NWU alumna makes South Africa proud at the Miss Wheelchair World pageant

Issued by North West University
Johannesburg, Oct 13, 2017

Lebogang Monyatsi, an NWU alumna, made South Africa and NWU proud by being crowned the First Princess at the Miss Wheelchair World pageant that was held on 7 October 2017 in Warsaw in Poland. Aleksandra Chichikova from Belarus was chosen as the overall winner.

Monyatsi was the first South African woman in a wheelchair to be a runway model and the first to represent South Africa in the Miss World wheelchair. She has also represented South Africa in the field of Wheelchair Basketball.

Lebogang graduated from the NWU's campus in Mahikeng with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in psychology in 2014. She was born and raised in North West Province, in a small town called Vryburg.

A Polish organisation had held the first international edition of a beauty pageant for women in wheelchairs in an effort to change people's perceptions about people with disabilities. The event was organised by the Only One Foundation, which was founded by two disabled women seeking to break down barriers limiting disabled people. After four editions of Miss Poland Wheelchair, the pageant on Saturday marked an effort to go global.

Monyatsi's most noteworthy accomplishment was to challenge the status quo by becoming Africa's first ever runway model in a wheelchair. This achievement was a big part of her drive to work towards disability inclusion. Her hope is for every aspect of life to be accessible to people with disabilities. They aimed to change the image of women with disabilities, break barriers and show that being in a wheelchair was not a limitation.