Dwarfs meet at festival in South African town

Children line up to participate in a Mr. and Ms. Dwarf competition during a weekend dwarf festival in Modimolle, South Africa, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. The event this past weekend drew dwarves from around the country and was an opportunity to share experiences, and discuss challenges and ways to overcome them. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Dwarfs meet at festival in South African town

MODIMOLLE, South Africa — A recent South African festival for people with dwarfism featured dancing, a tug-of-war contest, stand-up comedy, talks on health issues facing dwarves and a Mr. and Ms. Dwarf competition.

The event this past weekend in Modimolle town in Limpopo province drew dwarfs from around the country and was an opportunity to share experiences, and discuss challenges and ways to overcome them.

Bernadine Coetzee, 19, won the Ms. Dwarf competition and hopes to be a clothes designer after finishing school at the end of 2018.

Festival organizer Marinda Calitz, who is married to a dwarf, says there is a widespread view that small people can only find work in a circus. She says, however, that people with dwarfism work as dentists, bank managers and truck drivers.

"Don't judge them," Calitz says.

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