Sisterhood, women empowerment central to pageant’s goal

It all began in 2019 when the Miss Bachelorette South Africa founder Refilwe Mogale started a platform to give a voice to marginalised people.

The pageant raises awareness about gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide.

Mogale said societal pressures and expectations on women are pushing them towards toxic relationships that expose them to rising cases of GBV.

With the pageant, Mogale is welcoming women from all walks of life and empowering them to be the best versions of themselves than being stuck in abusive relationships.

“A lot of women stay in abusive relationships because they are financially dependent on their partners. They are also scared of being stigmatised by society,” said Mogale.

“With this pageant, we are preaching independence to women through education and finances instead of the pressures.

“We are trying to create role models out of them, so we can show younger girls that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without compromising your dignity.”

According to Mogale, one of the challenges they have had to confront with the pageant was age, as it is for mature women between 25 and 50 years.

She said the aim of the pageant is inclusivity and support for GBV victims, survivors and people who have witnessed it.

“This is for mature women, single women, mothers, divorced women, and married women.

“Almost every year, we have participants who are victims of GBV and some of them have witnessed it because it happened to someone close to them like a friend, mother or sister.

“Because of their age, the participants treat each other with grace and understanding. It is more like a sisterhood than it is a competition,” Mogale said.

She explained that they have established a Miss Bachelorette Foundation where they are helping 11 families that are headed by women and children.

She said: “The foundation raised funds and those funds have been dedicated to those families that are based in Alexandra in Gauteng.

“We are trying to partially adopt those families so that over time, we can provide resources for these women to move out of poverty for themselves and their children.”

One of the pageant’s semi-finalists, Chwayita Bangani, said she entered the competition because of what it stands for.

Explained Bangani: “What made me enter the Miss Bachelorette South Africa was the fact that it is an inclusive initiative.

“It does not only focus on fashion and beauty, but also in fighting against gender-based violence and femicide.

“This is an opportunity for me to also build myself, groom myself and to become a better version of myself.

“My journey so far has been amazing and educational. I have gained so much confidence in myself, which is one of the things that are always being emphasised in this competition.”

The Miss Bachelorette South Africa final is scheduled to take place in April 2024. The winner will take home R100 000 to kick-start a business or an initiative of their own.


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