The South African Students Congress (SASCO) branch on the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine campus recently hosted a Miss Laboratory Medicine beauty contest aimed at raising awareness around the issue of breast cancer and, most importantly, to remind those who are already diagnosed that they are beautiful irrespective of their situation.
Ms Pamela Jali, a second-year Medical student, was crowned queen.
Said SASCO branch secretary Mr Nkosinathi Ndebele: ‘In October the first thing that comes to mind is that it is breast cancer awareness month. Millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and unfortunately many of them end up losing the battle because they were diagnosed in the late stages of the disease.
‘Predictions are that by 2030 the incidence of cancer in South Africa will have increased by 78%, which means that early detection remains key. As Medical students, we believe that our duty is to promote healthy behaviour and health awareness in our communities.’
First princess was Miss Zekhethelo Pearl Mbhele of Ladysmith while second princess was Miss Nondumiso Carolìnà Mpakama of the Eastern Cape. There were 13 entrants in total and 10 were short-listed to participate in the pageant.
The main organiser of the event, Miss Sibusisiwe Mbuqe, said: ‘The aims of the pageant, apart from creating breast cancer awareness, were also to ensure that the cultural diversity of our various communities is recognised, that we equip ourselves with the necessary knowledge to make a difference in our community, that we understand the concept of feminism and come up with a common vision for young women at Medical School and continue to emphasise the importance of women in our community.
‘We as SASCO were looking for someone who is confident, outspoken, elegant, able to interact with a crowd, has political and social knowledge and who could be a great ambassador and spokesperson for SASCO. We found that in Pamela Jali, who is blessed with beauty and brains.’
SASCO raised sponsorships for the event which they hosted jointly with UKZN’s Peer Wellness programme.
The queen received a R3 000 prize, her first princess R2 000 and the second princess R1 000.
Jali, who matriculated at Pinetown Girl’s High, was excited about winning. ‘During the contest, we were judged on our confidence, articulation, creativity, elegance and physical appearance. To be honest I never planned to enter as I’m not popular at the Medical School but I am looking forward to being the perfect ambassador for SASCO.’