Alexandra’s Boipelo Mabe, who was recently crowned the first runner-up in the Miss SA 2017 pageant is an example of a conquering human spirit who also believes in herself.
She hopes to inculcate self-confidence in the younger generation in the township, especially in those who come from impoverished backgrounds.
Mabe had a stroke of good luck and took the first runner-up position after Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Ade van Heerden assumed the Miss Universe and Miss South Africa titles respectively.
Her dream became a reality after she excelled in modelling and education in the poverty-stricken township which is notorious for all sorts of malaise, crime and vice. Fortunately, Mabe’s family and community shielded her from the crime in the township.
“Dreams are achievable, provided one has a purpose in life [as well as] solid support. I will use my vantage position as a beacon to bring hope, especially to girls without parental support and care. They are made vulnerable to danger by peer pressure, temptation and misguidance by those [who want] to exploit them. I want to help them regain self-esteem,” Mabe said.
Discussing teenage pregnancies, she said young women need to know how to exercise control over their own bodies. “Despite the information age overload, most of them have no one to talk to. They lack knowledge of sexual issues and prevention methods and need to know that its okay to say no and to report abusers.”
She said the trending culture of ‘pens down’ when schoolchildren celebrate the end of their matric year with binge drinking resulted from the community reneging on their parental responsibilities.
“Parents ought to take a stand and enlighten [their] children about the better life that awaits them after matric. This [is possible] if they take care of themselves, respect family values and avoid endangering themselves through anti-social conduct, putting themselves at risk through drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and abductions associated with uncontrolled celebrations.”
She said despite broken down family structures, the parents and families in the community still have positive values to teach their children and shouldn’t look to government for solutions.
“They should take a stand by inculcating respect in [their children], values of Ubuntu and be involved in their lives. They should also lobby for the life orientation curriculum in schools to teach children how to make smart choices and, to intensify sex education to prevent unrelenting HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancies and drug abuse.”
Mabe also sympathised with development organisations that struggle to change hardened cultural attitudes which promote the stigma and prevent the adoption of preventive measures against HIV which is decimating the youth and children.
“Until there is buy-in by all, the stereotyp[ing] and scourge will continue as people fear testing and seeking treatment. Society should be enlightened to break down this barrier through education and awareness raising by these organisations.”
With other dangers looming during the festive season, Boipelo urged the youth to stay safe, enjoy their families and, reflect on and plan for the new year.
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