Miss Heritage Free State talks about discovering her identity

Play Your Part ambassador Reabetswe Mabine says celebrating your heritage is more than just your attire and your cultural norms.

miss heritage free state reabetswe mabine
Reabetswe Mabine, a Play Your Part ambassador, says everyone is called for something. “It is important to use your gifts and talents in making South Africa a better place.” (Image: Hlasela TV Online)

Melissa Javan
Reabetswe Mabine, Miss Heritage Free State 2016, says she celebrates her heritage daily. The 22-year-old learned during her time as Miss Heritage that heritage did not particularly have to do with dress or specific cultural norms.

“If it was so, I would only be of relevance on Heritage Day,” she says, laughing.

“You need to remember the concept of our identity holistically, that is: who we are, where we have come from as a society and as individuals, as well as where we are going.

“All of this creates a sense of heritage,” she says. “Therefore how I celebrate my heritage on a daily basis is by remembering my identity in Christ.”

Mabine is also an avid reader – her favourite books include the Bible and The Lady: The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela by Emma Gilbey.

She spoke about herself and her role as Miss Heritage Free State in a Q&A with Brand South Africa.

What prompted you to want to make an impact in your community?

I have been involved with community projects since I was about 20. That is when I started identifying the various needs among primary- and high school female learners.

I entered my first pageant, and while engaging with these young ladies, I would notice some of the socio-economic problems they faced on a daily basis.

There is the need for empowerment, in terms of one-on-one mentorship. [Many of them also need] school uniforms and sanitary towels.

I want to enable them to become successful individuals in society despite coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In what projects are you involved?

I am mainly involved with projects that have to do with building the confidence of the girl child, thus providing her with the necessary tools to succeed in life. These may be anything from collecting sanitary towels, to bursaries, to matric farewell dresses.

What were the highlights of your year as Miss Heritage Free State?

My highlight of the pageant was when I won of course. But most importantly, when my initial purpose of entering the pageant was fulfilled, which was to discover my identity as a young individual and stand firm in it.

This was manifested when I started speaking and mentoring young girls in the province. Encouraging them to know who they are and strive to achieve their dreams regardless of their circumstances.

[I relate to them] because many times I felt disadvantaged in achieving my dreams merely because of my background.

Do you use technology and social media to spread your message?

Yes, as a millennial and a communications major at the University of the Free State, I have come to learn that social media has become one of the biggest platforms in terms of spreading a message. It is also largely accessible by most people.

Therefore, I use my Facebook, Instagram and even WhatsApp accounts to encourage people and get support for whichever worthy cause or project that I am busy with at that moment.

Why should all South Africans play their part in their communities and be brand ambassadors for South Africa?

They say that two is better than one – read Ecclesiastes 4:9. Therefore, it will not only take the government’s intervention to correct the wrongs of the country. Each citizen playing an active role, however small it may be, to salvage our country’s current situation.

How do you start making a difference in your community?

Start small. Find what you are most passionate about and go find the need for that thing.

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