Soweto’s newest golden girl: Paige Harvey

'I’m still in awe of the moment. I still can’t believe I was crowned'

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Reigning Miss Soweto Paige Harvey.
Reigning Miss Soweto Paige Harvey.
Image: Ray Manzana 

Paige Harvey was crowned the 44th White Star Miss Soweto last November at the Soweto Theatre in Jabulani.

The 20-year-old from Eldorado Park, who follows in the footsteps of Basetsana Kumalo, Augustine Masilela-Chuene, Lerato Kganyago, Tsakane Sono, and Ludina Ngwenya, opens up about her journey so far.  

First, how was the shoot with SMag? 

It was exciting. I had a lot of freedom and wasn’t restricted [in terms of] the types of poses or movements I could do. I felt free being myself on this location shoot. I’m also honoured to be the first model to be shot at the iconic Hector Pieterson Museum.  

What was your favourite thing?

Aside from the makeup, my favourite part was the clothing — a lot wasn’t my style, nor did I see the vision at first, but it all came together when the styling was complete. I loved the huge white latex dress that was shown at SA Fashion Week.

It’s very different and totally took me out of my comfort zone, which I unexpectedly enjoyed. 

Image: Ray Manzana 

How has your journey been so far as Miss Soweto?

I’m still in awe of the moment. I still can’t believe I was crowned. I was stiff when they called my name. I’m glad that the pageant allows me to be me and to use this platform to connect with people. I’m also grateful to White Star for their continued support of the girls and women of this community.  

What does 30 years of democracy mean to you?  

It’s a progression of development, characterised by improving the living standards of the community, such as good education and healthcare systems. It’s a reminder that democracy isn’t a static achievement but requires ongoing effort and commitment to uphold.

What are you going to change in the world as Miss Soweto?

I can’t change the whole world, but what I can do is change one person’s life by empowering them with educational opportunities. I know and see the importance of nurturing the younger generation.

I’m studying double majors in political science and international relations. [This will give me] access to that world, where I can work on the ground and help areas that are under-resourced.

Image: Ray Manzana 

Why is it important for young people to vote next month?

Firstly, you need to do research and see which party aligns with you and if it resonates with your morals, standards, and values. You can then make the right decision for your future.

Before you cast your vote, make sure to pray about it because you need to make the right decision — power can be destructive.

How has Miss Soweto refined and shifted culture?

It has redefined beauty standards. It promotes community pride, breaks stereotypes and, most importantly, empowers women to pursue their goals and dreams. It not only focuses on women but also empowers everyone else in the community.

What type of legacy do you want to leave behind as Miss Soweto?

To be remembered for pushing education and how pedantic I am about everyone getting the right opportunities.

Living the dream by Felipe Mazibuko    

Set against the historic Hector Pieterson Museum in Orlando West, White Star Miss Soweto Paige Harvey takes a trip down memory lane, into the fashion archives of some of SA’s most influential designers of the past 30 years.

Image: Ray Manzana 

Marianne Fassler | founded in 1975

Fassler says the Madiba skirt from her fall/winter 2005 collection and the top from her fall/winter 2007 collection narrate the decades-long story of the evolution of democracy in SA. “My legacy is in the generations of clients and young designers and individualists whom I have inspired over many years… fashion democracy means freedom from the tyranny of fashion trends, dress codes, and etiquette,” she says. 

Image: Ray Manzana 

The Bam Collective | founded in 2019 

For creative director Jacques Bam, the “Extraterrestrialism” 2023/2024 collection envisages a far-off galaxy where Bam is the armour of all occupants by heroing the distinct DNA of the brand through the years. “Fashion democracy is about giving credit where credit is due, celebrating the hands that create the clothes and not only the designer,” Bam says.

Image: Ray Manzana 

David Tlale | founded in 2003

'“Fashion freedom is [about] expressing yourself without boundaries, embracing your culture and traditions, and narrating your journey of liberation, which is a continuous and conscious advocacy of life, fashion, and state of mind,” Tlale says.

Image: Ray Manzana 

Stoned Cherrie | founded in 2000 

The legendary Dolly Rathebe dress was made in 2013. “Stoned Cherrie has always been about the celebration of identity, an exploration of what it means to be African in the 21st century. One cannot explore that without looking at the iconic figureheads of yesteryear who helped shape the socio-political landscape through their cultural expression and sheer brilliance,” says founder Nkhensani Nkosi. 

Image: Ray Manzana 

Thebe Magugu | founded in 2016

Magugu, the first African designer to win the prestigious LVMH Prize for young designers in 2019, was born on the eve of SA’s democracy (September 1993). His luxury fashion house has name-checked collaborations with Dior, AZ Factory, Valentino, and Adidas. A-listers such as Rihanna, Halle Bailey, Naomi Watts, Burna Boy, Issa Rae, Tessa Thompson, Kate Walsh, Lupita Nyong’o, and Naomi Campbell have all rocked Magugu. 

Image: Ray Manzana 

Black Coffee | founded in 1998 

“This dress was part of the 2009 'Geometry' collection. It was made from a fabric I found at Casa Eleganté in Maputo. The collection explored intricate cutting and the layering of repetitive shapes in search of a bold new African aesthetic,” says founder Jacques van der Watt.  

Image: Ray Manzana