by Louise McAuliffe, originally published 11 December 2009

Tatum Keshwar former miss south africa durbanOur very own precious gem, Miss Tatum Keshwar, will be representing South Africa at the Miss World 2009 pageant being held at Gallagher Estates, Johannesburg tomorrow night.

“With just one day to go before the Miss World pageant, I think that everyone in South Africa is hoping that I will take the crown. Of course there are no guarantees. I have done my best, ” said Tatum.

“In my role as Miss South Africa, I have dedicated my year to the South Africa people – this year has been about you. I have tried my hardest. My life is going to start a completely new chapter after I hand over my crown regardless of the possible outcome of the Miss World pageant,” said Keshwar.

Keshwar anticipates a lot of excitement next year. She said: “I would like to get some corporate experience, get into business and possibly a TV presenting career as well.”
Touring around the country with the Miss World contestants has been a special experience for Keshwar. “I got to see South Africa through the eyes of the contestants. Seeing their excitement at viewing all the new places was wonderful. I am now even more convinced that we have a very beautiful county that we should all be proud of.”

Keshwar was also most interested to hear the perceptions that some of the contestants had of South Africa before arriving here in Johannesburg five weeks ago. “I was fielding questions such as do you have lions in your backyard; can you keep a cub as a pet; is there still apartheid and how are people treated nowadays.”

Keshwar said that this was a wonderful opportunity for her to paint a new picture of what South Africa is like. “I highlighted the progress that we have made over the last 15 years of our democracy. The changes that have taken place and how South Africa has grown and gone from strength to strength.

“I think that now with all the ladies seeing the country they can all go home and say that South Africa is beautiful and I am sure that they will walk away from this pageant as 111 more ambassadors for our country.”

Sharing more about her fellow contestants Keshwar said: “It takes a specific personality to take part in this type of pageant and that is why there is such great camaraderie amongst all the ladies.

In mentioning some of the ladies that she has especially gelled with, Keshwar said: “Definitely my room mate Miss Jamaica plus Miss Scotland, Miss France, Miss Gibraltar – there is a huge bunch of us in our group called the ’King African Penguins’ and we have all gotten on so well.

“I must admit that the last six weeks of my reign as Miss South Africa have definitely the most hectic. It has been very demanding on my schedule to keep to my commitments as Miss SA, and making sure that the Miss World contestants have a great time whilst here.”
Keshwar admitted that her energy levels are waning with just one day left before the Miss World pageant. “But I must say that I have had a great physiological advantage with hosting the Miss World pageant, and knowing that locals would come out in their droves to support me.

“Where ever we went people came out screaming my name and that has given me the energy to go the extra mile for the duration of the pageant activities.”

source: Sowetan Online