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Goldgirl Phakathi aims to shine in the Big Apple

Goldgirl Phakathi shares a light moment with KZN MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo ahead of her trip to New York on Tuesday.
Goldgirl Phakathi shares a light moment with KZN MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo ahead of her trip to New York on Tuesday.

A KwaZulu-Natal matric pupil is proving that she is just as valuable as her name suggests. Goldgirl Phakathi‚ 17‚ is a South African representative to attend the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women in New York City‚ US.

The commission‚ which starts on Thursday‚ is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The excited KwaMashu schoolgirl jets off to New York City on Wednesday. "It's my first time flying and travelling on my own. I am nervous but excited too‚" she said.

When Goldgirl was in Grade 7‚ representatives from the Women's Leadership and Training programme visited Khethamahle Senior Primary School. "They asked for any girl to join their organisation and I never stopped since. They are now sending me to the [UN] commission‚" she said.

Goldgirl will speak about the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls. "We face many challenges but I believe that teenage pregnancy is an issue that we really need to highlight. There is no one solution to it but by talking about it‚ we can get everyone involved to find a solution‚" Goldgirl explained.

Her speech‚ which she is currently writing‚ will also focus on rural women and girls participating in the community‚ access to media and information technology.

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: "We are very privileged to have met Goldgirl during our visit to Nqabakazulu highschool in KwaMashu‚ where we were promoting parkrun as part of our healthy lifestyle campaign.

"Goldgirl will be representing us in the US‚ and will be carrying with her a very important message to tell the world that people living with albinism are normal like you and I. She will also create awareness about the importance of abstinence from sex and how teenage pregnancy and STIs can be prevented. We appreciate that and are extremely proud of her."

Dhlomo gave her R500 pocket money to spend in New York.

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