Fast forward to 2019 and although there is still some progress to be made, it is fair to say that the landscape is completely different.
On the 9th of August 2019, one of South Africa's most proudly female spectacles will be taking place as Pretoria hosts the annual Miss South Africa pageant at Time Square Arena in the evening.
While 16 finalists will be vying for the crown, the real winner on the night will be every single South African woman who feels inspired and empowered by the words and actions of their role models on the screen.
But what exactly does Women Empowerment look like? A number of this year's finalists took a moment to share their opinions in a release shared with ZAlebs earlier this week.
“The solution is to take the lead from President Cyril Ramaphosa who has a 50% female-led cabinet. That same principle needs to be replicated across all public and private sectors,” says Sibabalwe Gcilitshana from the Eastern Cape. It's a sentiment that she hopes to see echoed in the workplace too.
Fellow Eastern-Caper, Zozibini Tunzi further added: “The misconception about women empowerment is that it means giving power to women. That isn’t its purpose, women already have the power. Women empowerment is about enhancing and encouraging those deep reservoirs of power.”
This year's Miss South Africa will be more closely contested than ever before. Having whittled down a record number of entries to these 16 finalists, we don't envy the judges (including Anele Mdoda and Connie Ferguson) who have to make the final decision.
Of course, for some time it looked as if Miss SA 2019 was in doubt when Cell C, the sponsor of the previous 5 years did not renew their contract with the pageant. But in stepped the LFP Group, who have not only taken the mantle but paid close attention to women and youth empowerment as part of this year's mandate.
Their commercial director and spokesperson, Nthabiseng Phoshoko echoed these sentiments when she said:
“The power is in our hands and our time is now. As a brand that stands for youth and female empowerment, we are so excited to back initiatives such as Miss South Africa as a platform to give rise to phenomenal females in South Africa.”
This year's Miss South Africa will be broadcast on M-Net and Mzansi Magic from 5 PM on the 9th of August. Who are you backing to win the big prize?
Read next: Bonang's so nice she hosting Miss S.A. twice
Record number of entries for Miss SA
Image Credit: Supplied.