For the first time Africa hosts the finals of the Mrs Universe competition at the Durban’s ICC on 2 September 2017. A partnership between MUT and Extramarks Education has resulted in the 84 finalists from all over the globe participating in a schools outreach programme as part of the Mrs Universe
corporate social responsibility initiative. Stakeholder Relations Director, Zama Sishi, said: “When we were approached by our partner Extramarks Education to create an opportunity for the contestants to experience the township, it made sense to recommend that they visit two female-led schools in Umlazi. On 28 August 2017 teams from Marcomms and Extramarks Education led the Mrs Universe contestants, and their publicists to Menzi and Vukuzakhe High Schools to explore possible partnership opportunities. We were honoured to have this visit endorsed by the KZN MEC for Education, Mthandeni Dlungwane, represented by Bheki Ntuli, Director of Umlazi District.” School principals described the event as part of their history and legacy for all Umlazi Township schools.” Ntuli thanked MUT for the role played by Zama and Mbali Mkhize, the Senior Director of MarComms. He said they showed passion for education. He also told the contestants that his district was performing well despite discrepancies in resources, a point hammered home by Muntu Ntombela, the Principal of Menzi high School. Both Ntuli and Ntombela acknowledged the role played by MUT’s MarComms department in getting them sponsored prizes such as lab equipment, computers and laptops. The envisaged spin-offs for this collaboration would be the Mrs Universe participants positioning these schools back in their different countries. MUT’s presence at Umlazi Township is adding value towards globalisation. It was phenomenal for the learners to really come face to face with these public figures from 84 countries.
Trisha Poona, the South African finalist in the Mrs Universe contest said they wanted to highlight the fact that women and children have rights which had to be respected. “Women and children should be allowed to take decisions about their bodies. They can say ‘no’. They should be provided with an atmosphere which would support their self-esteem,” she said. Trisha added that the main focus was to empower women.
This was a day of fun; the international representatives were entertained with the different South African cultural dances and music by Menzi and Vukuzakhe High Schools learners.