When meeting young Anani Dimbaza (11) from Gordon’s Bay, she radiates a great deal of self-confidence, beauty, and poise, and suitably so, for this young beauty queen will soon be competing in the Little Miss South Africa Pageant.
Anani, a Grade 6 pupil at Gordon’s Bay Primary School and her mom Lindeka Dimbaza shares how the news about her selection as one of the finalists for the national beauty pageant has been joyously overwhelming, leaving them in a frenzied state of excitement.
Even more so, as the mom and daughter-duo are die-hard fans of the Miss SA pageant and religiously watched and enjoyed past pageants with great admiration.
Anani entered the competition last year in November. “I saw the competition on Instagram and immediately ran to my mom to ask her if I could enter.” They completed the entry and registration processes and went through the online judging process. “Then we got the email that I was one of the finalists and I was so happy,” an elated Anani exclaims.
In answer to what prompted her entry, she says: “I don’t know, when I was younger pageantry wasn’t a thing I was into, I don’t think I even knew what it was. So, when I saw the pageant last year, I thought this could become a new thing for me and I could discover new things.”
Anani is an energetic and bubbly pre-teen. Her mom describes her as someone who gets bored easily, always on the lookout for something new.
She loves contemporary dancing, hip-hop, acting, plays netball and goes swimming once a week, but even with an existing jam-packed schedule, she was drawn to the uniqueness of pageantry, with a special interest in the confidence it requires, she says.
“The confidence that most models have and walk in, they don’t care about anything or what anyone says, and they just keep their heads up high and walk confidently. I just love that,” she says.
Confidence, her mom says is a natural character trait, Anani displayed since a young age.
“Also instilling it from a young age and teaching her that ‘you are beautiful as you are’ and the live recital of her poetry at school, I think, gave her even more confidence,” Ms Dimbaza adds.
Anani, though, is not your stereotypical vain pageant contestant as they have traditionally been perceived as, but she is quite soulful, creative, a deep thinker and loves expressing this side of her through poetry. A skill, which has won her the 2017 and 2019 Dux awards in Poetry at her school.
This young beauty queen already also has a determined spirit of philanthropy. Her current, School Shoe Project entails the collection of school shoes for boys and girls which she then donates to ACJ Phakade Primary School in Strand.
“Some people would get bullied because maybe they don’t have like the best school uniforms, or their school shoes are worn out, broken, torn, that’s what inspired me to get new school shoes for other kids so that they can at least have something that they are confident about and the bullies can leave them alone.”
At such a young, she already understands the value of positive self-talk and affirmation. “I want to encourage people of my age to know they can do what they want to do, regardless of where they are from, or how they look, your size, height, colour; nothing matters you just need to have self-confidence and believe in yourself.
“You don’t need to look a certain way that people envision a model,” says Anani, who describes herself as being shorter in height than the models her age, a shortcoming, which doesn’t diminish her confidence at all.
Former Miss SA winners inspire her and 2021 Miss SA winner, Lalela Mswane, KwaZulu-Natal was especially a great inspiration. “It was amazing and wonderful to see her win. It inspired me to think that maybe I could be on that stage one day and reach that platform to inspire others.”
She remains most fond of Miss SA and Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi. “She is my favourite. I like that she is very confident, doesn’t care about what anyone says, she is herself and she’s not going to change herself just to please other people. I take that to note deeply, because I wouldn’t change myself for others too.”
Anani will compete in the pageant finale on Saturday and Sunday 26 and 27 March, 2022, at Emperors Palace in Gauteng. “At first it was overwhelming, but the support we got from friends and family who voted for Anani has been the highlight for us,” says Mrs Dimbaza about their experience thus far.
Her husband and Anani’s dad, Mthombolwazi, helps to coordinate the school shoes initiative. Their dream for Anani? “I always tell her that education comes first, even if she’s model, like with Zozi and others, they’ve graduated. So, she must make sure she studies, get her degree and then she can be a model.”
The public can vote for Anani as well. Votes cost R3 per vote and Anani’s voting reference code is LMS13. Votes are paid by making a payment into the Little Miss South Africa account. The account name is Little Miss South Africa, with account number: 12114493644. WhatsApp proof of payment to 067 222 7216.