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January 31, 2005

Crown passes to new Miss Deaf South Africa

From: Independent Online, South Africa - Jan 31, 2005

By Hanti Otto

A brainy blonde Afrikaans farm girl has plans to take on the world. And if you think being hearing impaired is going to hold her back, you are in for a big surprise.

Carin Marais, 19, takes over the crown as the new Miss Deaf South Africa 2004 this week.

She has already taken up some of the duties that come with the title, just a week after Candice Morgan announced she was stepping down.

Although popular, Morgan had a baby, which is against the rules of the competition.

This means that Marais has a mere five months to prepare for the Miss Deaf World competition in Germany in July.

"I am excited about the opportunities I have now been given. I am looking forward to it so much that I am not scared," the radiant blonde said.

She was born deaf and matriculated at the Sonitus School in 2004 where she was active in netball (in which she has national colours), the high jump and softball.

She lipreads and uses sign language to communicate. The spoken word, she said, she saw as her "third language".

Marais, who was raised on a farm outside Pretoria with an older brother and sister, appears untainted by the world of beauty competitions.

She completed a modelling course and entered the competition for fun.

Marais had been planning to study graphic design when she heard that she was to represent South Africa at the international Miss Deaf World, so has put that plan on hold.

As part of her duties she is to visit schools and businesses to raise awareness of the challenges of being hearing impaired.

Striving to reach for a dream was nothing new if you had a disability, Marais said.

• This article was originally published on page 2 of The Pretoria News on January 31, 2005

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