Khakhu (21) is determined to pursue modelling despite the discrimination she faces because she is someone with a disability. She uses callipers – raised shoes with crunches – to walk because left leg is shorter than her right. 

She was recently crowned Miss Congeniality, a beauty contest for women with disabilities in Vhembe.

“One of the reasons I participate in beauty contests is to show other disabled women that we can overcome our disability status and lead a normal happy life,” she says. 

In June this year, Khakhu won the title of Miss Mashamba, where she competed with fully able students.

“When I decided to participate in contest at school (Vhembe TVET college, Mashamba campus) many told me that I was just wasting my time but deep inside me I knew that I had it in me to win.”

The time has come 

She’d like to be the first disabled women from Limpopo to participate in Miss Universe in the future. 

“I believe it’s about time that disabled women be noticed. I think it’s about time that able people start treating disabled people with love, respect and afford us enough opportunities as having a disability does not mean that we must be treated unequally,” she says.

More than one way 

Khakhu is currently studying Farming Management with the aim of owning a farm in the future. 

“One of the reasons why I chose to study farming management is because I believe that agriculture is the backbone of our economy and it can be used to empower disabled women from rural villages,” says Khakhu.

A Miss Congeniality pageant organiser, Uafhindula Lalamani says their main aim is to expose women with disabilities to various job prospects.

“With the annual pageant we are basically trying to expose them to different things so that they have various career opportunities to choose from,” he says. – Health-e News

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.