The first princess is Lunga Shabalala – an 18-year old Psychology student from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. The second princess is Charlene Irwin, a Financial Management student from Boksburg on the East Rand.
The process of choosing the Rag Queen involved various phases. Initially 170 contestants competed in the first round and 40 contestants competed in the second round. Sixteen finalists competed in final phase on Saturday night.
The crowning of this year’s Tuks Rag Queen is part of the Annual Rag Week festivities. The new Rag Queen and her princesses will be paraded on the first float of this year’s Rag Procession on Saturday (31st January 2009).
Last year’s Rag Queen is Bridgette Elk, a Quantity Surveying student at the University of Pretoria.
According to Maggie Seymore, Executive Committee Member of the RAG Committee, the debutante programme is an initiative started by Tuks Rag to encourage more student involvement in local charity organisations. The programme is a valuable source of revenue for Tuks Rag. The money which is raised by these debutantes is paid out towards the charities which the Tuks Rag supports. For example, the Tuks Rag Queen of 2006 began the Smile Project - a project that pays for the operations of babies born with cleft lip/palate or other facial deformities which enables them to enjoy a normal life.
Children with such deformities often face difficulties in life including severe speech impediment. They are placed at an educational disadvantage from an early age.
Fortunately modern day medicine has advanced to a point where it is possible to perform corrective surgery on patients so that they can experience a normal future and gain the ability to take up their rightful position in our society. However, these surgical interventions are expensive meaning only few people can afford them.
Only full-time female students of the University of Pretoria aged between 18 and 23 can be included in the debutantes programme.
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