“I think for me it’s about the conversations that we have in our societies, right now the conversation about mental health is not to rehabilitate our society but rather to shame…”
South Africa’s newly crowned Miss South Africa, Shudufhadzo Musida is officially an ambassador of Brand South Africa.
Welcomed by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya and Brand South Africa’s leadership at the Presidency in Pretoria on Monday, her new ambassador role will make her part of a collective of ambassadors who raises the South African flag as they articulate the country identity, eyeing long-term positive reputation and global competitiveness.
Musida says her main focus is to address issues of mental health since it is a taboo topic in Africa at large. She will now collaborate with the office of the Presidency to raise awareness and improve understanding about mental health issues.
She says the topic of mental health is still a taboo topic in most of African societies. “I think for me it’s about the conversations that we have in our societies, right now the conversation about mental health is not to rehabilitate our society but rather to shame, I think that needs to change,” said Musida.
“I think it needs to start on how we speak and engage with one another, a huge change can come about. We also need to look at programs that exist in bridging the gap between access to mental health care for people that suffer from the condition and those are the programs I want to focus on,” she said.
The month of October was declared Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa, with the objective of not only educating the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to.
“I come from a rural area where people do not have access to basic mental health care and it is not something that is spoken about, and to bridge that will be a very important step in the right direction,” said Musida.
“We decided as a presidency that we will honour our newly crowned Miss SA, when she won we were captured by her content, we have committed that we will work with her through my office to ensure that we speak to South Africans about mental health ,” said Deputy Minister in the Presidency, Ms Thembi Siweya.
Musida, who hails from Limpopo province was crowned Miss SA on the 24th October in an event that was held in Cape Town.
By Zingizwa Mndayi