Basha Tlhapane, the woman behind the non-profit Woman and Beyond, has hopes of being crowned the next Mrs South Africa.
Ms Tlhapane, 41, of Table View, received her semi-finalist sash at a live casting in Pretoria in February.
She has been married to her husband, Herman Tlhapane, for 20 years and the couple have two sons, Timothy, 19, and Omolemo, 17.
She is a registered nurse and Woman and Beyond offers counselling and support to women and children affected by poverty. She also sits on the board of the CHOC Childhood Cancer Foundation.
Last year she clinched the humanitarian award at the seventh annual Fabulous Women Awards for her work with Women and Beyond.
Ms Tlhapane said she had “unfinished business” with the pageant as she had entered in 2014 but too many personal issues, including the death of her mother in-law, had prompted her to drop out.
“This time I must finish what I started,” said Ms Tlhapane who sees the pageant as an opportunity to develop herself.
She described the auditions as daunting, especially with the packed crowd at the Menlyn Park shopping centre where they were held.
Getting sponsorship to run in the pageant had been a challenge during the Covid-19 pandemic, she said.
“There are a lot of limitations due to Covid-19. Businesses are closing down so there are fewer doors to knock on, but I am keeping the faith that someone will come along and back my cause.”
Because of lockdown restrictions, the semi-finalists have attended weekly online training sessions covering topics from finances to skincare.
As an essential worker in the neonatal and paediatric wards at Milnerton Medi-clinic and Blouberg Netcare, Ms Tlhapane has been working since the start of lockdown and does her best to juggle it all. She said being exposed to Covid-19 daily in hospitals had spiked anxiety among medical professionals.
“Every day at the hospital puts you at immediate risk. It has also changed the dynamics a lot because mothers are not allowed into the wards anymore so you have to show extra care to the babies.”
Pageant spokeswoman Lisa Madibe said the year had thrown many businesses and events upside down.
“Despite that, Mrs South Africa has continued to operate, adapt and reinvent. In order to stay relevant to the current situation, we are excited to announce that, for the first time ever, we will select top 50 contestants from our current top 100, before going down to the top 25 finalists towards the end of 2020.”
The top 50 will be selected through a virtual judging process and announced on Women’s Day, August 9 by live-streaming.
The new Mrs South Africa will be crowned in February 2021.
Ms Tlhapane said walking away with the Mrs South Africa title would not only be a personal victory but testament to young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“I grew up in Lefatlheng a small village in the North West. There was no electricity or running water and going to school barefoot was a norm. I want to show the rural girl that you can achieve whatever you set your sights on.”