Durban welcomes the world as 84 Mrs Universe contestants jet in
Durban today rolled out the red carpet and gave the world a taste of KwaZulu-Natal’s trademark warm hospitality as it officially welcomed international Mrs Universe contestants to our magnificent province. Women from more than 80 countries will compete for the Mrs Universe crown at Durban’s Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on 2 September 2017 after the city clinched the rights to host the activist-themed, global women empowerment event for the first time in Africa.
Contestants began jetting into the city yesterday with the remaining women and their entourages arriving later today. They have a full seven-day programme that involves taking in the sights and sounds of KZN, the #OneVoice march against gender-violence, child abuse and human trafficking, and visiting schools in the greater Durban area to spread inspire children and stress the important of education and self-development.
Unlike other similar events, Mrs Universe is a women empowerment initiative that acknowledges married women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are doing phenomenal work to uplift and enhance their local communities through CSI initiatives, business development and global trade opportunities.
Speaking at the briefing at the Riverside Conference Centre at the Riverside Hotel, Mrs Universe 2017 Hosting Director: Africa, Durban resident, Tracey-Anne Aggett, welcomed “the world to South Africa” and emphasised the event’s theme, Empowering Women. Creating Change. “Every aspect of this event is geared towards connecting countries from around the world so we can fight the global crisis of gender-based violence, child abuse and human trafficking. We want to stand with one voice with every victim and at the same time educate young women about their rights. All the contestants have their own inspiring stories of overcoming vast challenges to achieve phenomenal things. We are using Mrs Universe as the platform to share this message that despite challenges and setbacks,
women can go on to achieve, both on a personal level and making meaningful contributions to their respective communities.”
Referring to the Mrs Universe World Final on 2 September 2017, Aggett promised an event “that will be a celebration of women and a celebration of Africa. It’s all about the entertainment, costumes, dance, fashion – an all-in-all night of glitz and glamour – a night that Durban will remember and the world will marvel at!”
Event co-director, Vino Naidoo, extended a warm welcome to the contestants and urged them to have a great time in Durban. eThekwini Councillor, Richard Hlope, who represented the city at the media briefing as well as the civic organisation, SANCO, stressed the importance of the women empowerment theme of Mrs Universe 2017 and highlighted the fact that it synergises with the municipality’s women- empowerment and gender-education programmes.
Contestants have an intensive schedule over the next week, one of the highlights of which is the #OneVoice march on 30 August 2017. eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, will lead the march from King Dinizulu Park to the Durban City Hall. Civic organisation, SANCO, various women’s groups and organisations working to combat gender-based violence, schools and members of the public are invited to the protest to create awareness of and take a stand against the international scourge of violence against women and children and human trafficking that affects every country. Simultaneous peaceful protests will be held across the. Mrs Universe contestantss from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, India, U.S.A, Ukraine, North Asia and Gibraltar to name a few, have organised #OneVoice marches in their home countries to coincide with the Durban event. Here in SA, interest groups and individuals from around the country who cannot travel to Durban will be hosting their own #OneVoice activations on a smaller scale. “We’ve been truly humbled by the support,” says Aggett.
“The interest from men and women across the country has been overwhelming and inspirational. People want their voices heard and action to be taken. As South Africans and as members of a global community, we want to amplify awareness and steamroll action plans.”