only be their best at school when their basic needs are met.”
She gets her strength from her grandmother, mother and aunt who were her ultimate cheerleaders.
“It took an entire village to get me here and I would like to thank all of you for being my village. I stand here today with immense pride and joy to be representing such a beautiful nation – one of the first Venda women, but certainly not the last, to become Miss SA.”
Musida will receive R1-million and a further R2m in sponsorships and prizes, including the use of a Sandton apartment and a Mercedes cabriolet for a year.