Xanet Scheepers

By Xanet Scheepers

Digital Lifestyle Editor

Tears, joy and so much pride at Miss World SA send-off

Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego will be leaving on her journey to Mumbai, India on Friday to take part in the Miss World pageant.

Known as one of the ‘Big Four’ beauty pageants, every girl dreams about wearing the stunning bejeweled blue Miss World crown. Speaking at a send-off breakfast earlier this week, the reigning Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego said she can’t believe that her girl dreams have finally become reality.

“As we are departing in a few days, I think I’m a little nervous, but I’m more excited because I’ve had this dream of seeing myself on the Miss World stage for a long time. Back when my grandmother was still alive, we used to watch Miss World on SABC 3 and that dream of me saying to her that I will stand on that stage one day is happening. I just cannot believe that this is me doing it, and with all the support in this room.”

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Dressing Miss World SA

One of the moments everyone looks forward to during any beauty pageant is the evening gowns. Designer Otiz Seflo, who won the Designer of the Year at the Feather Awards in November last year, created two beautiful dresses for Claude to show off on the Miss World stage.

While she didn’t want to reveal her dresses at the event, Claude told The Citizen that the final dress was black and white explaining that they wanted to give it a sheik, African feel.

“There’s a lot of beading, but there’s still a modern, avant garde twist with a lot of details on it.”

Her second dress is inspired by the rain queens of Limpopo, and this she explains is to pay homage to female leadership.

‘The Claude Jumpsuit’ was also launched at the send-off event for Miss World SA.

Speaking to The Citizen, ITU Golf Wear Founder, Innocentia Motau said Claude wanted active wear for her trip to India that’s ‘tribal, African, bright and bold.’

The Claude Jumpsuit
Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego with ITU Golf Wear Founder, Innocentia Motau who designed a range of active wear for her trip to India. Pictures: Michel Bega

Handling the pressure

Stepping onto one of the biggest beauty pageant stages in the world automatically puts one under a lot of pressure as you are there, to not only make your dream come true, but to make your friends and family proud, and to fly your country’s flag high.

The 24-year-old Miss World South Africa says she takes all pressure – as South Africa has been on a winning streak – as a positive thing.

“I see it as the wave is there, we just ride it. I’m not internalising any of it because I understand that whenever I show up, I need to show up to my best capability, and show up as the best version of myself everywhere I go. It’s not heavy [the pressure], it’s just that people are excited about the things South Africans have been able to do in the past couple of months, and they are just hoping and expecting that there is going to be a continuation of that, which I am also expecting.”

Young leaders’ network

Claude officially started her non-profit organisation, Young Leaders Network in March 2022. It is centralised around leadership and entrepreneurship with key areas in mentorship.

“We want to see a new generation of young leaders in parliament, and in positions of authority. We want to equip young people in each community, especially the rural communities, to see themselves as leaders who are capable of bringing the change they want to see in the world.”

Miss World SA Dr Claude Mashego
Miss World South Africa, Dr Claude Mashego / Picture: Michel Bega

A message to young South African women

As she prepares to start her Miss World journey, Claude’s message to young African women is to start showing up in the spaces you know you earned on merit to be in.  

“The battle with African women is that we’ve always underplayed the value that we add to the world wherever we go. It’s almost as if, when you see a woman in a position of authority like a board member or whatever, it’s as if somebody did her a favour and we walk around as if doors get opened for us because somebody is doing us a favour, and we forget that we have earned on merit the right to be in those spaces. So, we need to start showing up like we know we deserve to be in those spaces.”

The Miss World final will take place on 9 March at the Jio World Convention Centre, in Mumbai.

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