TARYN RICHMOND

Tuks hosted its annual RAG Queen crowning last Thursday evening in the Aula, where architecture student Dassie Persuad-van der Westhuizen was crowned as this year’s RAG Queen. Jenni de Bruin took First Princess and Busi Ntisa was voted Second Princess.

Dr Wilken explained in her speech at the beginning of the evening that being a debutante means putting the vision of RAG into action, which is essentially reaching out and giving. She explained that over a period of six months, during which the debutantes work with and are involved in the community, they identify hidden strengths within themselves. The programme is not about glamour and being in the spotlight, but rather about philanthropy and experiencing life from a different angle.

The evening consisted of various categories in which debutantes showcased their poise, grace and talents to the judges. The night started with a choreographed group dance routine by the debutantes, followed by a performance by local Afrikaans band KleefKlank.

The talent category, which included dance routines, drama and poetry recitals, kick-boxing lessons, rapping, and a drum solo, saw each debutante display her talent to the audience.

Persuad-van der Westhuizen presented her talents in an audio-visual piece rather than performing them on stage. Her video showed her architectural models and designs, her piloting a plane and her internationally-recognised hockey skills. She concluded her piece with a rather self-fulfilling prophecy saying, “Instead of going to the Olympics, I decided I would stay here and become RAG Queen.”

In the final category, evening wear, the debutantes wore evening gowns designed by Gerrit Pienaar, who was also a judge for the evening. December Streets entertained the crowd while the judges deliberated on choosing the top five. 2012 RAG Queen Mudinda Denga gave a speech on her experience as RAG Queen during the last year and wished the next RAG Queen luck.

The top five were each given a question by one of the judges. Persuad-van der Westhuizen was asked the question “What will you focus on as RAG Queen?” She responded that she hopes to “take RAG to new heights” and said that she believed that the RAG Queen should be approachable and that RAG should be “absolutely transparent”. She also stated that with all the various new media available, she would aim to get the organisation of RAG, its intentions and its message out into the public domain.

Judges included Melinda Bam, Miss South Africa 2005 Claudia Henkel and Mr South Africa Adriaan Berg.

Photos: Eleanor Harding

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