Faith Xoliswa Gwedashe was born in Mawu-Mawu township, in Nyanga East on the outskirts of Cape Town. She was raised e-Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape during the seventies and eighties.
“I decided at a young age to not allow circumstances to define who I was or what I would become, my grandmother who raised me from the age of three, reinforced this in me” says Faith.
“My grandmother, was a midwife and a professional nurse in the community, she instilled the value of education, and encouraged me to dream big, to plough back into the community, to be passionate about life and above-all, to remain positive despite setbacks,” She explains.
As a teenager, Faith says she dreamt of following in the footsteps of her mother, Beryl Nozizwe Gwedashe and grandmother, Edith Nompumelelo Gwedashe, both registered nurses but instead trained as a pharmacist as it combined her interest in healthcare and her passion for business.
After matriculating, Faith applied for admission to study a BPharm degree at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Things were going according to plan but in her fourth year her bursary had run out. Not daunted by the challenge and determined to finish her degree, Faith decided to enter the Miss UWC beauty pageant. She was crowned first princess and won full coverage of her tuition fees, enabling her to finish her degree.
After completing her degree, Faith decided to return to Mdantsane, the area where she grew up, to complete her community year. Whilst in Mdantsane she became involved in community projects to raise awareness about communicable disease. Having finished her community year, Faith moved back to Cape Town where she worked as a hospital production and drug utilization review pharmacists. Over the past 12 years she has worked for multi-national pharmaceutical companies, always challenging herself to learn more and to test the boundaries of what it means to be a pharmacist.
“In 2013, I joined a pharmaceutical giant, and have been fortunate to be in a position to continue work in a community related program” says Faith and adds that her job entails acting as liaison between the pharmaceutical industry, government and non-governmental organisations, as well as advocating for those of those living with MDR TB.
“South Africa is one of the countries burdened by a number of curable disease, some of which are lifestyle related…” which is why Faith decided to enter the Mrs SA competition “as a platform to raise health awareness”.
What message does Faith wish to to share with the community?; “Let us take ownership of the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle, this not only has an impact in our daily lives but also has an impact in the overall economy of our country.” says the Mrs SA semi-finalist, Faith Xoliswa Gwedashe.
This, however, is not her only aim. She also wants to use the competition as a platform to promote the idea that ‘beauty has a purpose’, not only for the individual, but for the benefit of society.
“Beauty is both internal and external… If God gives you inner beauty, it is usually for more than just experiencing peace, but for sharing that beauty in a way that impacts other people’s lives. We are all here to make a difference in the lives of others” she explains.
What words do friends and colleagues use to describe Faith?; ‘driven’, ‘ambitious’, ‘positive’, ‘energetic’, ‘hard-working’, ‘determined’, ‘confident’, ‘soft-hearted’ and ‘ambitious’, in short: dynamite in a small package!
Her husband, Mangaliso Ndamse (37), a project manager in the construction industry, adds; ‘beautiful’, ‘passionate’ and ‘fun’ to the list, attributes that he says made him fall in love with her instantly. And she about him?; “I was attracted by his determination to become more than the world says he is, his calm demeanour, loving nature and the willingness to let me pursue my dreams, interests and ‘crazy endeavours’.
“The fact that he is tall, dark and handsome also helped” she adds playfully.
The couple also highlights the birth of their son, Imani Curnick (3), and the added bonus that he shares his birthday, August 4, with one of Faith’s role models, U.S. President Barrack Obama.
About the competition Faith says; “I am a Mrs South Africa semi-finalist, I entered the competition with a vision of being a health ambassador in South Africa. I am an ambitious woman in her late 30’s, and am doing this for the love I have for South Africans.
“I am determined to make it this vision a reality and this competition will give me the exposure I need to be able to influence peoples’ lives positively.” she said.
Whilst Faith believes that her outgoing and warm personality are the ideal attitudes, in order to make it to the next round of the competition, support is needed.
To support Faith SMS “Faith Ndamse” to 35959.
For more info visit the competitions website.