Makhanda learner to compete for teen pageant crown

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Wednesday, 30th March 2022

"I’m not a pageant girl," said Makhanda-born Siyolise Sandi, who managed to however strut to the top spot of the prestigious Miss Teenager South Africa (MTSA) pageant. This is in hopes of using the platform to uplift her community and fight against social issues like gender-based violence. 

Her determination has received the attention of the Makana Municipality Executive Mayor, Yandiswa Vara, who has called on the Makana region and Eastern Cape Province communities to back Sandi's journey in winning this most coveted crown.

The 15-year-old Victoria Girls' High School learner does not see herself as the typical girl who enters pageants. 

"I was really not a pageant girl. I didn't do this because I wanted to win or because I am pretty or have a beautiful body."

Sandi explained that her main motivation for entering the MTSA and working hard to get to the top 28 in the competition was to earn a voice and be heard. She said she could have simply entered a Miss Teenager pageant on a local level, but she shot straight to the very top because she wanted to do big things, among them becoming a lawyer one day to be in a better position to help those in need. Her message to the world is: "Education is key. We can get a lot done to help each other through education."

Sandi said her MTSA journey started when she saw a social media post. She wasn't going to enter, but her agent insisted that she enter, saying it would give her the voice that she has always wanted. She eventually entered the competition in September last year. Her first interview was on October 30, and from there, she has completed community service involving visits to old age homes and orphanages. 

Vara said she was very proud of Sandi and wanted her to move forward in the competition knowing that she had the full support of the people of Makhanda.

"As the Municipality, we are so proud of Siyolise. We are encouraged more by her determination through hard times. Her mom is a single parent, so with the registration that they had to pay, it was not easy, but through all that, she managed to soldier on.

"As the Municipality and also the community at large, we rally behind her and give her all the necessary support she needs, as it is the first time, we have had this kind of young girl that has entered the Miss Teen pageant."

Vara added that the municipality may not have the budget to talk to what she needs, but they will make sure they engage with the provincial government to give the necessary support. "When she is at that level, she is not necessarily representing Makhanda and Makana but the Eastern Cape at large." 

Vara also called on residents to support Sandi, not only financially but also to encourage her to ensure she is moving forward. "Our wish for her is to win the pageant!" 

Sandi's mother, Zoleka Sandi, who is a local paramedic, said that she was a little nervous about what lies ahead especially with regards to the financial implications of the competition but excited for her daughter. "I am so proud of her and will fully support her to the end."

"As the Sandi family, we therefore wish to extend our gratitude to the community of Makhanda for their unwavering support, and the journey will soon be over, but your unwavering support will forever be engraved in our hearts," Zoleka added.

Siyolise is looking forward to the MTSA finalist ceremony, which is fast approaching.

The Finalist competition will take place from 28 (preliminary event) to 29 May 2022 at Emperor’s Palace in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg. The main event, which is on 29 May will be broadcast live on various TV channels.

Sandi will have to travel to Johannesburg with her mom early as 26 May 2022. She requires the following:

  • Return Airfare ticket (for Siyolise and Zoleka)
  • Accommodation nearest to the Emperor’s Palace
  • Shuttle service from Makhanda to the PE Airport and from OR Tambo transport to the hotel.

 If you would like to see this passionate and ambitious beauty achieve her goals, you can make a financial contribution towards the competition expenses (transport, accommodation, outfits and so forth), or provide her with any other support for the journey she has embarked on. For more information on how to make financial contributions or how you can assist in other means, you can contact Zoleka on 073 041 9616.

According to the MTSA pageant Facebook Page, the competition is a platform that prides itself on empowering teenagers across SA between the ages of 13 and 19. This prominent pageant leads the way in showcasing young women’s empowerment, diversity, intelligence, and leadership.

The pageant offers the contestants the opportunity to speak on everything from their careers, dreams, and ambitions to global issues and development.

Young ladies who take part in the pageant have historically utilised the pageant’s platform to advance their specific career paths and work with certain organisations they are passionate about.

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