One of the finalists in the Mrs South Africa 2009 beauty pageant, Jessie Jele-Molalugi, says she is ready to quit the rat race and make a difference in the world.
This comes as the country prepares for what organisers have billed the biggest pageant of the year since its inception 40 years ago.
Jele-Molalugi is a 26-year-old banker and mother of one. She is among the 23 finalists who are vying for the prestigious crown for married beauties.
She said that winning the pageant would afford her an opportunity to "help other people and move out of my comfort zone".
"Besides the duties of Mrs SA 2009, I want to help children from disadvantaged rural areas obtain bursaries because they are not exposed to career opportunities due to lack of money," she said.
Jele-Molalugi said she wants to host her own talk show one day.
Born in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Jele-Molalugi lives in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, with her husband and three-year-old daughter. She works for a major bank as a channel specialist.
She said her family was supportive of her participation in the pageant.
Jele-Molalugi encouraged married women to continue taking care of themselves and live a good life.
"Black women should enter the pageant. It is not time consuming. You can manage to work and take care of your family while involved in the contest," she said.
Mrs South Africa spokesman Petro Venter said: "This year's pageant will be the biggest."
She said all 23 finalists were married and over 18 years old.
Venter said the contest was not well publicised in the past because of lack of sponsorship.
She said that the sponsors had increased in number and together with Mrs SA were finalising the prize to be revealed on March 21, when the pageant would be held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park.
She said the pageant was not exposed to enough black women.
"We would like to change that because there are many beautiful black married women."