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Role of pageantry in addressing social ills

There are conflicting views on the role of beauty pageants in general, with some people arguing that there is too much objectification of women and trying to create a narrative about “standards” of what beauty is.

The Miss Namibia beauty pageant, which has existed since 1980 with Bernice Tembo as the first queen, has changed over the years with contestants coming up with certain causes to address social issues, among others.

Hazel !Garus-Oas, who is among the top 10 contestants of Miss Namibia 2024, says she advocates for the holistic well-being of the Namibian girl child under the theme “The Art of Health”. She added that the cause is rooted in the World Health Organization’s definition, which emphasizes that health is not simply the absence of disease, but includes physical, mental and social well-being.

“I want to raise awareness about the importance of art in children and advocate for free art programs. “My goal is to do this by visiting different art centers and talking to both facilitators and students about the positive impacts of being in a creative space as a child, and having these interactions documented visually and shared on social media platforms,” ​​he said. .

!Garus-Oas has already started working, reaching out to people he can contact within these respective departments and hopes to make some progress soon.

Another top 10 finalist, Jodie-Lee Barnard, says she is delighted to be among the top Miss Namibia finalists. She is dedicated to educating young women to prepare nutritious meals.

“Throughout this journey, my focus is on the conscious empowerment of women. My goal is to help young women discover their unique skills and talents, building confidence along the way. I will be dedicated to educating young women to prepare nutritious meals and use ingredients to their full potential to reduce food waste,” said the energetic Barnard, who is a qualified chef.

Georgia Garises ensures a place and someone who raises awareness about the impact fatherlessness has on children.

She stated, “I would love to provide services and support programs for fatherless children and their families. I plan to use my skills as a radio production student to have radio shows that may include social worker counseling, mentoring and educational programs that help children deal with the emotional and practical challenges associated with growing up without a father.”

She firmly believes that encouraging fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives is essential as it can have a significant positive impact on the child’s development and well-being.

A searing pain for Namibians right now is homelessness, and contestant Ruusa Angula says addressing this complex issue requires attention and action.

She said: “Through my low-cost housing initiative, ‘Shanty Town’, my vision is to eradicate homelessness in Namibia, providing assistance to those in need, restoring dignity, health and well-being, decent accommodation, comfort and sanitary facilities. access to on-site social workers, access to substance and alcohol abuse treatment,” she added.

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