Every pageant entrant has a unique story to tell about the pursuit of taking home the crown. But what’s more interesting is the story of a married woman and mother who takes her shot at a dream.
South African businesswoman Given Mnane is a mother, mentor and top 40 finalist for the Mrs. Africa Pageant. In this chat, she lets us know why she mentors girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, lets us see behind the scenes of pageantry. Given also shares why she hopes to win the Mrs. Africa title. Inspired yet? Keep reading, it gets better.
Has it always been modelling for you or did it just happen?
Honestly, it just happened.
After my first child, I needed to keep myself busy so I entered my first Pageant, Mrs. Rustenburg in 2011 which I won and as they say, the rest is history.
What did it take to make it to the semi-finals of Mrs. Africa.
I had to fill in grilling questionnaires and send in my pictures. Being already involved in charity also helped me get considered as a finalist. All it took was my knowledge and love for my continent and my country.
When you love someone or something it becomes easy for you to care, protect, grow, assist and to devote your time and attention to that.
I’ve always loved Africa and for some weird reason, I was expecting to be in the top 100 at the very least but to my surprise, I made the top 40. Being here, for me, it means I can use this platform to bring the much needed change that the disadvantaged of my community need.
I’m on a platform that allows me to change a young disadvantaged girl’s life through the Dignity Dreams Foundation —a foundation that provides girls with washable/reusable pads.
Tell us about your motivational talks.
First, I believe in human greatness and I always speak on issues that encourage people to find themselves and to establish who they really are.
I believe everyone has a God-given purpose to fulfill and I try to assist whoever cares to listen find purpose and live life to the full.
I’m very passionate about the development of women and girls and I largely speak on issues that affect or hinder women’s growth. I do corporate and private functions, MC jobs, conferences etc.
Besides modelling, what do you do?
I am the proud owner and director of a company called Onalekgato Consultancy Empire. This still-developing company offers a variety of services like life-coaching and image consultation. We are branching into home design & hopefully, Architecture. The aim is to give our clients a holistic and solid lifestyle – from their home to their looks.
I’m also a lecturer at my local community college called Iphatlhose in Tlhabane, under the department of higher education. I teach Natural Sciences.
I mentor Given’s Angels, a few young women from all walks of life. Given’s Angels is a social club aimed at assisting young ladies in becoming aware of life’s issues. We help them become exceptional and independent women.
I’m a philanthropist, I do charity work around my city Rustenburg. I collect clothing and shoes then distribute them to the needy. I also do events to raise money for homes/shelters. Lately, I’m raising money to buy Dignity Dream packs for girls so they don’t miss school during their periods.
How do you handle the pressure, especially as you are involved in a lot of projects?
I have pastimes like seeing movies and baking. When I feel pressured, I do things for fun. This helps me get a clearer picture of what I should be doing.
I believe one has to work hard but play just as hard.
Soapie or drama?
Nothing wrong with soapies I guess, but they are just not for me. I wasted too much time on soapies growing up, time that I can’t get back.
I’m going to choose drama instead, even though I prefer documentaries.
You’re also a mentor. When did you start mentoring? How do you pick your mentees?
I started in 2012 with one girl and by 2014, my mentorship program had grown to 18 girls and 5 women. I always allow my mentees spread their wings. It’s easier that way to ascertain if they’ve learned anything and can stand on their own feet without me being their support.
This year, I resorted to having a manageable number of 12 mentees and they are starting to flourish already. I always choose my girls based on their background. I prefer the girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, girls with low self esteem, those that feel hopeless and sidelined.
What will winning Mrs. Africa mean to you?
It will mean I can make my continent great by empowering African women. There’s a famous saying; ”Empower a man, you have empowered a community, empower a woman, you have empowered the entire nation.”
Africa needs women who will rise up and make it great. Winning this title will break the barriers of the ‘no entry’ and ‘not adequate enough’ signs that have labeled me. I will be able to steer my continent towards the right direction.
Want to see women you know featured on SLA? Tell us what amazing things women are doing in your communities here.