Second year BA Tourism Development student, Gugulethu Banda, is one of the three students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in the Top 12 of Miss South Africa 2015. We caught up with the beauty before the top three is announced at Sun City, this Sunday, 29 March.
UJ: Who is Gugulethu Banda?
Gugulethu Banda (GB): Gugulethu Banda (21) is a hardworking and results driven individual. I believe that with a positive mind-set to match the capacity of my dreams, I can achieve anything. I am also down to earth, yet adventurous.
UJ: Where were you born and raised?
GB: I was born and raised in Soweto, but I later moved to Spruitview in the East Rand with my parents. That’s where I currently reside. I attended Observatory Girls’ Primary School and later Waverly Girls’ High School.
UJ: What motivates and inspires you?
GB: I want to make a difference by contributing positively to the lives of our citizens. I’m inspired to see women doing well for themselves and realising the potential and the power they have to be anything they want to be.
UJ: What made you decide to enter the Miss SA competition?
GB: Miss South Africa is something I’ve always been interested in since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a certain kind of love for beauty pageants because of how influential they are to young women. I entered Miss Johannesburg in 2011 and I took a lot of experience from that pageant in terms of growth. It made me feel that I’m ready to enter a pageant of this magnitude. I am also involved in charity work in my community, which goes hand-in-hand with the purpose of being a Miss SA. I believe I have been blessed with the qualities of an ambassador and a role model. This is my first time entering and I believe the timing was perfect hence I’ve made it this far in the competition.
UJ: What is different about the pageant this year?
GB: Slight changes are made every year. There have been quite a number of new changes and additions this year. We had open castings for the judges to interact personally with the girls before shortlisting. We no longer have the reality TV show ‘The Road To Miss SA’, this is because our organisers want to see which of us can build their own personal brand.
UJ: What are some of the qualities that make a great Miss SA?
GB: I believe, as a Miss SA, one should be authentic, beautiful inside and out, and a purpose driven young lady who identifies with people. She must be inspirational and empowering.
UJ: What kind of advice do you have for young girls that hope to follow the same path as you?
GB: Hard work and determination are key. They should also believe in themselves and their dreams. Nothing beats a positive attitude and you will definitely know when it is your time.
UJ: If you are crowned Miss South Africa, what will you do differently to promote women in society – particularly young girls?
GB: I will include women from all backgrounds, cultural and age groups. Get them involved in campaigns that will empower them – influence them positively. Most of all, I would like to educate them on how to approach social problems that they face every day. It starts with one person, then a community, then a country and then the world.
UJ: There’s two other UJ students in the Top 12. Do you think UJ has it when it comes to talents such as this?
GB: Yes! Miss South Africa is not only a celebration of beauty but also strives to spread love, peace and education throughout the world. The University does not shy away when it comes to beauty pageants and UJ participants seem to have earned themselves a reputation for being a rather stylish and well-educated group of exquisite young women.