For over 60 years, the prestigious local pageant Miss South Africa, has given women from different backgrounds a chance to not only change their lives, but the lives of others as well. Many women from different parts of the country enter to stand a chance to be crowned Miss South Africa.

This year’s group is nothing short of amazing.

Guests and the media gathered at the MultiChoice offices in Randburg, Johannesburg for the big announcement of the top 16 contestants. Stephanie Weil, the CEO of Nine Squared, said this year, the Miss SA pageant was looking to celebrate the differences in woman of all kinds, and through that, one contestant has already made history in the competition.

Cape Town-based Sibabalwe (Siba) Gcilitshana is the first queer woman to grace the competition and she couldn’t be prouder.

Speaking to DRUM, Siba said, “I’m so proud to be the first queer woman on the competition because this shows us how progressive our country has become, and representation matters.”

“Before entering the competition, I hadn’t given it much thought because it’s my identity. But now, I’m deliberately speaking out about my sexuality because I understand that not everyone has that opportunity. People are still hiding themselves because of fear, and if my speaking out helps someone, then I’ve done what I wanted – to represent and be a voice for the voiceless,” she continued.

Siba understands that living as a queer woman in South Africa isn’t easy, from just her experiences alone, but is determined to share her story and hopefully inspire others.

“I want to deconstruct stigmas around the LGBTQI+ community and break down barriers that prevent young people expressing themselves and being proud of their identity. A perfect world, for me, would be seeing young people not afraid to live in their truth, no matter what it is.”

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