“I understood the assignment. I’m here to change people’s lives”
Former Miss South Arica Bokang Montjane -Tshabalala has a kiddies range that has black characters – a black princess and a black super hero. She is also the founder of Bokang Montjane foundation, and a Director of Bokang legacy, SB Powerhouse and Bereka Basadi; a woman who does it all with grace and humility.
“Being a daddy’s girls made me get away with so much” says Bokang. She is a middle child of two sisters and they had a beautiful childhood.
“Often when people hear I grew up in a rural area they automatically think I was poverty stricken but that was never the case for me” she adds. Bokang further explains that in Limpopo in an area called Ga-Mphahlele everyone was part of a community and neighbours were practically parents to the neighborhood kids.
Growing up as a dark skinned girl was almost disheartening to Montjane-Tshabalala however her father would continuously remind her how beautiful she is. “I remember my father would call me Boki special the most beautiful girl in the world”, she says. Bokang is a wife to celebrated soccer player Siphiwe Tshabalala and a mother of two children.
Bokang Legacy was established after high school when Bokang in agreement with her parents took a gap year. That was her first taste to being a businesswoman. After her graduation in Corporate Communication from the University of Johannesburg she entered Miss South Africa 2010/11.
Bokang explains: “I entered Miss SA in 2009 however I pulled out because it clashed with my final exams”. The second entry the following year proved to be a charm because that year she took the regions of Miss SA. Miss SA pageantry win opened doors for Bokang to global platforms which still to this day she is the only former Miss SA who represented South Africa on 4 top international pageants which are Miss Earth in 2007, Miss International in 2009, Miss World and Miss Universe. She did exceptionally well in all the pageants especially in Miss Earth and Miss World where she was in the top 6 out of 113 contestants.
“You can imagine what the title of Miss SA does for the winner! I literally jumped 10 steps ahead of my peers” she says.
Bokang Montjane foundation was established as an umbrella of all the CSI work she did before and after Miss SA. “Since Miss SA, I have been taking it one project at a time and have been doing what I’m passionate about says Bokang.
She is also an executive producer for the most watched talk show on South African television called Zaziwa which broadcasts on SABC 1 and has a beauty salon and events company SB Powerhouse in partnership with her husband.
There is a great purpose behind passion. Bokang has a strong personality which allows her to pursue her passion and goals whole heartedly. One of her many projects in making a change and changing lives is Dare to Dream – a nationwide campaign focusing on emphasizing the importance of education and tackling challenges such as drug abuse and teenage pregnancy.
Montjane-Tshabalala says: “one of the biggest obstacles to girls attending school is periods although not a huge impact can be done through one foundation however the Bokang Montjane Foundation which is aimed at keeping girls in school while retaining their dignity during their cycle is engaged in making a difference. Bokang foundation together with Siphiwe Tshabalala Foundation has partnered up to run one goal at a time and dikgoshigadi sports tournament. The tournaments are in impoverished areas. The aim of these tournaments is to keep kids focused and off the streets”.
A strong woman is someone who raises other women just like Bokang has done as a Director of Mrs Universe Africa. The Mrs Universe Africa pageantry aims to celebrate women who are married, divorced or widowed. Furthermore as we near Christmas one would think Bokang would slow down to ease into the next year but she keeps going because this time of the year her foundation goes to disadvantaged areas to give food parcels. She says: “the initiative is supported by Shoprite South Africa”.
Montjane-Tshabalala is driven by passion to make a difference in people’s lives and to live a legacy.
“Black child you are beautiful, Black child you are enough and you are special” Bokang adds. This notion of empowering a black child brewed books for a black child from Bokang and a kiddies clothing range representing a black characters by the name Queen Bokang and Super Shaba which can be bought at retails stores such as Jet, PEP and Edgars.
“I feel compelled and believe my life’s mission and purpose is to let an African child know who they really truly are. It’s a legacy I want to leave for my children and future generation”, she concludes.
By Sandra Lesenyeho