Sibabalwe Gcilitshana is the First Openly Queer Woman to Enter the Miss South Africa Pageant
The young officer of parliament is one of 16 finalists in South Africa's biggest annual beauty pageant.
The Miss South Africa pageant is the country's biggest annual beauty pageant. Thousands of young South African women from various backgrounds submit their applications to be considered for an eventual spot on the shortlist of 16 finalists. These finalists then go head-to-head for the crown and 1 million Rand (approximately USD 72 000) as well as entry into both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.
There have been exactly 62 Miss South Africa winners since the pageant was launched in 1956. Rolene Strauss, Anneline Kriel and Penelope Coelen went on to win the Miss World titles while Margaret Gardiner and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters took home the titles at Miss Universe. Not until this year, have any of the contestants ever expressed that they are queer. Cape Town-based Sibabalwe Gcilitshana, who works as an officer of parliament, is the first Miss SA finalist to be openly queer.
Speaking about the groundbreaking moment, Gcilitshana says, "I'm very happy to be able to share what I think is an important aspect of my identity as also as a proud South African woman." She goes on to add that, "I hope that I can use the platform to just empower other young women who see themselves represented in me. I in no means intend to represent anyone else, I just have my experience and my truth to share."
The Miss SA pageant will take place on August 9th, Women's Day, at the Sun Arena at Time Square in Pretoria.