Learner to represent SiSwati culture at national pageant

KOMATIPOORT – Sinethemba Queen Maphanga, a 17-year-old learner from Komatipoort Akademie, was chosen to represent the Swati tribe in the Indoni Miss Cultural SA pageant and needs Nkomazi’s votes to win the national culture competition.

Nkosinathi Muzwakhe Moreleko was chosen as her male counterpart.

Each year two finalists from each of 12 tribes are selected as princess and chaperone to represent their culture and traditions at a big pageant in Durban at the International Convention Centre.

This year’s event takes place on October 7, and Sinethemba’s supporters can SMS “Indoni Swati” to 48496 to vote for her. SMSes cost R1,50 each.

The Nkomazi native is a bubbly, humble and ambitious girl, who hopes to one day be a psychologist. She loves dancing, singing and playing sports.

READ: Engineering student is the new Miss Nkomazi

Since she was young, she has been taught to root herself in her culture, so attends camps at Shongwe Boarding School during the first week of the July holidays every year.

Sinethemba Queen Maphanga in her traditional outfit.

At the camp, Sinethemba and other young people were taught about Swati customs.

On the last day of the camp a competition is held to choose the next Swati queen and king. Judges look at the contestants’ confidence in their cultural abilities, and were so impressed with Sinethemba that she was chosen as the tribe’s representatives.

Sinethemba entered Indoni because of her deep passion for and pride in the siSwati culture. She says her lessons in traditions taught her life ethics and how to maintain her norms and values as a young girl.

She places strong values in her traditional values like remaining pure of body and practising ubuntu. “The spirit of ubuntu is within me, tsandza lomunye ngalendlela ungafuna lomunye akutsandze.”

Sinethemba stated that Indoni is a good programme for young people because it addresses things such as teenage pregnancy, HIV/Aids and other social issues.

It also helps her to teach these values and solutions to other young people in her area, school and church.

READ: Miss Indoni SA is proud of her Swazi culture

Sinethemba hopes to win, as she wants to be a great example to other girls in their township. “I want to inspire them to change, value their virginity, be proud of their culture and aspire to do great things. Being a finalist means I am one of the best, a proud and confident girl.”

Indoni SA, a non-profit organisation, was launched in June 2011 to help combat the social ills young people face in their communities like the lack of respect, bankable skills to gain sustainable jobs, HIV/Aids, drug and alcohol abuse and teen pregnancies.

It celebrates SA’s rich culture and heritage by bringing together cultures from across the country and showcasing them through various activities and functions.

For more information on the programme, visit www.indoni.org.

Retha Nel

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