EC beauties in semifinal

Five community builders vying for Tammy Taylor Mrs SA crown

Five beautiful Eastern Cape women have been chosen as semifinalists in the Tammy Taylor Mrs South Africa pageant, and are wasting no time in using their talents to make a difference in their communities.

Jo Jackson, Yolanda Lefutso, Zikhona Ngxata, Marion Marillier and Siwaphiwe Sonyabashe aim to put the province on the map.

The GO! sat down for a question and answer session to get to know the semifinalists.

Jo Jackson. Picture: SUPPLIED

Jackson was crowned Mrs Eastern Cape 2019 and said the Mrs SA pageant was the next logical step.

“It [Mrs SA] has moved from just being a beauty pageant but also acts as a women’s empowerment movement,” she said.

Jackson is the founder and owner of Jo Jackson Dance Company, which has been running in the city for 18 years. She also works with Cyfa Dancers in Mdantsane, is the
founder of #dance4life and works closely with St Bernard’s Hospice.

“Should I win, I will use the platform to really expand the #dance4life campaign by helping ladies from underprivileged areas to become qualified dance instructors,” Jackson said.

Yolanda Lefutso. Picture: SUPPLIED

Lefutso, an administration officer at the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, said she seized the opportunity as the pageant highlighted woman empowerment and sisterhood.

“Through social accountability programmes at my work place, we are involved in community upliftment.

“We run different initiatives, for example educating people about foetal alcohol syndrome.

“We also lend a helping hand at impoverished creches and run sports programmes to keep the youth active,” she said.

Lefutso said the platform would enable her to create awareness of the need to support children with learning difficulties.

“The title would enable me to be an ambassador for all children who require access to special needs schools in SA.

“There are a few facilities in East London that cater for their needs, since some children fall through the cracks of the government system,” she said.

Marion Marillier. Picture: SUPPLIED

A final year full-time organisational psychology student and part-time business manager, Marion Marillier aims to bring awareness to the plight of those with mental illness should she win.

“I hope to bring awareness on the importance of proper mental health care.

“I hope to teach women from a young age that the moods or feelings of unworthiness which they may be feeling is not always their fault,” Marillier said.

Zikhona Ngxata. Picture: SUPPLIED

Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With a Purpose NPO founder Zikhona Ngxata said community-building came naturally to her.

“Winning this competition will afford me an opportunity to expand the work I’ve already
started, which is anchored in empowerment, leadership, skills development and moral regeneration,” she said.

Ngxata’s passion is for empowerment programmes geared for young girls and women, especially from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, through addressing social ills such as teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and illiteracy.

Siwaphiwe Sonyabashe. Picture: SUPPLIED

Tsomo-born and based professional nurse Siwaphiwe Sonyabashe said the pageant helped women to become better versions of themselves.

“Even if you are from the rural areas like me, that should not stop you from pursuing your own dreams.

“I’m hoping to be an inspiration and a person of reference in the process of building young women because I believe women are the future, and phase away the mentality of ’I cannot do this’,” she said.

Sonyabashe is involved in community upliftment through her church as a health and wellness convenor.

Pageant finalists are scheduled to be announced on June 26 in Gauteng.

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