Pageant challenges are daunting and sometimes impossible to complete, which ultimately leads to contestants quitting from these pageants without even reaching the semi-finals. But not Zinhle Sithebe. 

This 24-year-old second-year Financial Accounting student from the North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus has always been passionate about helping people with whatever she could afford. Born and raised in Vosloorus, this resolute young woman used to dedicate her time off school to visit orphanages and old age homes to help out.


I and my friends used to form a group during school holidays where we would do charity work, not because we had a pageant competition or whatever. It was just something we were passionate about,” she said.

She also added that she feels more motivated to do more charity work now that she is participating in these pageant challenges as part of the competition for Empress SA. Sithebe is among the 500 contestants who were shortlisted from 45 000 applications that the pageant received last year and is now a semi-finalist competing against other young women dispersed all over the country, who are also anticipating to be crowned the prestigious Miss Empress SA 2019.


Sithebe says she feels happy and doesn’t regret entering the competition even though it is demanding and quite tedious at times.
I feel happy, but at the same time, it’s very difficult because I have to juggle a lot of things around. I’m a fulltime student, I have to focus on school work and assignments. On the other, I have to focus on pageant challenges which also demand a lot of my time and attention. But I am happy because this experience is challenging me out of my comfort zone.


Empress South Africa is one of the prominent and most prestigious online contests which was founded in June 2017 under the theme “Beauty with Brains” with the objective of woman empowerment using the leadership symbol of Eagles. After a successful crowning event last year, the name of the pageant was changed to Empress South Africa.


Empress South Africa pageant is, therefore, a very dynamic space that incorporates creativity. Most of the challenges they test their contestants on include: singing, dancing, poetry, hip-hop. Obviously, this allows contestants to showcase their talents as well. However, these challenges have been difficult for Sithebe to complete.

I don’t have any unique talent and these challenges have been difficult to complete, but I like the fact that they drove me out of my comfort zone are inclusive of everyone in the pageant because they know that we are quite diverse and lie different things, so them coming up with these different activities is actually a way of including everybody.” She continued.


Empress South Africa is not a beauty pageant on its own. It has a beauty pageant which is 1% of this contest. The other 99% is made up of empowerment which is broken down into different categories namely: Youth Empowerment, Women Empowerment, Success Empowerment, Spiritual Empowerment, God Realisation, Self Realisation, Personal Development and Growth. It also creates awareness about a disease that the society is not aware of, for example, autism. Empress is sponsored by and the pageant is set to take place on the 16th of December at Sun Coast, Durban.



To vote for Sithebe, SMS Zinhle Sithebe to 35334 and you can also check her Facebook Page: Zinhle Sithebe Empress South Africa 2019 semi-Finalist-Gauteng. Instagram: zinhlesithebe_mesa2019.


By: Lwando Mqokweni

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