Live your life to the fullest and don’t let your background define who you are – that’s Pelly Mbantsa’s message to young township women.
Ms Mbatsa, a 25-year-old lawyer who was crowned Ms Western Cape at the Eikenhof Estate in September, wants young black women to embrace themselves and their backgrounds.
Today she is a lawyer at Legal Aid Aid South Africa and doing her Master’s degree in Law, but she knows what it is like to come from humble beginnings.
“I was born in a shanty town of Khayelitsha, but that does not hold me back from doing positive things,” she says. “I do not only compete in beauty contests but study hard. This is what young girls should dream of. They need to hold the knife on the sharp side.”
She’s been competing in beauty pageants since she was a teenager and says she does it for the confidence boost and the reminder that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
“I want to motivate township girls to stand up and be counted. We sometimes think our backgrounds are not good enough for us to be seen in big stages. That should not be the case.”
She adds: “They need to say, ‘I will not take second best in life. I want to live a purposeful life and make a difference. This is what I told myself as a youngster – that I will live a purposeful life and make a difference.
“I am proud to say I am a lawyer today. I am proud to say I am a product of Sobambisana Primary, Masiyile High and the Centre of Science and Technology all in Khayelitsha before studying at the University of the Western Cape. I want to inspire others to go for their wildest dreams.”