Cape Town - Contestants in the Miss Wheelchair South Africa are determined to be beacons of hope advocating for the inclusion and representation of women living with disabilities.
The Universal Accessibility Hub with the support of Artscape Theatre, is set to host Miss Wheelchair South Africa on December 2, with this year’s theme being Beauty has no Barriers.
Founding Member of the hub, Shama Nathoo, said that the pageant was the first of its kind.
“The crowning of the first Miss Wheelchair South Africa is crafted with the aim to change the perception, narrative, and image of disabled women in South Africa. With the principles of leaving no one behind, which is in line with the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Representing Gauteng, Catiana Signor, 27, said that she entered Miss Wheelchair South Africa because she wanted to inspire others like her, and show everyone that anything was possible.
“I believe by becoming Miss Wheelchair South Africa 2021, it will enable my voice to become even louder and provide me with a platform to share my story and support other people with any form of disability.”
“Society and social media have formed a perception that because we have a disability we are limited in what we can and can’t do. For those of you who are going through a similar story to mine and sometimes find the journey challenging, I see you, I am you.”
North-West contestant Maureen Mokgele said that she entered the competition because she saw it as an opportunity to inspire others.
“Campaigns such as Miss Wheelchair SA are important because they give people like me who are classified as disabled a chance to showcase our abilities.”
“It is important to have people living with disabilities in the entertainment industry because we are people. We have talent and we are creative and we have the capability of having a huge impact on the success of the industry.”
Mokgele said that disabled people have been marginalised and deprived of opportunities in industries which needed to change. She added that equality had to be exercised, not just preached and that giving person’s living with disabilities opportunities will demonstrate equality.
Tamelyn Bock said that she had always waited for a competition like Miss Wheelchair SA because it would serve as a platform to change society’s perceptions of women in wheelchairs, and disabilities.
“Representation is so important, I want young people living with disabilities to see that they are no different to their able bodied friends and that they can achieve goals without fear. Because they’d have seen someone in their circumstance achieve something big, they will feel comfortable to maintain the standard.”