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THE reigning Miss South Africa cannot wait to jet out to the Bahamas next week to join the world's other beautiful women at the Miss Universe pageant.
The Durban-born Tatum Keshwar, 25, leaves on July 31 for the pageant scheduled for August 23.
"I am very excited, a little bit nervous and feeling under pressure to perform - you know to produce the goods," Keshwar said yesterday.
"More than anything I am overwhelmed by the sense of support, faith and belief in me that I really can do well in the Miss Universe competition.
"I have never been to the Bahamas and I am looking forward to discovering that country.
"I really enjoy meeting new people and I hope to network extensively and lay foundations with people from the other side of the world, which is something that I can draw on in years to come."
Keshwar met some of the contestants recently when they were in South Africa for the Fifa Confederations Cup.
"I enjoyed interacting with Miss Spain, who did not speak much English, and Miss New Zealand, who coincidentally was born in South Africa and emigrated when she was very young."
One of the events that Keshwar will compete in is the national costume show planned for August 10. She will be wearing a modern interpretation of a Zulu bridal gown designed by RjKay Creations.
"It was such an honour to be selected to design a gown for Tatum," said Paledi Segapo from RjKay Creations.
"The word Zulu means heaven and Tatum is going to look like a heavenly bride when she steps on to the stage in the Bahamas."
Fashion designer JJ Schoeman has designed one of the gowns she will wear at the August 23 finale.
Schoeman said: "She has an incredible posture. She is tall, statuesque and slender. Tatum is a designer's dream to dress.
"I know that as Tatum steps on stage she has to make an impressive statement and her gown is an absolute showstopper. I have absolute faith in her participation at the Miss Universe competition."
Keshwar said: "I would love to win Miss Universe but I know that it is also important to enjoy the experience. I am going to make the most of it and make South Africans proud."
If crowned Miss Universe, Keshwar will travel the world as an advocate for HIV-Aids education, research and legislation.