UP Miss SA finalist seeks to reduce education inequality

Posted on July 28, 2022

University of Pretoria (UP) BCom Investment Management graduate Ndavi Nokeri is in the top 10 of the popular beauty pageant Miss South Africa.

Nokeri is another UP hopeful for the Miss SA crown, which in the last two years was worn by UP alumnae Shudufhadzo Musida (2020) and Lalela Mswane (2021). Mswane was recently crowned Miss Supranational 2022, making history as the first black woman to win this international pageant.

The Miss SA pageant has transformed the lives of many entrants who have gone on to make a positive contribution to communities and establish their brands as agents of social transformation.

Nokeri, who hails from Gabaza village in Tzaneen, hopes to empower learners in underprivileged schools in South Africa through education and skills development, so that “they have the tools to excel and can make informed decisions about their futures”.

“Ultimately, it should not matter which school or area they come from, all learners should be given quality education and an equal opportunity to nurture their strengths, so they can become well-rounded leaders in society and play their part in advancing our nation,” she says.

She is passionate about bridging the education inequality gap in South Africa. Her passion was sparked after witnessing the gaps between schools in the village and the well-resourced schools in town, which she was fortunate to attend. Her peers in the village were not exposed to the same opportunities and conducive environment she was, limiting their potential to achieve their ambitions. “I think that it is fundamental for every child to be given an equal opportunity to cultivate their talents, intelligence and skills,” she says.

Nokeri is no stranger to the world of pageantry. She was crowned Miss Jozi in 2019, a pageant that inspired her to be an active citizen in society. “Through this pageant I learned that we do not have to wait for a government or an institutional body to create the change we want to see in our societies, but that we, as ordinary individuals, have the power to create the society we want for our children,” says Nokeri.

Asked about the importance of pageants today, she notes that pageants have served as empowerment platforms for women that have opened opportunities for them to be in leadership positions. She says the Miss SA pageant is one such platform, where she has witnessed many entrants from various backgrounds conquering their fears and making a difference in communities.

By vying for the Miss SA crown, she also hopes to have an impact on her community and “ignite a new hope in our youth to keep chasing their dreams”.

The aspiring businesswoman draws her inspiration from women who continue to break the glass ceiling, particularly her mother, who she says has made a great impact on many lives, teaching her to lead with love and passion. Former Miss SA and businesswoman Basetsana Khumalo is also one of her inspirations for having utilised the opportunities that the pageant opened for her and uplifting communities. The words of Nelson Mandela, “it always seems impossible, until it’s done”, are a constant reassurance that it is also possible for her to reach greater heights and be a beacon of hope.

During the first round of the voting for the top 10, Nokeri won the People’s Choice vote. The public can still vote for her on the Miss SA website or app until 12 August to secure her spot in the top 5. The 2022 Miss SA pageant will take place on Saturday, 13 August, at 18:30 at the Sun Arena, Pretoria, and will be broadcast live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic and streamed live on the Miss SA app.

- Author Refilwe Mabula
Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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