Home News Teen pageant queen seeks support to fly SA flag on international stage

Teen pageant queen seeks support to fly SA flag on international stage

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A 14-year-old Galeshewe girl is seeking financial support to represent South Africa in the Mini Universo competition in Bogota, Colombia, from June 24 to 30.

Lizaan Thembu was crowned Miss Pre-Teen South Africa Mundial 2023/24 at a national pageant in Durban in April. Picture: Supplied

FOURTEEN-year-old Lizaan Thembu from Galeshewe is seeking financial support to represent South Africa in the Mini Universo competition in Bogota, Colombia, from June 24 to 30.

The Grade 9 learner at Northern Cape High School was crowned Miss Pre-Teen South Africa Mundial 2023/24 at a national pageant in Durban in April.

Lizaan initially entered the Miss Teen Universe South Africa pageant with the goal of inspiring her peers and bringing positive change to her community.

In order to represent her country and Miss Teen Universe South Africa on an international platform, Lizaan must cover all her expenses.

The young beauty queen has been making desperate attempts to raise funds to cover return flights for herself and her mother, visas, a participation fee, airport transfers, tours, meals, accommodation and pageant attire.

She has so far managed to raise R70,000, but she still needs to raise another R200,000.

Raised by a single mother who works at a local pre-school, Lizaan also receives financial support from her 87-year-old great-grandmother. She has been raising funds through donations from family, friends and church members. Her mother has also been selling children’s toys to parents to raise as much money as possible.

“Lord bless my mom because she has managed to raise R70 000 for my participation fee, passports and visas for the both of us,” said Lizaan.

“My mother and I have been so determined and desperate that we have been going door-to-door looking for sponsors, including at government departments. We have approached the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, the Premier’s Office, banks and various shops.

“The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture donated R20,000 (a start towards the R200,000 she is seeking to raise), which I am extremely grateful for. Sadly, we are still waiting for responses from most of the other entities we approached.

“It has been financially straining for my mom, especially since she has had to use some of her savings, which she has been putting away for more than 10 years. Because she knows how much I love what I am doing, she decided it was the right thing to do to support my dreams.”

Lizaan has a string of crowns and sashes from pageants she participated in 2023.

She started modelling at the age of two and has won several titles, including Miss Resilience Queen and Miss Empower Youth Queen. She was also 1st Princess in the 2023 Miss Goddess Supreme hosted by the Isagoentle Unamandla Foundation.

In addition to her pageant work, Lizaan has been heavily involved in charity work since March 2023. She has been collecting clothes and shoes to distribute to old age centres and children’s centres, and has run a sanitary pad campaign at schools and for children in her community.

“In December 2023 I organised food parcels for an old age home, through assistance from Sasko, and also donated to Sinothando orphanage in Galeshewe. I have been visiting crèches to see where I can help, painting school swings, dishing out toys and learning posters, and assisting small children between the ages of 4 and 7 with modelling.”

Despite her busy schedule, Lizaan remains a top achiever at her school. “Beauty pageants are not only about beauty but having brains too,” she said, highlighting the importance of staying focused on her school work while running her various campaigns.

Lizaan has expressed an ambition to become a neurologist. “It is my dream to be a doctor of the brain, nervous system and spinal cord, ever since I lost my best friend to a brain stroke … I vowed to help people in the future if they are suffering with any problems in this field.”

She draws inspiration from two sisters, Manqoba and Unamandla Vilakazi. Manqoba, the reigning Little Mini Universo and Miss Pre-Teen Universe South Africa 2023/24, and her older sister Unamandla, who was the 3rd runner-up in Miss World and Miss Teen Mundial South Africa 2023/24, have been instrumental in encouraging Lizaan to enter the Miss Teen Universe South Africa (MTUSA) pageant. Their belief in her potential has played a significant role in her journey.

“These two sisters saw potential in me and encouraged me to enter MTUSA and I very glad I listened to them because of how far I’ve come.”

Keitumetse, Lizaan’s mother, has expressed immense pride in her daughter’s achievements and pledged her unwavering support.

“I am extremely proud of my daughter and how far she’s come … she is a queen now. She, however, needs to continue showing good qualities at school and support towards other learners. I am happy that she is allowed to do things she enjoys with her friends and her school, which is very supportive. They put up her posters at the school and even allowed her to speak at assemblies,” said Keitumetse.

Lizaan shared a message of encouragement for both young and old, urging them to pursue their passions relentlessly. She emphasised the importance of recognising one’s unique talents and seizing opportunities. She also highlighted the crucial role of parental or guardian support in achieving success.

“Never stop what you love doing and just remember you are born with a special glow … don’t let anyone cover it up. If you know something is destined for you, grab it with both hands and run for it.”

Anyone who is interested in helping out is urged to send a message to 073 020 2891 or @Lizaan143.

For sponsorship, the banking details are: PK Thembu, Absa bank, 9275124949, Cheque Account / Capetic bank (Lizaan) 1531671371, savings account.

Lizaan has a string of crowns and sashes from pageants she participated in. Picture: Supplied

Lizaan was crowned Miss Pre-Teen South Africa Mundial 2023/24 at a national pageant in Durban in April. Pictures: Supplied

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Party packs that Lizaan prepared for Retlameleng Special School. Picture: Supplied

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