The IFP's Youth Brigade hopes to pull the country's youth out of its voting torpor through a "Miss IFP" beauty pageant.
"The youth is not interested in anything else - only entertainment," mused project leader Sipho Mbatha during the launch of the pageant yesterday.
The national executive committee decided to launch the contest in a bid to get young and first-time voters interested in the electoral process ahead of the 2009 elections.
Promising to break away from traditional beauty contests, which "parade a petite frame", the contest is open to all South African females between the ages of 16 and 25, regardless of political affiliation.
"It's free and open to everybody," he said, adding that the winner would not be obliged to lobby for the IFP.
"We just want to inform the youth of what is expected of them when election time comes," said Mbatha.
Twenty-five judges will consider the entrants' attributes. The winner "of fantastic prizes" will also be expected to undertake duties assigned by the yought brigade in HIV-Aids awareness and voter education.
Constituencies have until September to choose the top 10 contestants who will compete at a district level and the top five will go to the finals in Durban in December.
"We are glad to say that the response, both from the public and sponsors, has so far been overwhelming," said Mbatha. - Sapa