For Mdantsane-born Zikhona Ngxata, who was crowned Second Princess at the 2021 Mrs South Africa, a love for pageantry began at an early age.
“I’ve taken part in pageants since I was in Grade 2,” she said.
Her first taste of success was also during primary school when she won First Princess at a school event.
“I saw pageants were not just about beauty, but also about beauty with brains. I saw how it took me away from the streets; how it taught me to be purpose-driven.”
The tragic death of Ngxata’s mother in 2002 gave new purpose to her pageantry work and she realised that she needed to give back to her community in the Eastern Cape.
She returned to the province in 2007 from Gauteng and the next year launched Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With a Purpose.
“Its main goal is empowerment and development of our youth,” Ngxata said.
“We addressed issues like teenage pregnancy, substance abuse and the cycle of poverty.”
Eventually, Ngxata decided that she needed to extend her outreach activities beyond her local community.
“After empowering girls in the Eastern Cape, I said to myself ‘Zikhona, sometimes you need to lead from the back and sometimes you need to lead from the front’.
“Me entering Mrs SA 2021 was me leading from the front, it was me showing that I wasn’t asking of others something that I didn’t have,” she said.
In addition to her work at Miss Eastern Cape Beauty With a Purpose, taking part in the Mrs SA pageant has allowed Ngxata to get involved with other NPOs like Women4Women and Inspirational Women, which in turn have allowed her to give back to the community that has supported her from the beginning.
“I’d like to thank my gold sponsors and silver sponsor, Ronnies Motors. I’d also like to thank my Eastern Cape community and my husband,” the princess said.