Miss Teen World South Africa finalist 2022 and Miss Teen International South Africa finalist 2022 Keleabetswe Dingoko is all about promoting positive mental health among her peers.
Despite the 18-year-old having enjoyed the pageant industry since the age of two, she said she suffered a bad bout of depression when she was 14.
This is the reason she has returned to the industry in a quest to be the voice for other girls like her.
“I did not just enter [when she was older] because of vanity and I wanted to be in the spotlight. I wanted to promote positive mental health amongst young men and women,” she said.
“I want young men to feel confident enough to speak about their feelings and break the stereotypes that ‘men don’t cry’, and I wanted to promote self-love and confidence among young women. Young people are dealing with depression, drug addiction, and alcoholism all stemming from issues that wither their confidence, unstable homes, and self-esteem.”
Having dealt with issues of low self-esteem and confidence, it took Keleabetswe time to build her own confidence. The Kempton Park-born model and motivational speaker said she suffered with adolescent issues of low self-esteem.
“I questioned my value and my existence. I doubted myself and have had many negative thoughts that affected my mental health,” she says.
“I undermined myself. I did not think I was good enough. It took support from my mom for me to be able to work on my confidence. But not many young people have a support structure and that is why I believe I can be a source of support.”
She has since been a support system for her peers in her neighborhood and at school.
“Many people confide in me, and I have seen this as a strength. I share my journey and how my spirituality has helped to uplift me.”
Keleabetswe is now joining forces with organisations working with developing young people.
“It started with me identifying my own problem, dealing with them, and then being able to lend a helping hand. I want to be involved more with projects that involve mental health. I will be going to schools to have motivational talks and sharing my journey and what keeps me motivated.”
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