It has been an exciting few days for Miss South Africa 2022 runner-up Ayanda Thabethe. The 23-year-old will be representing this country as Miss Supranational South Africa at the pageant to be held in Poland on July 14; this in the same week that she launches her advocacy campaign Project Khulisa. The latter aims to help communities struggling with food insecurity, while also opening critical discussions around nutrition and the country’s double burden of malnutrition and obesity.
Thabethe is delighted to be the South African representative at Miss Supranational: “I have some big shoes to fill. Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane is the reigning Miss Supranational and she in turn took the crown from Miss Namibia Chanique Rabe. I am looking forward to this next step in my journey. However, just as important to me, is the launch of Project Khulisa which I hope will make a difference in communities who need it most.”
Thabethe has always been passionate about food security and nutrition and was in her final year of a BSc in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the University of KwaZulu Natal when she entered the pageant last year.
“I believe that good food is the beginning of a better life for everyone and nourishment is the cornerstone. My goal is to improve the future of all South Africans through nutritional intervention and innovation by mobilising food solutions through initiatives such as community vegetable gardens, food parcels and education around diet. By breaking the poverty cycle, I hope to combat malnutrition and hunger,” she said.
Througout her Project Khulisa campaign (“khulisa” is the isiZulu word for “to grow” or “magnify”), Thabethe will be sharing cost effective food recipes while starting discussions on social media around how what we eat affects our health.
Says Thabethe: “After visiting a KZN orphanage, I was surprised at how little consideration is taken by those preparing and funding the meals into providing the children with nutrient-dense meals as most of their meals are supplied by their schools during the day. I hope to transform the standard of food given to children in schools under the National School Nutrition Programme as well as starting a much needed conversation about following a healthy diet and the importance of it. I’ll be getting my hands dirty starting up these gardens while also posting short videos on all aspects of healthy living from the do’s and don’ts to practical examples.”
What is her advice to ordinary South Africans battling inflation and trying to feed their families each month?
“It makes financial sense to become a more savvy shopper by comparing prices on similar, if not exactly the same, items; adding up rewards on loyalty cards and figuring out if it is cheaper to buy in bulk. Browse the aisles of different supermarket chains or make comparisons on shopping apps because there are plenty of discounts and specials to be found. A shopping list that is actually made before entering the store is another crucial factor. Savings are at the mercy of temptation! The bulk of our population can only afford the basics and focusing on the necessities, and one way to do this is by experimenting with more cost effective brands. Finally, instead of purchasing fresh produce, try starting your own vegetable garden. Watch my social media in the coming weeks as I will be showing you how to do this.”
Thabethe will also host ongoing roundtable discussions on social media with special guests to talk about various topics applicable to her campaign.