Mahadi Buthelezi recently entered the Mrs Gauteng 2021 pageant and has been selected as one of the finalists. In her column this week, Mahadi discusses how her faith motivated her to enter the competition and how she hopes to use the platform to feed the hungry.
As a woman of faith, I am frequently moved with compassion by all the suffering that exists in the world. I have often asked myself how can I remain indifferent to reports such as this recent Vatican News article, which revealed that a staggering 26.4% of the world population faces food insecurity, a situation made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. So much of that poverty is right here in sub-Saharan Africa, on our own doorstep.
At the same time, I am grateful for how much I have been given and am called to give back. I have been blessed with many opportunities to change the lives of ordinary people. In my work as the CEO of the Catholic Business Forum — which promotes ethical and moral business decisions — and my participation in the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities and sitting on the national task team of the UN Women SA’s Generation Equality, I have discovered that I am a philanthropist and humanitarian at heart.
I have learnt that when I give my time to help someone else become the master of their own destinies, I am learning from them and I grow as a person.
Yes, I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, a speaker and writer. I have more than enough to keep me busy. But when I read in the media about the thousands or millions of people whose lives are in jeopardy, I cannot remain silent. As a humanitarian, I believe that my life has value and is worth being cared for, but this is also true for anyone else. My faith and sense of community impel me to find spaces where I can uphold and value each person and care for them.
A humanitarian at heart
It is no wonder, then, that something like the RoleModels Foundation’s philanthropic Mrs Gauteng pageant caught my attention. Its mission is to intervene in impoverished communities by creating self-sustainability through education and skills development. This will in turn, eradicate poverty. This mission resonated with my desire to give back, empower and inspire others, especially women and girls. They do what I love. That is why I entered the competition.
My hope is that through a platform like Mrs Gauteng pageant, we can share information, work towards a better future and inspire others to do the same. Mrs Gauteng offers me and the other finalists a real opportunity to lay the foundation for the next generation to continue the work we start.
Each of the Mrs Gauteng 2021 finalists are required to take on a social project. Inspired by the food insecurity report I mentioned earlier and the work of the World Council of Churches (WCC)’s “Week of Action on Food” which seeks to create a more sustainable future, I resolved that my project would involve feeding the hungry. I am raising funds and am collecting canned food that will be distributed to the causes that the RoleModels Foundation supports.
I don’t know where this journey will take me. What I do know is that God has a plan for me through my participation in this forum and I am certain that my efforts, no matter how small, will contribute to the kind of South Africa in which we all want to live.