University of Johannesburg (UJ) alumna Ms Ntsiki Mkhize graduated with a BCom Marketing Management degree and a BCom Honours in Logistics Management from the University. She is one of three UJ students participating in the Miss South Africa 2015 pageant happening this Sunday, 29 March in Sun City.
UJ: Who is Ntsiki Mkhize?
Ntsiki Mkhize (NM): I’m a loving, caring, driven and God-fearing 23-year old tenacious young woman who is passionate about entrepreneurship, and optimistic about country and our continent.
UJ: Where do you come from?
NM: I was born in Glen Cowie, Limpopo and raised by my grandmother in Wattville, Benoni. I spent most of my childhood in and around Benoni and Germiston. When I finished my primary school education at Wit Deep Primary School, we moved to Kliprivier in the Midvaal area, where I currently live with my family. I enrolled at UJ after matriculating at Sunward Park High School.
UJ: What motivates and inspires you?
NM: The desire to inspire other people. Knowing that I have been created for a greater purpose keeps me moving towards that higher goal – aiming to be the best I can be. I love life and the promise of each day for great things to happen.
UJ: What made you decide to enter the Miss SA competition?
NM: Miss SA has always been such an inspiration. I want to touch lives and engage with women in many aspects of life, particularly entrepreneurship. It forms part of my vision board. The title of Miss SA and the opportunity to be an ambassador for your country is an honour.
UJ: When did you start being involved in beauty pageants?
NM: I entered Mr and Miss Wit Deep when I was in primary school as it was a fun thing to do. When I got to high school, I joined a modelling academy to learn deportment skills and grooming – building my confidence. My first big competition was in 2007 when I made it as a finalist for Miss SA Teen. That year, I got to meet a number of former Miss SAs who I look up to. During my varsity years, I worked at both SA Fashion Week and Africa Fashion Week as a media and VIP hostess. Personally, I feel that I have grown and matured a lot since I first entered competitions and I am looking forward to the journey ahead.
UJ: What kind of advice do you have for young girls that hope to follow the same path as you?
NM: My story is one of resilience and hard work. I truly believe that anyone can accomplish anything that they set their mind to if they work hard and believe in themselves. I would like to encourage every young woman to persevere and go after their goals. Always remember that you are worthy enough and that you matter! Be open to learning and growing. Remain positive and focus on the goal, but have fun and take constructive criticism positively whilst working on those pointers.
UJ: What are some of the qualities that make a great Miss SA?
NM: A great Miss SA is humble, gracious, eloquent and intelligent. She carries the crown and brand with grace. She is a strong woman who is able to be an ambassador for her country. She is a warm person that people can relate to.
UJ: If you are crowned Miss SA, what will you do differently to promote women in society – particularly young girls?
NM: I am passionate about small business and entrepreneurship. I would like to encourage a proactive mind-set among r young girls and offer opportunities where they can acquire business acumen and to identify and seize great opportunities. They should be able to create, own and sustain their success in life.
UJ: As a UJ postgraduate, what are the traits that you have learned at the University?
NM: UJ has a flexible timetable. Having spent so many years not confined to a ‘9-5’ role has taught me discipline in how I manage my time. I developed a willingness and ambition to get things done. These are very important life skills, because we have to be proactive and take responsibility for our own lives. I will cherish these lessons forever, along with the sense of community I experienced through my day house Annirand and the various societies on the campuses. UJ creates a sense of belonging for its students.
UJ: What do you think of the fact that there’re two more finalists who hail from UJ this year?
NM: UJ has a great reputation for producing and attracting great talent. UJ is the alma matter to Ashanti Mbanga (who was crowned Miss Earth South Africa in 2013); The Muffinz; a South African Music Awards nominated band, and the award winning TV personality Bonang Matheba. Amongst the long list of world class athletes, professors, academics, leaders and business people.