Pageant 'reject' finally crowned

AFTER being crowned Miss Soweto 2012, at the Soweto Theatre on Saturday, 20-year-old Hape Moloi can no longer call herself the queen of rejection.

The first-year Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Johannesburg said she had been rejected too many times at pageants but believed in herself and continued to enter thecompetitions.

Moloi, who hails from Dube in Soweto, told Sowetan: "I entered Miss Soweto in 2010 and only made it to the top 100, but that did not deter me from trying again. This year I also made it as a regional finalist for Miss Earth but I did not go through to the finals. But I kept on believing that my title was just around the corner."

She said she had interpreted the rejection from other pageants as a way to improving herself as a model and a young woman.

Moloi added that the rejection was necessary to make her stronger, and her message to her peers was 'learn to pick yourself up'.

"I am already involved with teaching English to primary school kids and helping them out with their reading, as a way of giving back to my community. This title gives me a much bigger platform.

Her equally excited mother, Vicky Moloi, said her daughter deserved the title. "She has always loved beautiful things and she is a hard-worker," Hape'smom said.

Moloi was chosen among 20 finalists and she walked away with a cash prize of R10000 from the pageant's sponsor White Star, a Damelin College bursary and a furniture store voucher.

Samkelisiwe Nkomonde, 20, was crowned first princess and Viwe Gxwala, 24, second princess.

The founders of Miss Soweto, which celebrated its 33rd anniversary this year, businessmen Ralph Zikalala and Leonard Sithole, made an appearance at the event.