By: Donsy Kunene

Representing the KZN Province on the much anticipated pageant Miss Gay SA 2017, is none other than our own auspicious 32 year old, Melissa Mbambo from the small rural area Inchanga in Pietermaritzburg.  She is one of the six finalists.

A part time stylist and a sparkling transwoman cannot wait to show off her beauties and modellings skills at the Carnival City, Johannesburg in November where she will be competing with other fabulous contestants from other provinces.

Being the 5th child among 9 siblings, she was looking up to her elder sisters Bonita and Brenda who are the inspiration behind her interest in being a Beauty Queen one day. She is known in the family as the lover of glitz and glamour. During an exclusive interview with uniQ Magazine Mbambo said the growth she sees in the pageant industry also inspired her to keep going regardless of the challenges.

“Some challenges I came across in this industry is the fear of failure, discrimination, jealous, lack of support from community and stereotypes. I overcome these challenges by keeping my head up high by not letting anyone step on my way and to believe in myself as an individual that I can do best in all. Pageant it not a game, you have to stay focus all the time in order to achieve what you believe in.”

“The love and support my family shown me by accepting my sexuality and femininity especially my mother, helped me to be where I am today. Being a catholic I put God first in everything I do and to have a mother like my mother added more value in my life cause I’m this strong person I am today because of her” said Melissa.

Mbambo’s footprints and accolades tracks back from 2008 when she won best dressed person at the Golden Horse Casino in Scottville for sprint day then later in December he was crowned Miss Gay KZN 2008 then the following year she became Ms Gay Sobantu 2009. She never stopped since then, she climbed the ladder and crowned Queen of Africa 2010, Ms Gay India 2011, 1st princess Ms Gay Durban 2011, Ms Durban Pride 2012, Ms KZN 13/14 scooping the crown away from the straight girls as well.

1st princess Ms PMB 2013, Ms Drag Superstar 2014, Best model 2015, 1st princess Ms Mzansi 2016, Ms Asia Pacific 2016, Ms Diva of Note 2017 now she is the finalist for Miss Gay RSA 2017.

Asked about being Miss Gay Finalist and being part of such a prestigious pageant means a lot and it motivates him. She further said it gives her the ideas of wrong and right, morals values and rules of life. She says she wants people to say positive things about her since she is a people’s person. If Mbambo takes the Miss Gay 2017 crown away she is looking forward into being a tool for social change as she wishes to see the South African country educated, knowledgeable and understanding the issues around LGBTIQ based on the Human Rights found in the constitution.

As a focused and purpose driven individual, Mbambo is planning to put all his efforts into preparing for Miss Gay RSA 2017 pageant as whole. After Miss Gay SA, he would like to be involved in philanthropist motivating and empowering young people into confidence boosting their self-esteem. As a brand she will be more focusing on supporting other trans-gendered people like her leaving the legacy.

About Miss Gay RSA 2017

Miss Gay RSA Pageant is a registered National Beauty Pageant, founded by Mrs Ira Pillay and award winning Humanitarian (Sunrise Woman Awards 2016) and Fag-hag-heterosexual woman who has strong understanding, support and emphathy towards the LGBTIQ community.

Mrs Pillay is a well-known heterosexual Beauty Queen holding the following titles:

  • Mrs United Nations SA Finalist 2015
  • Semi-finalists Mrs South Africa 2015
  • Mrs Mpumalanga 2nd runner-up 2016
  • 1st runner-up Mrs Lowveld 2016
  • Mrs Africa Finalist 2016
  • Mrs Africa Universal SA 2017

This Pageant aims to forge bonds and unity in a divided community. Miss Gay RSA Beauty Pageant is aimed at inspiring and empowering transwomen by giving them a hopeful platform to demonstrate how both, inward beauty and physical appearance are equally as important, as leadership and confidence. Our goal is to showcase the beauty, diversity, talent and intelligence of transgender women. We would also like this Pageant to serve as a venue for the LGBT Community, their allies and the mainstream community to join together to understand the day to day life, its challenges and struggles that transgender people face and to celebrate the triumphs and victories of this strong and courageous community. For the Candidates, this Pageant will provide many benefits. It serves to boost their confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Transgender persons are oftentimes rejected, marginalised and alienated in our society. A recent study concluded that a staggering number of Transgender people consider suicide during their lifetime. It is crucial, that these beautiful and wonderful transgender women be reminded of their true worth and dignity as human beings. We would like to see our contestants and winners perusing their chosen careers without discrimination as an inspiration to Transgender people in general. Through the journey of pageants, lifelong friendships has been formed, young transgenders find mentors and find support from a family where they are accepted and appreciated. The pageant serves as a platform where we can bring to light our advocacies. For a community that is often neglected, this Pageant serves as a means to deliver our message to the public that we may be different, but deserving of equal rights and the dignity afforded to all humans. For our first annual of Miss Gay RSA 2017 Beauty Pageant we wanted to be different from other National Pageants and we were inspired and motivated by their dedication and commitment.

In celebrating the diversity of our Nation we have decided to honour the creator of the Iconic Gay Pride Rainbow flag, the late Gilbert Baker, who have passed away on March 31, 2017. Now, each Finalist will not only representing their Province which they come from, but they will each also representing a colour from the Gay Flag. The Newly crowned Miss Gay RSA 2017 will have the privilege to wear all 6 colours.