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Palesa Kheswa makes it to top 15

A beauty pageant is defined as a competition that judges its contestants on their physical beauty. However, over the past few years, these pageants have developed a different image.

The Miss South Africa competition is a leadership platform for ambitious young South African women. Through the pageant process, contestants receive world-renowned coaching and acquire advanced networking, business and life skills.

"When you've worked hard, and done well, and have walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."

"This is a quote by Michelle Obama, who also happens to be one of my role models," says 23-year-old Palesa Kheswa, who hails from Sasolburg.

Kheswa graduated with a BCom degree in Economics and Risk Management in 2019 and is currently studying towards an honour's degree in Economics.

"I entered the Miss South Africa competition because the Miss South Africa platform is bigger than the winner," she says. She also says it represents a community of women who are driven, diverse and selfless, and that is who she is.

Kheswa is no stranger to the pageant world. In 2017, she was crowned Miss North-West University, and she describes that as an experience that made a major contribution to the person she is now.

"Should I get chosen to be Miss South Africa, I would bring awareness of the social injustices that marginalised people face on a daily basis, especially if one takes into account that South Africa is a country that has many social issues that still need to be dealt with," she adds. "Every gender and ethnic group should be afforded equal opportunities.

"When I found out that I had made it into the top 15, I was overwhelmed, and it only really sunk in once the public announcement was made," she exclaims.

"The support I have received has taken me by surprise, and I am extremely grateful and excited to see where this journey will lead me"

What motivates her is knowing that the world needs something that she has to offer.

"I believe that God created all of us with a purpose and destiny, and it is up to us to decide the trajectory of our lives."

Remember the name Palesa Kheswa. Beautiful and intelligent - it is undeniable that she is going places. She has proven that all things are possible. We wish her all the best on this journey.