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A milestone for Miss SA as Lehlogonolo Machaba becomes first trans woman to make top 30

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Transgender women are almost always ostracised from such opportunities, which is why I never thought I’d see anyone like myself on such a platform – Lehlogonolo Machaba

Lehlogonolo Machaba, the first trans woman to enter Miss SA. Picture Instagram/@lehlogonolo.machaba.

THE MISS South Africa 2021 Top 30 has been revealed, and one of them is Lehlogonolo Machaba (24), the first transgender woman to openly enter the Miss SA competition.

Hailing from Oskraal, Letlhabile in the North West, Machaba is a model booker at Invade Models and the founder and owner of the DeMollies fashion brand. She holds a diploma in fashion design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Asked about why she decided to enter the Miss SA competition, Machaba said: “Transgender women are almost always ostracised from such opportunities, which is why I never thought I’d see anyone like myself on such a platform. I believe that being chosen would raise hope in a lot of little girls like myself. It has always been a dream of mine to represent my community at such a high level.”

Machaba also added that should she win the title, she would focus on raising awareness for the LGBTQIA+ community, considering the daily murder of queer and trans-identifying people in our country, which is devastating.

“Through the Miss South Africa platform, I’d be able to advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, and more specifically queer-identifying women. I would use this opportunity to empower every marginalised person and become a beacon of hope for young girls out there regardless of whatever it is they think hinders them from attaining whatever goal they have. With patience, perseverance and hard work they can attain anything they put their minds to,” she said.

Taking to Twitter, she said that entering the competition wasn’t easy, and she expected both negative and positive comments.

She said: “Entering #MissSA2021 I knew I would be met with praise and equally met with a lot of transphobias. This is our time to shine and show up, let’s silence them by being positive and breaking boundaries.”

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