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Miss South Africa Top 30

Miss South Africa#MissSA2021 JoziStyle - Copy
Miss South Africa Top 30
And the public can have their say in voting for the Top 10
Miss South Africa#MissSA2021 JoziStyle - Copy

Meet the Miss South Africa Top 30 vying for the title of Miss South Africa 2021 and vote for your favourite to make the Top 10.

The Top 30 is an impressive and diverse group. Among them are two medical doctors, an attorney, a commercial pilot, an environmental specialist as well as models, graduates and students. Some have started their own businesses while others run charitable organisations.

There is also the first transgender woman – Lehlogonolo Machaba from North West – to openly enter the Miss South Africa pageant.

Three have entered before – they are Miss South Africa Kgothatso Dithebe who was Top 5 in 2019; Olin Shae de la Cruz who believes this year will be third time lucky (she placed Top 15 in 2020 and Top 26 in 2017) and Catherine Groenewald who was Top 30 in 2019.

The 30 contestants come from around the country – Gauteng has 12 contenders (with four from Pretoria), followed by the Western Cape with seven; KwaZulu Natal with four; the Eastern Cape with three and the Free State with two, while North West and Limpopo each have one entrant.

For the next few weeks, they will be out to impress this year’s Top 30 and Top 10 judges who are all former Miss South Africa title holders with Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala (2010) and Liesl Laurie (2015), who judged last year, being joined by first-time judges Melinda Bam (2011) and Tamaryn Green (2018).

The public is now the fifth judge in selecting our Top 10 finalists and will have from now until midnight on July 21 to vote for their favourite contestants. Each entrant has a number (see bios below) which members of the public can use to vote for on the Miss South Africa website. The public can also vote using cash at a Money Market counter at any Shoprite, Checkers Hyper, Checkers, selected Usave and House & Home stores or vote online at Computicket using a credit card. The cost is R5 for one vote with a selection of bundles (R20 for five votes, R50 for 12 votes and R100 for 25 votes. Voting bundles include free votes and cannot be split between different contestants.)

The Top 30 (in alphabetical order) are:

Andile Mazibuko (23) comes from eMabedlane in Ulundi, Kwa-Zulu Natal, and is a final year homoeopathy student at the Durban University of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys writing in her journal, reading, listening to music, dancing, going on solo-dates and improving her make-up skills.
Voting No: 1

Ané Oosthuysen (23) is from Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, and is currently working as an assistant teacher at a primary school while also studying for her PGCE teaching qualification. She also has a BA degree in psychology and sociology and honours degrees in psychology and medical sociology from North-West University
Voting No: 2

Bianca Bezuidenhout (22) hails from Strand in Cape Town, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing communications and is currently completing her honours in media studies. She is also a dance instructor as well as a business owner of her own swimwear company called She Succeeds.
Voting No: 3

Catherine Groenewald (23) is from Constantia in Cape Town and is in her final year of a B Com visual communications degree, majoring in graphic design. She is also a barre fitness instructor and full-time model with Topco Models. During lockdown she started an online business called Delish Bakery.
Voting No: 4

Cheneil Hartzenberg (24) comes from Meredale, Johannesburg in Gauteng, and is a commercial pilot and senior flight instructor in a managerial role at a flight school. She completed a digital marketing course with UCT online last year and is currently studying for her airline transport pilot licence.
Voting No: 5

Danielle Marais (24), hails from Randburg in Johannesburg and has a B Com Honours Degree Cum Laude in entrepreneurship and marketing management. She is a brand manager across 14 African countries and the CEO and founder of the charity, Walk in Freedom. She likes to draw, read, hike and spend time with people.
Voting No: 6

Eloïse van der Westhuizen (26) comes from Panorama, Cape Town in the Western Cape. She holds a B Com Management Science degree from the University of Stellenbosch and has an Honours degree in logistics/supply chain management. She completed both degrees Cum Laude and is a business intelligence analyst and part-time model at Twenty Model Management.
Voting No: 7

Ferini Dayal (26) is from Kensington South, Johannesburg, and has a biomedical sciences degree, majoring in physiology, and a Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery degree – both from the University of Witwatersrand. After a two-year internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, she is now a community service doctor in Vosloorus at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital.
Voting No: 8

Itumeleng Baloyi (23) comes from Seshego in Limpopo and is a full-time student completing her B Tech/advanced diploma in project management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She is also a part time junior site manager at an engineering, company as well as a digital creator and freelance model. She loves seafood and her grandmother’s morogo.
Voting No: 9

Jamie Cloete (23) lives in Edgemead, Cape Town. She has a Bachelor of Social Science degree from UCT and an Honours degree in environmental and geographical studies from the University of Stellenbosch. She would love to meet Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, to discuss environmental challenges and how to create a sustainable difference to combat the destruction of our natural heritage.
Voting No: 10

Jeanni Mulder (24) from Sea Point, Cape Town, is a full-time model and describes herself as compassionate, strong-willed and genuine. She credits her mom for being her role model who has taught her to fight hard, love deeply and never to be afraid of being passionate about what makes you happy. In her spare time, she loves to do anything artsy, watch TV and play Texas Holdem Poker.
Voting No: 11

Kaylan Matthews (25) is from Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape and is in her final year of a Bachelors in Human Movement Science at the Nelson Mandela University. She has a huge love for exercise and living a healthy, wholesome lifestyle and wants to use her degree to motivate people to accept themselves and learn to love their bodies and fall in love with exercise and all its benefits.
Voting No: 12

Keashel van der Merwe (22) hails from Discovery, Roodepoort in Gauteng, and is an independent make-up artist. She enjoys reading books aimed at strengthening the mind and emotional maturity as well as inspirational material and says the best thing about South Africa is the nature of the people, its diversity, the culture, the food and the art.
Voting No: 13

Kgaketsang Mathobisa (22) comes from Bochabela, Bloemfontein, and is a third-year student at the University of the Free State pursuing a BA in integrated organisational communication. In her spare time, when she’s not catching up on her reading, she loves spending time working on improving her make-up skills. Her aunt’s signature lasagne is her favourite food.
Voting No: 14

Kgatlhiso Modisane (27) is from Dorandia, Pretoria is Gauteng, and is an admitted attorney working in the banking industry. She is also a part-time student, studying for a qualification in taxation with the hopes of becoming a registered tax practitioner. Her role model is Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng who, she says, has truly inspired her to strive to be an ethical legal professional.
Voting No: 15

Kgothatso Dithebe (26) comes from Centurion, Pretoria, Gauteng. She is currently studying towards an LLB law degree and also runs her own company that deals with construction and the supply of goods and services. In her spare time, she goes to the gym, plays netball and loves trying out new recipes. She says her single biggest achievement was buying her first property this year.
Voting No: 16

Lalela Mswane (24) is from KwaSokhulu, Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal, is a model and dancer and has a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Pretoria. She describes herself as graceful, tenacious and meticulous and says she would love to meet the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, to discuss ways of alleviating the growing unemployment problem.
Voting No: 17

Lehlogonolo Machaba (24), who comes from Oskraal, Letlhabile in the North West, holds a diploma in fashion design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology. She works as a model booker at Invade Models and is the founder and owner of the DeMollies fashion brand. In her spare time, she volunteers at a local LGBTQIA centre, helping young people complete university and job applications.
Voting No: 18

Licalle Isaacs (22) is from Plumstead in Cape Town. She graduated in hospitality management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where she is currently doing her advanced diploma in events management. She likes watching documentaries, comedies and movies as well as trying out different restaurants. Her favourite meal is a medium-rare steak with mushroom sauce and a side of baked potato with melted butter.
Voting No: 19

Lisanne Lazarus (25), from Amanzimtoti in KwaZulu Natal is a PR and brand officer for a local radio station. Her role models are Basetsana Khumalo, “because of how she used the platform of Miss South Africa as the springboard to the rest of her life” and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, “a woman who grew up in a traditional home but chose the unconventional route”. She says her guilty pleasure is “ice cream at midnight”.
Voting No: 20

Mawusive Sibutha (24) lives in Bloemfontein in the Free State, but is representing the Eastern Cape, where her family live in Ntabankulu. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Social Sciences and majored in psychology and industrial psychology at the University of the Free State. But, due to the high unemployment rate as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, she decided to tap into her artistic side and start a picnic set-up business.
Voting No: 21

Moratwe Masima (24) is from Atholl, Sandton in Gauteng, and is a qualified medical doctor doing her first year of internship at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. She is an aspiring plastic and reconstructive surgeon who would love to meet the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden as she is in awe of how she has handled the global pandemic and how she always puts the livelihood of her citizens first.
Voting No: 22

Olin-Shae De La Cruz (27) hails from Bryanston, Sandton in Gauteng. After obtaining a higher certification in journalism in, she went on to get a Bachelors in Business Administration degree and in Media Operations Management. She is the co-founder of a marketing company called Swish EP, works as an account manager for a media and advertising company and is a netball coach on the weekends with Action Kidz South Africa.
Voting No: 23

Pearl Ntshehi (24) comes from Mamelodi and lives in Centurion, Gauteng. She is a BCom Law and an LLB graduate currently doing her BCom honours and hopes to become an admitted legal practitioner. She says her single biggest achievement was being the first female president at her university, which moulded her to being the young woman she is today.
Voting No: 24

Precious Mndalama (23) comes from Soshanguve, Pretoria in Gauteng and is a third-year law student at Unisa. She describes herself as ambitious, passionate and fun and says her role model and person she would most like to meet is Naomi Campbell, because she is a very successful international model and activist who contributes to, and participates in, social inequalities in her own country as well as others.
Voting No: 25

Pumeza Zibi (24), comes from Heideveld, Cape Town in the Western Cape and graduated with a BTech in Public Relations Management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She says the one thing people would be surprised to know about her is that she grew up a huge Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment fan and that her guilty pleasure is watching cat videos on YouTube.
Voting No: 26

Savannah De Almeida (23) comes from Hillcrest, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, and is a social media and digital marketing specialist. She says that beauty pageants are more than just hair and makeup and outward beauty and encourage women to embrace their unique individuality and help them to become successful businesswomen. The one thing she would like to change about South Africa is to put an end to gender-based violence.
Voting No: 27

Tiffany Francis (22) who comes from Mulbarton, Johannesburg, is the owner of Tiffany K Models as well as a professional model and fashion design student. Her role models are her mom and late aunt, both of whom taught her the value of having resilience and empathy. Her ideal break would be a week in Italy with Frank Sinatra playlists, beaches and eating pizza for days on end and her guilty pleasure is cheesecake.
Voting No: 28

Tshegofatso Molefe (26), comes from Kestell in the Free State but lives in Maritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. She holds an LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has also completed one year of her Masters in Advanced Criminal Justice. She is currently working as a criminal law defence candidate attorney at Legal Aid South Africa while waiting to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court.
Voting No: 29

Zimi Mabunzi (26) comes from eQonce (King William’s Town), in the Eastern Cape and is a student at the Nelson Mandela University in her final year of a BCom Law degree. She says she has a huge passion for music and would love to study it one day and make music of her own. In her spare time, she loves to work out, sing and cook and her favourite meal is
umphokoqo and umngqusho.
Voting No: 30

The Top 10 will be announced at a date to be announced.

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with M-Net, Mzansi Magic and Sun International.

 

ANDILE MAZIBUKO – ULUNDI, KWA-ZULU NATAL

Name: Andile Mazibuko

Region: I come from eMabedlane in Ulundi, Kwa-Zulu Natal and currently live in Berea

Age: 23 (December 17, 1997)

Occupation:
I am a final year homoeopathy student at the Durban University of Technology. With my qualification I hope to raise awareness of homoeopathy as an alternative form of medicine, especially to less informed communities.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants:
Top 5 of Miss Ushaka Marine World 2018 and winner of Miss Durban University of Technology 2019.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I entered Miss South Africa because I want to amplify all the socio-economic issues currently faced by young people. The Miss South Africa mission statement and values of the platform align with my goals so I believe my skills, with the help of those before me, will make an impact in bettering the future.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not passing Grade 12 with the marks I had wished for which led me to being rejected by all institutions I approached. I then applied to an upgrading school to improve my marks which allowed me to be accepted into university the following year.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Unemployment

Who are your role models?
My biggest role model is my mother. Throughout the hardship we endured growing up, she remained a strong and resilient woman by being an anchor, not only for our family but for the community as well. I also draw my inspiration from Bonang Matheba, because to me she has always been a true reflection of consistent self-elevation.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father passed away in 2010. My mother (Sibongile Mazibuko) is an HR officer. I have two brothers and two sisters and I am the youngest. My one brother Mthobeli (30) is an industrial engineer with a two-year-old son and the other, Vusumuzi (27) is a physiotherapist and an entrepreneur. My one sister, Mbalenhle (30) is a dentist and the other, Ntombifuthi (28) holds a law degree.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy journaling, reading, listening to music, dancing, going on solo-dates and improving my make-up skills.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Being able to establish and continuously grow my small make-up business which brings in an extra income.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants continue to empower women, bring out the beauty of diversity and allow women to gain and maintain solid confidence. To those that say they degrade women, I would advise them to not only look at pageantry as a beauty contest but as a platform for women to amplify their voice in society.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
No-one can hold your crown up high better than you can. Rise against adversity and prove to the world just how much of a superpower being a woman is.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love how united South Africa has grown to be. I also love all the different cultures which outline the beauty of our rainbow nation and how much we take pride in being South Africans.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The violence in our country.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
The past 18 months have proved how connected, supportive and empathetic nations are towards each other. Even though we were physically divided, we remain united in spirit and work together as one.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Oprah Winfrey. From her upbringing to the phenomenal woman; she is today is truly inspirational. She is the definition of female excellence.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That at my age I still do not know how to ride a bicycle.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would advise myself to be more open and not be afraid to ask questions and seek guidance when needed.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Inquisitive, determined, kind.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
You only live once.

 

ANÉ OOSTHUYSEN – VANDERBIJLPARK, GAUTENG

 

Name: Ané Oosthuysen

Region: Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng

Age: 23 (September 19, 1997)

Occupation:
For the past few months, I have worked as an assistant teacher at a primary school while also being a full-time student studying for my PGCE teaching qualification which I will complete this year. I am also a third time graduate with a BA degree in Psychology and Sociology and Honours degrees in Psychology and Medical Sociology, all of which I completed at the North-West University. My aim is to use these qualifications to become a qualified educational psychologist.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants:
I was crowned Miss Vaal 2019/2020.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
From a very young age I have been inspired by the Miss South Africa platform and by women who are selfless, determined, ambitious, brave and driven to serve the people of this country. For that reason, I decided to enter Miss South Africa 2021. I believe that I deserve to win this title because I am a determined woman who is devoted to live a life that is focused on serving others and I believe that this is exactly what a Miss South Africa should be.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
One of the biggest disappointments that I had to overcome was being rejected from studying towards my Masters in Clinical Psychology. Later I realised that this disappointment was really a blessing, because otherwise I would have never discovered my passion for teaching. I really believe that this experience showed me how resilient I am and that things will always work out the way they are supposed to.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Working with children on a daily basis has made it clear to me that bullying is a big problem. Young people are unaware of the physical, emotional and mental effects bullying behaviour can have on an individual.

Who are your role models?
One of my biggest role models is Rolene Strauss. She showed me that it is possible to achieve everything you set your mind to, all you need is the will to do so. I am also inspired by everyday heroes. I am a firm believer in the saying that no act of kindness is ever wasted and small acts of kindness from the people around me inspire me on a daily basis.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I am lucky enough to be blessed with two very loving parents who have been married for 26 years. My father Dennis is a project manager who works in the demolition business, while my mother Annelise is a stay-at-home mom. I have a younger brother Westiaan (21).

What do you do in your spare time?
During the week I like playing netball whenever I find the time and over the weekends I love to braai and spend quality time with my family.

What – in your opinion – is your single biggest achievement?
Last year, during the pandemic, I collected food for the most vulnerable people in my community. On Mandela Day we manged to feed more than 100 people.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are still relevant today because they are continuously evolving. Beauty, as we used to know it, now embodies so much more than just outer beauty, and pageantry enables women to be empowered and use all their qualities to lead and empower others.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
You are enough. We are often so focused on being what the world tells us to be that we forget we already have everything within us to achieve greatness.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the diversity of our country and that we have the opportunity to learn and be exposed to so many different views, values and beliefs.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would like to change the inequality in our country. By working towards creating more job opportunities, more individuals can work together to strengthen our country’s economy and ultimately improve the lives of all.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I believe so many individuals began to realise the importance of time and how we should spend it with the ones that we love. We also came to realise the importance of our health and that we shouldn’t take it for granted.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
President Cyril Ramaphosa. I would like to discuss matters that I believe can have an influence on our youth and society.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I love all animals but I have the biggest fear of frogs!

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Life is not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Driven, kind, passionate.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
You are your choices.

Who’s your favourite designer?
Mariska Pfhal – a local designer with the biggest talent and kindest heart.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Definitely handbags. Even though I always have tons of things that I carry with me, I will never be able to go without a nice pair of shoes!

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I had braces twice in my life and two years ago I underwent a major jaw operation.

What would be your dream holiday?
As I never been there before, my dream holiday would be to travel to Cape Town with my family and experience the beauty of our own country.

If you could have any superhuman power what would it be?
The ability to make time stand still. I often times find myself being so busy that I rarely find the time to enjoy and savour every moment.

What are you reading?
This is the Day by Tim Tebow.

What music are you listening to?
Pop music and I love anything from the ‘80s.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Modern Family, Glee.

What is your favourite meal?
Definitely braaivleis. Braaibroodjies and skaaptjoppies are my favourite!

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Locally it has to be the rugby player, Damian de Allende. Internationally it is the actor, Robert Downey Jr.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
I really enjoy watching MasterChef Australia!

 

BIANCA BEZUIDENHOUT – STRAND, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

 

Name: Bianca Bezuidenhout

Region: Strand, Cape Town, Western Cape.

Age: 22 (March 19, 1999)

Occupation:
I obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing Communications from AAA School of Advertising. I am currently completing my honours in media studies at Unisa. I am a dance instructor as well as a business owner of my own swimwear company called She Succeeds.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Winner of Miss Hollywood Top Model South Africa 2014; Miss Roxy 2015; Miss Lizzy Diaz 2015; Miss Billabong 2015 and WBFF Commercial Model 2017.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
This year, I came to the realisation “If not you, then who? If not now, then when?” It was never my lack of preparation that kept me from entering before, but my lack of belief in myself so this year I decided to face my power and embrace my future. I also understand my duty and responsibility to speak up, stand up and show up for the next generation. I am ready to step forward as a leader who will inspire other young South Africans to fulfil their potential, recognise their self-worth and empower them to realise that they too, can step deeper into their destinies as great men and women of our nation. All they need, is a leader who believes in them, loves them and sets good examples for them to follow, and that is exactly who I am.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
When I was in high school. I was in a physical abusive relationship which had a significant effect on my self-worth, identity and overall mental health. God’s love restored and transformed my life completely and reminded me that I am worthy of a purposeful life.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Although it seems at this point that Covid-19 has a less severe impact on the youth, it is equally true that their lives are nonetheless being changed in profound ways. Young people of all ages and in all countries are being affected. As the rate of suicidal behaviour, education disruptions and mental health issues among them has shown a significant rise since Covid-19, there is an urgent need for all of us to show up for our youth.

Who are your role models?
My mother has always been one of my biggest role models. She is the kindest and most loving woman I know. She always taught me to live to express not to impress, and to work for a cause not for applause. Those were words that I lived by as a young girl and those are words that I live by today. Those are the words I will live by as Miss South Africa.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father, Martin, is a chemical engineer and my mother, Sharon, studied microbiology and currently works as a self-employed consultant.

What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not working or studying, I love to cook, read, dance and write. Through my love for hospitality, I also enjoy bringing friends and family together with good food and fun board games.

What in your opinion is your single biggest achievement?
I never felt qualified enough to be a leader. It all changed when someone once told me “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I then became the leader of my own home cell in Strand where I lead and minister to people in my community to live a more purposeful life.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
If I can just speak from my own experience in the pageant industry, we celebrate great women everywhere; past, present and future and the many achievements of women who have broken through to lead and succeed in extraordinary ways.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
There’s so much I can say, but one thing God pressed strongly on my heart, is a prayer for our young girls and women. A prayer of hope, peace and a brighter future. We declare it. We speak it. We believe it.

What do you love about South Africa?
The first thing that came to my mind was our dancing. South African dance is unique in its vitality and energy. It doesn’t matter what we go through, even when we face a global pandemic, we always have something more joyful in common: a hit song and a dance with deeply South African roots.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
To prompt the department of education to provide learners the opportunity to learn and study more South African languages. I think it would contribute to our understanding of one another and enhance unity.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
We’ve all learned to adapt, work together and embrace change when we face difficult times. That just shows that no matter what storm we face, together we stand, together we grow, together we overcome.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Definitely Zozibini Tunzi. I remember sitting in the crowd the night she was crowned, thinking I would love to be her friend one day.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I love to sing.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would encourage my younger self to embrace who God created me to be. I grew up extremely insecure and never felt good enough. If only I knew that my authenticity is my power. And by facing my power, it leads to embracing the future God has for me. If we pretend to be someone else, we devalue the great men and women God created us to be.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Faithful, compassionate, purposeful.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Worry less, dance more.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Casper Bosman is not only my favourite designer, but also a very close friend of mine. I love his elegant, bold and classy designs.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Shoes are essential! You know what they say, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I sometimes enjoy playing video games like PUBG.

What would be your dream holiday?
Witnessing the northern lights is a bucket-list holiday.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
The ability to get glammed up in five minutes.

What are you reading?
Planted with a Purpose: God Turns Pressure into Power by T.D. Jakes.

What music are you listening to?
Latin, Gospel and Afrobeats.

What are your favourite TV shows?
The Chosen, The Queen’s Gambit and Friends.

What is your favourite meal?
Nutella sandwiches.

Who is your international celeb crush?
Enrique Iglesias. Enrique Iglesias. And did I mention Enrique Iglesias?

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Sour worms.

 

CATHERINE GROENEWALD – CONSTANTIA, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

Name: Catherine Groenewald

Region: Constantia, Cape Town, Western Cape

Age: 23 (June 15, 1998)

Occupation:
I’m in my final year of a B Com Visual Communications degree, majoring in graphic design. I’m also a barre fitness instructor and full-time model with Topco Models, and during lockdown I started an online business called Delish Bakery. I plan on creating my own all-female design agency one day.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
I entered Miss South Africa in 2019 and made it to the Top 30.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I know that I have the ability to help and inspire many women in our country. I genuinely love motivating and supporting people in whatever capacity I can. I’ve worked extremely hard in the past two years to prepare for Miss South Africa 2021. I am genuine, authentic and unapologetically myself. I cannot wait to speak to people, hug people and inspire people along this journey. I’m strong, confident and willing to work extremely hard to be the best version of myself in order to serve others.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not making it past the Top 30 for Miss South Africa in 2019 was very tough for me. I bounced back from it by realising that I needed to grow more and that I didn’t fully know who I was yet. I spent two years learning, growing and understanding who I am.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
One of the biggest problems facing young people today is the stigma around mental health. Our brains control absolutely everything we do so we need to look after them in order to make the right decisions.

Who is your role model?
My father Tim. He had a tough life growing up and his first job after school was to work in the police force. He had no secondary education but still managed to go from being a policeman to owning his own steel company. He is tough and absolutely nothing gets in his way of achieving his goals.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
Other than my dad, my mother Helga is an incredibly selfless stay-at-home mom; my older sister Jessica is a very inspiring doctor and my older brother Justin is a chartered accountant.

What do you do in your spare time?
I absolutely love baking and hiking and I’m in love with Cape Town. We have so many incredible coffee shops, markets and landscapes. Sometimes I drive around Cape Town and stop at different places, take photos and just enjoy what the city has to offer.

What is your single biggest achievement?
I’m so proud of how I’ve grown since my entry in 2019 I’ve always known that I want to have a positive influence in the world and make an impact on people. I remember telling an educational psychologist this and she told me it would never happen. Sitting here today writing this makes me so proud. Nothing makes me more determined to succeed than when someone tells me I can’t.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants have come a long way. People are valuing a women’s intelligence and confidence within herself more than just judging her based on her outward appearance. I was incredibly inspired by Zozi. She is graceful, strong and so confident. I love how she is completely herself and she is showing the world the power of a great woman.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
It isn’t easy being a woman in South Africa and I think it is up to us to make sure that future generations of women are set up for success. We need to support one another, speak out for those who can’t and empower one another.

What do you love about South Africa?
South Africa is totally unique. We have the friendliest people, incredible landscapes and unbelievable food. What I love most about our country is the people. We are so diverse and we have so many incredibly driven and talented people in our country.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
Free and equal education for all.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Most definitely. I’ve been extremely privileged in the past year. I had a job, a roof over my head, and time with my family. During that time and I realised a lot about myself and what I want. I think people grew more compassionate as everybody found it hard and the whole world was facing the same problem.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and were able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. She completely took over a male dominated field and did so with grace, compassion and enthusiasm. She is relatable, down to earth and genuinely wants to make her country better and is doing so. She makes me proud to be a woman.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am not just a pretty face. None of us are just a pretty face.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t let anybody stop you from chasing your dreams. Your dreams are valid, important and one hundred percent attainable. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take so go out there, work hard and step in courage every single day.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Driven, loyal and caring.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Always step in courage.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
I absolutely love Maxhosa. I love that he shares traditional South African designs with the world. It is so distinctively South African – the website can even be translated into Xhosa.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags!

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I have battled depression, but I’ve started seeing a psychologist and it’s helped tremendously. Advocating for mental health awareness is a passion point of mine.

What would be your dream holiday?
A luxurious safari. Animals fascinate me and I love photography so I would be in heaven taking photos on a safari.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To be able to relive moments in my life.

What are you reading?
The 5am Club – it is so inspiring!

What music are you listening to?
It varies from Afrotech and rap to pop and golden oldies!

What are your favourite TV shows?
Travel shows, design shows and cooking shows. I find them so therapeutic.

What is your favourite meal?
My mom’s spaghetti bolognaise!

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
International celeb crush would be Zac Efron and local male celeb crush would be Siya Kolisi. My local female celeb crush would definitely be Zozi – she is an icon.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Lying in bed watching YouTube and eating a huge tub of salted caramel ice cream from Kristen’s Kickass Ice-cream in Constantia.

 

CHENEIL HARTZENBERG –MEREDALE, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG

Name: Cheneil Hartzenberg

Region: Meredale, Johannesburg, Gauteng

Age: 24 (March 10, 1997)

Occupation:
I am a commercial pilot and work as a senior flight instructor in a managerial role at a flight school. I also completed a digital marketing course, with UCT online last year. I am currently studying towards my airline transport pilot licence.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Winner of Miss Remarkable Women, 2018

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
In my lifetime I have been afforded great opportunities and the Miss South Africa Organisation is the perfect platform on which I can do my best to help pay forward those same opportunities to the disadvantaged youth of our country. Being someone who has benefited from youth development programmes and sponsorships, I want to let the youth know that their background does not determine their future. I want to tell my story and spread a message of hope to those who need it, and I want to use this platform to create a positive change for the future leaders of South Africa.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not being confident in myself as a teenager. I have consistently worked at this and made a conscious effort to motivate myself to do better by putting myself out there.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The lack of opportunities available for the disadvantaged youth and the youth unemployment rate in our country.

Who are your role models?
My parents. Despite having full time jobs, my parents have dedicated their time to helping those in need and this display of compassion throughout my life has ignited the same desire in me.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father Neil is a full-time pastor and my mother Cheryl is an HR consultant. I have no siblings.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy having one-on-one time with aspiring pilots by showing them airplanes, giving more information about pilot training, assisting with passing some of the more challenging exams, or sharing my past experiences and being the mentor that I wish I had. I am also always expressing myself artistically – either singing and doing covers of my favourite songs, sketching, painting or crocheting.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Becoming a commercial pilot, working in the industry that I have always admired and being able to purchase my own car at the age of 23.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are definitely relevant today as pageantry uplifts women and enforces the importance of giving back to communities. Being given a platform creates a ripple effect. If a woman is empowered, she empowers her community, and if her community is empowered, provinces become empowered and if provinces become empowered, the country becomes empowered.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
To the women and young girls of our country; you are more capable than you think, each and every one of you have greatness inside of you. It is up to you to unlock that potential, go in search of and grab hold of each opportunity. Fight for what rightfully belongs to you, fight for your future.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love our diversity, in every aspect. Just as the diversity varies from face to beautiful face, so do our landscapes which are breath-taking in every way. Having visited every province in South Africa, I have been able to witness the rich cultural heritage that comes with each region.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The statistics around gender-based violence and child abuse. In order for our society to progress, we need to ensure that the abused receive the therapy they need, and that abusers are rehabilitated.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
The two years in which our entire world came to a standstill. Locally, because of the loss of jobs and income, people have been forced to revert to their passions and open small businesses. It is unfortunate that stable incomes were lost, however more people are becoming financially independent and this is something I view as a positive. Globally, government organisations have been both negatively and positively exposed for how they have handled the threat of a pandemic, and I believe that this pandemic has readjusted the focus of global world leaders back onto their people, and ensuring the safety of their citizens.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Malala Yousafzai. Being the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, and being one of the greatest voices of our generation, she has inspired me stand up for what I believe in, which is giving our youth a fair chance. The prosperity of a nation lies in ensuring that basic needs (such as education) are available to all children and youth.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am left-handed but only write with my left hand, in everything else my right hand is my dominant hand.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Be more confident in who you are, do not be afraid of what others may say. You have the potential to make a great impact in the lives of others.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Compassionate, resilient, diligent.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Your dreams are valid.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Birgit Gibbs because I loved the way each of the designs accentuated Zozibini Tunzi and Natasha Joubert’s features at the respective Miss Universe pageants. Her designs are timeless and elegant.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Everyone who knows me, knows that I am obsessed with handbags so I would have to give up shoes, even though that in itself would be extremely difficult to do.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
My name is a mixture of my parents’ names.

What would be your dream holiday?
A trip to any island destination. I love the warm weather.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Invincibility. I would use this superhuman power to end all war.

What are you reading?
One Night with the King by Tommy Tenney with Mark Andrew Olsen.

What music are you listening to?
For the past three months I have been listening to my father’s favourite gospel artist – Fred Hammond. One of my favourite songs is entitled I’m Not Afraid, and this has been my motto since deciding to enter Miss South Africa 2021.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Bridgerton, Selena the Series, The Rookie, Air Crash Investigation.

What is your favourite meal?
Biryani

Who is your celeb crush?
Regé-Jean Page from Bridgerton.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Online window shopping and deal hunting, as well as reading up on conspiracy theories and not believing any of them.

 

DANIELLE MARAIS – RANDBURG, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG

Name: Danielle Marais

Region: Randburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Age: 24 (September 19, 1996)

Occupation:
I am a brand manager across 14 African countries and I am lucky to work with people from all over the world. I am also the CEO and founder of the charity, Walk in Freedom. I received my B Com Honours Degree Cum Laude in Entrepreneurship and Marketing Management from the North-West University in 2018.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
When I was young, we lost everything. I felt hopeless but through entrepreneurship, my dad was able to provide for us and 11 other families, despite having limited resources. I share this feeling of seeming hopelessness with 14 million unemployed South Africans which is why I founded my charity, Walk in Freedom, which creates female-owned businesses. I was inspired by my father’s example and Mandela’s vision for South Africans to have the freedom to choose their own paths to walk on. Through my degree, I teach women business skills for long term success and fund the start-up capital they need. Miss South Africa will empower me to continue this critically important focus on job creation and female empowerment through entrepreneurship. It is the solution for three key South African improvement areas: unemployment, gender-based violence and the next generation. My outreach is immediate but the impact will last for generations. The Miss South Africa organisational values align with mine and it is an amazing leadership platform that will empower me further to achieve my long-term goals in impacting change. I am ready to face my power and embrace my future.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I entered Miss South Africa in 2020 but was not a finalist. This was a big disappointment to me but I bounced back by falling forward and taking it as an opportunity to work on myself.
I also believe that you do your best and leave the rest to God.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Their future. Almost half of our youth is unemployed. This is why I am passionate about job creation. We owe it to our youth to create opportunities for them within our country.

Who are your role models/who have inspired you and why?
My role models and inspiration are the women of South Africa whose names will not be known. The women who are raising children on their own; the women who are surviving despite the GBV they experience; the women who keep serving their communities while having so little to give.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mom, Teresa is an assistant at Sanlam, my dad, Jacques is an entrepreneur who started his own pool and pond company after there were no employment opportunities. I got my resilience and “nothing is impossible” attitude from him. I am 10 years older than my baby sister (Maricelle, 14).

What do you do in your spare time?
I mostly work on my Walk in Freedom charity, but I also draw, read, hike and spend time with people.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Starting Walk in Freedom.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Society often degrades women and places us in a box. Pageantry breaks those barriers and enables women to dream. I have a long-term goal of creating 3.5 million female-owned businesses. This isn’t something I can achieve without a platform. Pageants create platforms that empower women to make meaningful change within their communities and globally.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Keep standing up for your worth. You do not deserve to be living in fear. Never settle. Let your voices be heard.

What do you love about South Africa?
There is just something about the way we greet each other in the street. We have a deep sense of community and no matter how bad things get, South Africans will be there for each other. I guess that feeling I get when I am surrounded by South Africans can be summed up as Ubuntu.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
Our unemployment rate. By creating female-owned businesses we will create employment opportunities, address GBV and empower our youth.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
After having COVID, my family and I are in recovery. We join the 1.7 million South Africans who have survived. There are 1.7 million things to be thankful for from the last 18 months. Let’s take a moment to focus on the good. We will get through this together.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
President Cyril Ramaphosa. I want to discuss avenues of impacting change and platforms that can be made available to me to serve our communities.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have won SA Karate twice.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
You are not a product of your circumstances. You are a product of your dreams and the work you put in to turn them into goals. Keep turning those dreams into goals.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Compassionate, undeniable, optimistic.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Don’t live in disappointment.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Shoes. My Dad gave me a handbag for my 21st birthday and I will never give it up. I enjoy being barefoot anyway.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
Three years ago, I shaved my head in support of CANSA and a friend.

What would be your dream holiday?
Anywhere new. I love adventures.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Time control.

What are you reading?
Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

What music are you listening to?
Worship music. Maneskin is my newest favourite band.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Schitt’s Creek, Grey’s Anatomy.

What is your favourite meal?
Dessert.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Trevor Noah. Does he count as my local and international celeb crush?

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Naps.

 

 

ELOÏSE VAN DER WESTHUIZEN –PANORAMA, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

Name: Eloïse van der Westhuizen

Region: Panorama, Cape Town, Western Cape

Age: 26 (October 28, 1994)

Occupation:
In 2016, I completed my three-year BCom Management Science degree at the University of Stellenbosch. In 2017, I completed my Honours degree in logistics/supply chain management. Through hard work and dedication, I completed both degrees Cum Laude. Today I am a Business Intelligence (BI) Analyst and part-time model at Twenty Model Management.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Varsity Cup (University of Stellenbosch) 2013 Top 3; Miss South Africa 2019 Top 5

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
It was during my journey as Miss South Africa 2019 finalist where my passion for kindness flourished. I realised that there are so many children in need and decided to do something about it. I started a non-profit organisation, You Matter Foundation, where we improve the well-being of young South African children in need. We provide self-defence training, CV training, puberty awareness, dance classes, fitness programmes, self-worth awareness etc.
This is only the beginning and there are many more lives to be reached and impacted for the greater good. Being Miss South Africa will give me a bigger footprint and a greater influence across South Africa. This a call much greater than myself and my heart is bursting with service. I am ready to serve and be an ambassador to our diverse country.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not winning the title of Miss South Africa 2019. Being able to represent my country on a national platform has been my dream since an early age. I’ve learned to trust God’s plan for my life and to believe all things come together for the greater good. I’ve decided to try again. A dream delayed, is not a dream denied.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Instant gratification is something the younger generation are facing every day. We want everything and we want it now. With a mere click of a button it should happen, right? Unfortunately, we all know that it is not as simple as that. Only persistence and hard work will get you there. To quote Usain Bolt: “I trained for four years to run nine seconds and people give up when they don’t see results in two months.” We also compare our lives on social media. We see others’ success stories on social platforms, but we do not see the hard work, dedication, rejection, hurt, sacrifices that were made to get to that point. We compare our lives with someone’s false reality.

Who are your role models?
My young at heart grandfather (Oupa Ben) of 95 years, always armed with his stylish hat and comb in his back pocket, taught me several life lessons. He showed me the true meaning of unconditional love when my grandmother got sick and was wheelchair-bound for 13 years. He has a great sense of humour, always sees the positive side of life and is still eager to learn even at his age. Also, Basetsana (Bassie) Khumalo, a successful philanthropist, businesswoman, entrepreneur, wife, mom and role model to so many young women. She is currently using her various platforms to impact communities in need.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father, Albert, is a mechanical engineer. My mother, Yvonne, is an event and incentives manager for one of South Africa’s leading cellular networks. My sister is in her final year of her second BSC Human Life Science degree and is currently doing her work-integrated learning as a cardiac clinical technologist.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy living an active lifestyle – morning runs and outdoor activities. I also love to cook, read non-fiction and improve my photography skills.

What is your single biggest achievement?
In 2017, I was awarded the Stellenbosch University Rector’s Award for Excellent Academic Achievement.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today? What would you say to someone that says pageantry degrades women?
Beauty is part of what gets considered but many other values are looked at as well. Pageants provide a platform for empowerment, where women can be seen and heard. These platforms teach women the impact they can have in this world. It creates opportunities for young women who aspire to make a difference in our community. It is not only your outer appearance that matter, but your inner disposition as well. It’s about empowering women to fulfil their potential.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Be authentic and stay true to yourself. Do not compare, do not let people label or have a preconceived notion of you. Use your failures and struggles to learn fast and grow through them, and if you succeed, take someone’s hand and take them with you on your journey.

What do you love about South Africa?
We have one of the world’s most colourful countries. The diversity of her people and the most beautiful natural landscapes, unique mountains, weather and wildlife in the world.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
We need a country where every child gets an equal opportunity to survive and strive but yet many of them are left behind because of who they are and where they live. The system is failing them. Without inclusive education, they will not fulfil their potential and their gifts to the world will be lost. We cannot afford to lose these children.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I’ve learned a valuable lesson during this Covid-19 pandemic. I’ve been reminded of what truly matters in life; not taking anything for granted and that we as South Africans are stronger and more resilient than what we think.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Malala Yousafzai – a Pakistani activist and the youngest Noble Peace Prize laureate. She fights for safe, free and quality education for women and children. At a young age, she decided to speak out on behalf of women to have the right to receive an education. She is also the founder of the “Malala Fund” to allow every girl to learn and lead. She did not allow her circumstances to determine her destiny. She stayed true to herself and stood up for what she believed in despite her age or gender.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a passion for music. I started playing the piano at the age of six and have enjoyed it ever since.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to reach for your dreams. Write down the vision for your life and work extremely hard to achieve those goals. There will be times when you will get knocked down, but get up even stronger.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Resilient, diligent, empathetic

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Comparison is not inspiration

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Anel Botha. Not only is she a talented designer but an incredibly hard-working woman.
I was fortunate to walk the Miss South Africa 2019 stage in one of her beautiful designs.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags, a girl can never have too many shoes.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I’m a pianist.

What would be your dream holiday?
Eating New York cheesecake in Times Square, New York.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Invisible and to be able to read people’s mind

What are you reading?
Good to Great by Jim Collins and Atomic Habits by James Clear

What music are you listening to?
Indie/Folk/Pop

What are your favourite TV shows?
MasterChef Australia, The Bold Type.

What is your favourite meal?
Any creamy pasta dish.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local: Leandie du Randt. International: Ryan Reynolds

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Jason Bakery’s doughssants

 

FERINI DAYAL – KENSINGTON SOUTH, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG

Name: Ferini Dayal

Region: Kensington South, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Age: 26 (September 13, 1994)

Occupation:
I attained my bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, majoring in physiology in 2014 and via the Graduate Entry Medical Programme entered my third year of medicine and graduated in 2018 with a MBBcH (Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery), both degrees from the University of Witwatersrand. I completed two years of internship at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and I am now a community service doctor in Voslorus at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Winner of Miss Reddam 2009; Miss Eastgate 2017, finalist

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I have been at the forefront for the last 10 years of my life, dealing with poverty, hunger, sickness, assault, abuse, rape, and death. I have experienced pain and triumph and have sacrificed my life, time and intention to bettering these conditions as I progress in my journey. My title is not solely for me, but for the people of South Africa and in doing so I bring a fresh perspective to the title.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
In 2011, I was denied a place in medicine. I naturally fought this and in my meeting with the Dean, I was told Indian females are a waste of a medical degree. Being the woman I am, no was not an answer. I spent the next three years excelling in a biomedical sciences degree, was top 10 on a multitude of occasions, passed a WAPT exam out of thousands of applicants and was finally accepted into my third year of medicine in 2015. In 2018 I graduated as one of the youngest graduate entries in medicine. Now I am proudly Dr F Dayal.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Our Generation Z are conditioned to think in one ideology, one mindset, based on the ability to tally likes and followers. Technocracy plays a huge role in who we are moulding as our future representation to be. I want to encourage our youth to have lateral thinking, challenge ideas, and not accept the norm as defined by people of empowerment.

Who are your role models?
Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, David Icke, Dr Carol-Ann Benn and Dr Fiona Wood. Each of the above-mentioned names have represented a stage in my life as a woman, they have influenced my growth spiritually, intellectually and emotionally.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I was initially part of a family of five, but now excitedly an extended family of 10 with one more on the way. My dad (Nubs, 67), is a freelance broadcasting engineer. My mom (Karima, 55), is a retired preschool teacher and my biggest pillar of support. I have two older brothers who are both married, Ramiez (35), an attorney and managing director, who blessed me with my adorable niece and nephew (Hakan and Hannah) and Kamil, an IT genius, who is my partner in sibling crime, has a daughter, my beautiful godchild Leyah, and an additional one on the way. Part of my family are my beautiful dogs, Diesel and Hugo.

What do you do in your spare time?
There is nothing medicine made me realise more than how precious time is, I’ve dedicated my spare time largely to spending it with my family, loved ones, dogs, at the gym and reading.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Besides the fact that I’ve accomplished my degree, and furthermore reached my point of having the opportunity to represent this prestigious title, amongst all the obstacles, I’ve remained true to who I am. I’ve maintained my humility, love for my people, remained grounded, and never derailed from my purpose, and if there’s something to celebrate in the world of today, it’s being authentic and true to yourself.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Pageantry is a global avenue for women to speak and open the public’s eyes to current matters in the world. Our women in empowerment through these platforms are catalysts for imperative issues that are being objectified as lesser. Violence, sexual assault, rape, political war, our women are speaking out and being heard, and that’s why we need the platform to continue.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
To value independence. Independence in learning, in thinking, in choice and in self-love.
Use the advancements in technology to grow, generations before us were not provided with this opportunity, enrich your knowledge, bloom in society, create an impact and don’t apologise for who you are in your independence.

What do you love about South Africa?
We are God’s paradise, mountains, hills, cliffs, reserves, oceans.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
South Africa has given me so many opportunities especially in my field of work. Unfortunately, there are glitches in our system in terms of transparency on important matters that run this country and this has huge impacts on our future. For those women lost in the system to assault and rape cases, the children who are drowned in our poverty-stricken society to a vicious circle of abuse, they need to be acknowledged, to improve on the economic, financial, employment and political stance of our country.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
It has revealed people’s true hearts and intentions. I have seen so much love, compassion and kindness from unexpected places, to help those in need and often it’s from people who have nothing who are the most willing to share. I have witnessed communities rally behind the local restaurant or delivering groceries to a family who have lost everything. In my community drive for Baragwanath Hospital for paediatrics, I was overwhelmed with support, love and donations, mostly from strangers who did not have much.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Imitiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers, South Africa. He was guided by a prophecy he received in Turkey at the age of 30, where he heeded the calling and has successfully converted a business and public image to assist communities in building a billion-rand charity. What doctor can say they did that? His work is unparalleled. This is the same level of success I’d like to achieve in my reign and my legacy.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I played video games and foosball professionally. I was the only female to make it to the knockout stages in a FIFA competition at the age of 13. I was also the youngest female to be elected to join the foosball international representation to play in Nantes, France in 2009.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I’d tell her never to operate from a space of fear but only faith.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Wonder woman magic

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Only fear God, darling

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Michelle Howel. She has made my design dreams come true for the past five years, and it comes with great coffee and a beautiful friendship.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags! You can’t save lives barefoot.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
According to my mom, people would never know I’m a doctor because she says I look dumb. There’s a contentious lie that’s been created about beautiful woman and intelligence, but I think I’ve cleared that up.

What would be your dream holiday?
A trip around the world!

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
A healing power that would massively aid my cause and allow me less sleep deprivation.

What are you reading?
Flowers on the Moon by Billy Chapata; The Biggest Secret by David Icke; Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology, Surgical Review for Primaries.

What music are you listening to?
Give a Little by Ash; Anywhere by Prima

What are your favourite TV shows?
Bridgerton; Air Crash Investigations; Bear Grylls; Navy Street; Grey’s Anatomy

What is your favourite meal?
Anything my mom makes and definitely sushi.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Lalla Hirayama and international is Chris Hemsworth.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Afternoon naps and vanilla ice cream with my dogs Hugo and Diesel.

 

ITUMELENG BALOYI – SESHEGO LIMPOPO

Name: Itumeleng Baloyi

Region: Seshego, Limpopo.

Age: 23 (July 8, 1997)

Occupation:
I am a full-time student completing my B Tech/advanced diploma in project management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in hopes on furthering my honours in construction management. I am also a part time junior site manager at Wright Engineering, a digital creator and a freelance model.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered and either placed or won:
Miss Centurion Schools 20215, 2nd runner-up; Miss City of Cape Town 2019 -1st runner up;
Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2021, semi-finalist.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
The Miss South Africa Organisation is opening doors for the inclusion of all types of women and, as a young woman battling with eczema, I believe that holistic representation is equally important. Given the opportunity I would like to amplify the narrative of how beauty standards are deemed whilst empowering women and the community at large to be empowered.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I was not accepted in the qualification that I initially wanted to study and I needed to act fast. Fast forward five years and who would have thought that I would be in the path of owning my own construction company.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Lack of employment opportunities.

Who are your role models?
My grandmother, who continues to teach me the principle of staying true to your spiritual self and my mom who continues to teach me the importance of striving hard no matter what life throws at you. The best advice I have received from her recently that I will carry with me into the competition is: “What if it turns out better than you ever imagined?” Other role models are Oprah Winfrey, Kamala Harris, Michelle Obama and Basetsana Khumalo.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My parents separated while I was still young. My mom Stella is a hard-working businesswoman and works in the engineering field. I am blessed to also have both my grandmothers alive and my one grandfather. My brother is 13 and loves soccer.
My late dad had five children and I am the second oldest. Due to our distant upbringing, we are all not really close but whenever we meet memories are created!

What do you do in your spare time?
Unwinding in the kitchen, hiking and extreme sports – I am an adrenaline junkie! Binge watching on series and reading – Robin Sharma is a favourite.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Entering this competition! It takes a lot for someone to gather the courage to enter this competition so I am proud of myself.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are important to society because they supply us with necessities such as communication and confidence, they foster goals, and teach discipline. They no longer focus on beauty but the brains behind it and how women can influence and better society.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Take pride in who you are and shine as brightly as you can. Don’t dim you light for anyone or ever feel the need to diminish your intellect or your sense of humour to fit in and don’t allow the naysayers to silence you.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love how we are incomparable to any other country, our rich history and our diversity

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
Fixing the educational system, adopting financial education and ensuring social stability could eradicate a lot of economic problems we face in our country.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
As hard as it is, I believe that times of discomfort are periods of growth. In the past 18 months the pandemic has forced us to slow down which has brought us closer to our families and friends.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Former Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi – her ability to re-define social standards of what beauty means has opened doors to many.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have never ever had a sip of alcohol in my entire life.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Stop biting your tongue in the presence of being afraid that you will say something wrong. As young as you are, you’ve got the words to change a nation. It is absolutely okay to make mistakes, the courage lies in trying.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Assertive, bold and empowered.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Always pursue your dreams.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Gert Johan Coetzee. I’m a fan of his multi-museum worthy creations from what I heard “you envision and he delivers.” Hopefully one day I can attest to that!

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I was such a tomboy growing up

What would be your dream holiday?
Venice, Italy.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Definitely healing powers; the world and its people need it right now.

What are you reading?
5AM Club – Robin Sharma.

What music are you listening to?
Mostly underground R&B, soul, jazz, gospel

What is your favourite meal?
Anything with seafood and my grandmother’s morogo.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Lungile Shabalala. International is Lewis Hamilton.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Staying in my pyjamas all day.

 

JAMIE CLOETE – EDGEMEAD, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

Name: Jamie Cloete

Region: Edgemead, Cape Town, Western Cape.

Age: 23 (April 28, 1998)

Occupation:
I am currently studying to obtain my accreditation with the Green Building Council of South Africa with the aim of achieving net zero impact in the areas of carbon, water, waste and ecology. The programme teaches one to understand the importance of reducing the impact in the design, construction and operation of green buildings. In 2019 I completed my Bachelor of Social Science undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town. In December 2020 I graduated with an Honours degree in Environmental and Geographical Studies from The University of Stellenbosch.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Earth South Africa semi-finalist in 2020.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Watching brave and strong women create change in the world has motivated me to aspire to greatness. I decided to enter Miss South Africa 2021 because I am ready to face my power, take the step towards achieving my purpose and, like those brave women, create a positive impact. I hold the values of dedication, authenticity, leadership and compassion. Staying true to my values and using my qualifications and passions, I want to inspire all women to embrace their greatness. Carrying the light of the women who have mentored me, I want to inspire young girls to live their purpose, shine and be great. I also believe in the importance of educating our youth on sustainability. By protecting our environment, we improve livelihoods and allow access to basic human rights for the present and future generations.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
At the age of 17 I job shadowed an occupational therapist, as I wanted to pursue this career. To my disappointment, I did not have the subject requirements. My bounce back was the direction of study I then pursued, which ignited the passion within me for the environment and sustainability. I believe through this, I can create a bigger impact for the people and the planet.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The negativity experienced through social media. Victims of cyber-bullying may experience depression and anxiety. Social influencing can make young people want to be someone else. I witnessed one of my friends falling prey to the negativity of social media. When a young person cannot reach the level of ‘perfection’ that is portrayed on social media, it reduces their self-esteem and creates a feeling of loneliness. We need to continue the conversation about the risks involved in social media. Young people can have a healthy experience with social media by utilising it as a tool to share positive news. It is crucial to find the balance between social media and living in the present.

Who are your role models?
Rolene Strauss whom I had the privilege of meeting at her book launch. Reading her book, taught me to embrace who I am and to live my purpose. Also, my aunt, who was able to study for her Masters, work two jobs and look after her family. She taught me that there is no limit to what we can achieve.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother Eleanor is in trade international banking, and my father Fulton is a real estate agent. I have a younger brother, Kyle (18) who is in Matric.

What do you do in your spare time?
Volunteer work, kickboxing, exercise, gardening, spending time with loved ones, road trips.

What is your single biggest achievement?
I was a Miss Earth South Africa 2020 semi-finalist. The programme provides young women with the knowledge and platform to understand environmental challenges and to create a sustainable difference. During my Miss Earth journey, I donated to those in need, planted trees in my community and participated in beach clean-ups. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Miss Earth process was different to previous years. The delegates shared environmental knowledge in a creative way. I took the initiative to start my own compost heap and herb garden at home. I was able to share my knowledge and encourage environmental change. I inspired my family to recycle, compost, garden and be eco-friendly. The difference I was able to make during that year will always be one of my greatest achievements.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
They teach women to embrace their individuality, promote the causes that they are passionate about and that will make a difference in society. Beauty pageants are no longer only about outer beauty. It uplifts and provides a platform for women to build self-confidence, be authentic, show championship, create empowerment and fulfil their purpose. These women are an example for younger generations.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
You are never too young to change the world. Like our elders, the youth can also be mentors. Young girls and women, challenge our mindsets and teach us how to change the world. Your strongest trait is loving yourself and your individuality makes you great. Enjoy the process of becoming the very best version of yourself while inspiring future generations.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love that South Africa is a multi-cultural society with a diverse group of people. We are a young nation with endless growth and improvement opportunities. I want to be part of this exciting process.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
That South Africa become more environmentally conscious and live sustainably. Through the protection of our environment, we improve livelihoods and allow access to basic human rights such as water, food and sanitation.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
South Africans were able to join together against a common enemy – the coronavirus. We knew we needed to not only protect ourselves but also others, by following strict safety protocols. We learnt to not take anything for granted, such as the importance of family, health, religious beliefs, human connection and education. An opportunity for self-reflection on our thoughts, emotions and goals.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would want to meet Barbara Creecy, the Minister of Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, to discuss environmental challenges and share ideas on how we can create a sustainable difference in our battle to combat the destruction of our natural heritage.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have read the entire Bible … twice.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Enjoy the present moment and have faith as everything works out the way it should at the perfect time.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Compassionate, brave, dedicated.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Change starts with you.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Khosi Nkosi. This brand is colourful, feminine, stylish and exudes confidence and strength.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I have a purple belt in K1 kickboxing.

What would be your dream holiday?
Kruger National Park to see the Big 5.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Element manipulation.

What are you reading?
The Gifts of Imperfections by Brené Brown

What music are you listening to?
‘90s R&B

What are your favourite TV shows?
Friends, Blood and Water, The Crown, Down to Earth.

What is your favourite meal?
My mom’s Sunday roast

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Salt and vinegar flavoured popcorn.

 

JEANNI MULDER – SEA POINT, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

Name: Jeanni Mulder

Region: Sea Point, Cape Town, Western Cape.

Age: 24 (June 24, 1997)

Occupation:
After graduating high school, I started working full time as an international model. I signed with Boss Models at the age of 17 and with international agencies at 18. I am currently doing a TEFL course to help educate people around the world speak English.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Because I want to offer all that I am to those around me. I want to take this opportunity to further the growth of the great woman that I am and provide hope and opportunities for the younger generation. I want to use my voice, my platform, my time and my skills to better the road that others have to walk on. To be Miss South Africa is an honour and a responsibility and I would use my voice to influence all South Africans.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Being in an industry that is purely based on your appearances can be crushing. I’ve struggled from depression and I still struggle from anxiety but I have told myself who I am and what I have to offer is enough.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Mental health.

Who are your role models?
My mom. She has taught me to fight hard, love deeply and never to be afraid of being passionate about what makes you happy.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother, Brenda, is an admin/rental assistant at a property company. My stepfather, Ettiene, has his own construction company called Farao Construction. I have a brother Louis, who has a degree in IT. My stepbrother Albe passed away in October 2019 as a result of a car accident.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to do anything artsy such as paint, make something clay-based etc. I also like to watch TV series and during the pandemic I learned how to play Texas Holdem Poker so I play quite often with family and friends.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Entering for Miss South Africa. Since I posted my entry video I told myself that whatever comes from this journey I will be content. The growth I’ve already seen in myself by just posting the video is so much more than I could’ve ever asked for. I just wish my younger self could see how far I’ve come, compared to the shy, insecure girl that I was growing up.

Why do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
They are a platform for women whose voices will be heard. It gives them the opportunity to make a change for those who feel like they will never be heard and I know we are improving, but there is still not enough of these platforms for women. Change has happened in the beauty pageant organisations where the “beauty” that they look for is on the inside.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Who you are and what you have to offer is enough. You are so powerful and you deserve to be heard. Find your why, because everything you need to achieve greatness is already inside of you.

What do you love about South Africa?
The easiest answer would be to say the diversity of our country, which is so beautiful. But what I love even more is the humanity of everyone from different cultures.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
Gender-based violence.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I believe that there is always a positive in every situation. Families have reconnected and become closer; we gained introspection and realised how much we have taken for granted in the past and we know we have a greater appreciation for things.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Oprah Winfrey as I feel like I could receive a lot of knowledge from her. What she has done by creating her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa is incredible.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am really good at poker.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Everything you need to achieve greatness is already inside you so never let you circumstances control your future.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Compassionate. Strong-willed. Genuine

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Always know your worth.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Coco Chanel, she was a fashion designer as well as a business woman. I’ve always been a fan of her elegant, stylish styles which really complement yet empowers a woman.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I’m very goofy once you get to know me.

What would be your dream holiday?
Summer – Mauritius. Winter – Blue Lagoon, Iceland

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Teleportation.

What are you reading?
Rising Strong by Brene Brown

What music are you listening to?
Pop, alternative, ‘90s R&B, golden oldies.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Grace and Frankie, Schitt’s Creek, Vikings and How I Met Your Mother.

What is your favourite meal?
I’m a foodie, so my favourite food depends on where I am. But I love sushi with fried tempura prawns.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Chad Le Clos and Margot Robbie.

 

KAYLAN MATTHEWS – GQEBERHA, EASTERN CAPE

Name: Kaylan Matthews

Region: Gqeberha, Eastern Cape

Age: 25 (April 20, 1996)

Occupation:
I am in my final year of studies for a Bachelors in Human Movement Science (BHMS) at the Nelson Mandela University. I have a huge love for exercise and living a healthy, wholesome lifestyle. I will correct misinformation people are told about the health and fitness industry with the knowledge that I obtain from my degree. I also want to motivate people to accept themselves and learn to love their bodies and to fall in love with exercise and all its benefits.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Face of Ponds 2018 – Top 5; Ultimate Wildcat 2019 #choosekindness – Top 5

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I have always admired the Miss South Africa platform but up until now have never been eligible to enter. I am 160cm tall and have a tattoo. With the Miss South Africa Organisation lifting restrictions I can see myself amongst the great women who have entered before me, not only contributing to the diversity and inclusivity but further using my voice in conjunction with theirs to carry on addressing and voicing concerns. The sisterhood built up in the organisation is admirable and it’s something I can see myself a part of. I am ready to inspire and empower those that will follow after me. As a country, we need to continue voicing the problematic conversations but not forgetting all the joyous moments us as women and a country experience.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I changed qualifications twice so always felt that I was behind in life. My immediate family has been my biggest support system as they would remind me that as long as I don’t quit, I am not failing. I grew closer to my faith and with this I am content knowing that my journey is unique, my timing is my own and perseverance will get me to where I need to be.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Comparison. Social media has become imbedded in our everyday lives. Us as young individuals are constantly comparing ourselves to the next individual. It can and does affect us mentally.

Who are your role models?
My parents, who have worked hard to put my brother and me through university. I can always rely on them. They constantly push and motivate me through life and remind me that all my dreams are valid and that they will always be there. My brother too always motivates me, uplifts me and supports me. He is hardworking and encourages me to be the same. I am blessed with an amazing family that continues being my support system.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother Michelle has a national diploma in policing and is currently a police captain.
My father Eric has degrees in criminology and forensic investigation and is also a police captain. My brother Keagan has a degree in pharmacy and is a pharmacist.

What do you do in your spare time?
If I’m not at the gym I’m home watching Netflix or catching up with university work.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Everything I take on, I tend to either succeed in or get really far in. That to me is a single achievement within itself as it shows me that I do things passionately and wholeheartedly and I that believe in myself and my potential.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Different platforms empower different women. Each platform serves its own purpose yet strives towards a common goal. A woman has the opportunity to walk a local/ global stage and feel beautiful. They also use the stage to address world issues to a large audience. These women are sometimes highly qualified and skilled in areas. If beauty pageants were no longer serving a purpose, the interest in them would have declined. Women are inspired by women and there’s nothing degrading about that.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Their dreams are valid. You need to believe and appreciate your physical attributes and your needs. It’s important to have vision in life; it puts you on a path of self-focus. With this, know that your path and timing is different to that of your neighbour. There is no wrong way to life if you are focused enough to chase your goals. What is meant to be yours, will be yours.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
Our youth need to be taken more seriously. Their voices need to be heard; their concerns need to be addressed as they are the future leaders of this country. Study opportunities need to be granted and youth graduates need to hold important positions in our country.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Appreciate those that are in your life consistently. Life can take them away at any given moment, so it’s important to appreciate the time and access you do have with them. I also feel that it showed that us as a human race can come together and support, help and motivate each other to achieve a desired outcome.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Any person that has paved the path for the next deserves my respect and I would be honoured to meet them. I don’t think I have one particular person of importance on my mind.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I danced classical ballet from eight to 17-years-old.

What is the No 1 piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
You’ve prayed for it, now wait for it while working towards it. Your time will come and what’s meant to be will happen.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS
Describe yourself in three words:
Ambivert, empathetic, headstrong

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Failing doesn’t mean failure

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Gert-Johan Coetzee. His pieces never disappoint.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I’m short and tend to photograph tall

What would be your dream holiday?
A trip to Dubai, on a yacht with my girls

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
The ability to teleport

What are you reading?
Study material

What music are you listening to?
Old school R’n’B always

What are your favourite TV shows?
Suidooster, Arendsvlei, Pose, Blood and Water, Euphoria, You, Sex Education, Emily in Paris, Teen Mom 2

What is your favourite meal?
Seafood, chicken and sushi. Also, lentil soups

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Oreos

 

KEASHEL VAN DER MERWE – ROODEPOORT, GAUTENG

Name: Keashel van der Merwe
Region: Discovery, Roodepoort, Gauteng.

Age: 22 (October 14, 1998)

Occupation:
I am an independent make-up artist. I had experience in the promotion business as well as a corporate background before I ventured into make-up artistry.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I entered Miss South Africa 2021 to not only empower women but to step into my power and future. I believe that I deserve this title because not only am I relatable but I also never give up. I believe a Miss South Africa should be resilient, kind and patient as well as a woman who reclaims her strength, not only for societal reasons, but to be a shining beacon of hope for women and young girls who wouldn’t deem achieving the greatness tied to this title as possible.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I grew up in the modelling industry at a tender age and fell deeply in love with everything it had to offer. I temporarily left the industry due to unfair treatment which demotivated me. The more I dabbled in opposite avenues from the industry, the more unpleasantness it brought into my life. I conquered my doubt and fear and made the decision to try again.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
I believe that the lack of opportunity is the biggest problem facing young people. If more opportunities were given to our young people, it would advance their livelihood, career paths and desired studies.

Who are your role models?
My role model has to be my mother. It is known that a mother sets the tone for her daughter. She has laid the foundation for the woman that I have chosen to grow into.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father, Jerome, is an immigration practitioner and my mother, Charmain, is studying to become an ordained minister. I have an elder brother who is in the banking industry.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love reading books aimed at strengthening one’s mind and emotional maturity as well as inspirational material. I also enjoy perfecting my make-up artistry craft.

What is your single biggest achievement?
My single biggest achievement to date has been entering Miss South Africa 2021. I believe that the rest is yet to come.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
The Miss South Africa pageant has broken the stigma of what people believe beauty pageants to be. The organisation has created a platform built around empowering woman. Giving all woman the hope and the enlightenment that they can achieve anything they desire.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Your self-doubt is nothing but false evidence appearing to be real. Drop it because none of your fears can go towards the greatness you are headed for.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the nature of our people along with our diversity as a nation. Our culture, food and art definitely set us apart from the rest of the world.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would love to change our financial status as a country as I believe that there is so much more potential for our beautiful land. The people of South Africa deserve a comfortable life where resources are abundant and available to every South African as a basic human right.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
One of the Covid 19 positives is that it has helped our environment. Secondly it has forced us to cherish our loved ones more, as well as spending more quality time together. Thirdly, it has encouraged more entrepreneurship and opened more doors for those who were afraid to start their own business.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Nelson Mandela because I would have loved to interact with him to understand how he kept steadfast in the lonely walk he faced in achieving freedom and democracy for South Africa.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I can pick up languages easily.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would advise my younger self to be more confident in my failures because it will equip me with a stronger character as well as a stronger life path. It will strengthen you to face any and everything thrown at you. Your self-belief will carry you through.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Humble. Honourable. Patient.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Your purpose is divine.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Coco Chanel. Gabrielle Chanel came from nothing but her legacy lives on and what she built stands as one of the biggest fashion houses globally today.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I have a dry sense of humour.

What would be your dream holiday?
Anywhere beach side.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To make people tell the truth.

What are you reading?
Think Like A Monk by Jay Shetty.

What music are you listening to?
Beyonce

What is your favourite TV show?
Suits

What is your favourite meal?
Butter chicken and roti with a side of pumpkin.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Lira and Jennifer Lopez

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream

 

KGAKETSANG MATHOBISA – BOCHABELA, BLOEMFONTEIN, FREE STATE

Name: Kgaketsang Mathobisa

Region: Bochabela, Bloemfontein, Free State.

Age: 22 (June 19, 1999)

Occupation:
I am a third-year student at the University of the Free State pursuing my BA degree in integrated organisational communication.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Free State SA 2020, Top 14 finalist.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Entering Miss South Africa has been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I knew I never really fulfilled the requirements before, but now that the organisation’s entry rules are more inclusive, I had no excuse not to enter. Together with Miss South Africa platform, I want to be at the forefront of fighting against social injustices and celebrate one another for our authenticity and individualities.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
My biggest disappointment was not enrolling in my first year of university the year after matriculating. I felt embarrassed knowing I was on an extended programme instead of doing my first year like the rest of my peers. I viewed this as such a setback and thought that I was a failure. Looking back a year later I realised the benefits of doing the extended programme and now I cannot believe I felt as though my world was ending.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The lack of opportunities presented to them to help nurture their talent and improve their skills. We face huge unemployment in this country and it’s only getting worse. Another problem that the youth is facing is comparisons against each other and seeking approval on social media. This makes others feel as though they are behind and it’s too late to pursue what they want to achieve in life.

Who are your role models?
Bonang Matheba. She dared to live out her wildest dreams and did not let other people’s opinions discourage her. She showed me that it takes hard work and dedication to make your dreams come true and having witnessed her do it makes it attainable for us too.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I live with my mother and grandmother. My grandmother has three daughters who each have one daughter making us a household of women. My older aunt is a primary school teacher and her daughter is 14 years, my mom is an entrepreneur and my younger aunt is a high school teacher and her daughter is 27-years-old.

What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not catching up on my reading, I love spending time working on improving my make-up skills.

What is your single biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement has been putting myself out there and not letting fear and self-doubt hold me back. This happened when I entered my first pageant, Miss Free State. Deciding to embark on that journey has led me to uncover so much about myself and tap into my true potential and has given me the courage to enter Miss South Africa.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Pageants remain relevant because not only do they focus on beauty, but they also encourage community upliftment. This platform empowers women to focus on their causes and use their voices to bring about change and awareness. People who say pageantry degrades women are wrong. Pageants allow women to step into their true potential and use their power and voices to bring positive change, not only in their lives, but also in the lives of those around them. They teach self-confidence and how to use this platform for good.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
To continue even when they feel fear. I want to dare them go after their hopes and dreams and be the change they wish to see. I’m not saying fear won’t be there, but let it not stand in the way of you working towards being the best version you envision for yourself.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the different cultures we have and how we embrace our diversity and pride ourselves in being called the Rainbow Nation.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
We don’t treat each other equally and we don’t always see each other as one. I want to change the social injustices we face as a nation and encourage people to see each other as equals rather than inferior.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
This global pandemic has slowed things down and made us put things into perspective. We’ve learned to be more grateful for those around us and living more in the present because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Khanyi Dhlomo. She’s been such an inspiration and witnessing her working towards a vision she had for herself and making it come true is proof that we truly can do anything we put our minds to as long as we can see it and believe we can do it.
I’d love to explore her views on females being treated as inferior in the corporate environment, whether she has experienced it and how she dealt with it and overcame it.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Growing up I felt very insecure about my height.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Stop worrying so much about what the future holds. Trust that what’s for you will always find you.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Tall, mindful, compassionate

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Do you, for you.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Zuhair Murad. His designs always capture one’s eye and he makes breath-taking garments of which I can envision myself wearing almost each and every one of them. His designs embody femininity, regal and boldness all at the same time

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags.

What would be your dream holiday?
A two week stay in Santorini, Greece.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To teleport.

What are you reading?
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi.

What music are you listening to?
Mostly Amapiano and some Afro Pop.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Friends re-runs and All American.

What is your favourite meal?
My aunt’s signature lasagne.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Skhumbuzo Radebe from the House Music DJ Duo, Lemon & Herb and international is Jay Ellis.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate brownies from Woolworths.

 

KGATLHISO MODISANE – DORANDIA, PRETORIA, GAUTENG

Name: Kgatlhiso Modisane

Region: Dorandia, Pretoria, Gauteng

Age: 27 (March 10, 1994)

Occupation:
I am an admitted attorney working in the banking industry. I am also a part-time student, studying towards a qualification in taxation at the University of Pretoria, with the hopes of becoming a registered tax practitioner.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I believe Miss South Africa is a woman that possesses intelligence and has street smarts and compassion. She is a woman that can move from a boardroom to helping out at a disaster relief site without skipping a beat. She is a lady of integrity and honesty in all aspects of her life and is willing to be selfless for the benefit of her nation. The experiences in my life have groomed me into being such a woman. One who stands for the rights of others as well as her own. It is a privilege to have learnt so much about myself but also how I can impact the world for future generations. This why I believe that my past has been a dress rehearsal for this moment.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Failing two of my Attorney’s Board exams twice. One lesson my mother has always taught me is to leave room for disappointment. As earth-shattering as any disappointment can be, understanding that nothing is guaranteed makes me appreciate what I have achieved. The beauty of always finding the silver lining is that we as humans won’t stay down for long.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The biggest problem facing our youth is the expectation to achieve beyond their years. Young adults who have recently left their respective tertiary institutions feel the pressure to exceed their predecessors and achieve it all in record time. This has in turn led to more youngsters experiencing mental health issues and with no adequate support this has rendered them incapable of succeeding and sustaining that success.

Who are your role models?
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has truly inspired me to strive to be an ethical legal professional. As a Chief Justice, he has ruled by his ethics and morals which I believe have been built by his deep-rooted spirituality in the Christian faith.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I am truly my mom’s twin; bubbly and full of laughter. My mother Faith is an educator and my father Mokgatle is a project inspector/supervisor in construction and engineering. I have an older sister, Thuli (29), who has followed in my mother’s footsteps.

What do you do in your spare time?
I channel my inner MasterChef and perfect my culinary craft. Cooking allows me to clear my thoughts and to be completely present.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Officially being admitted as an attorney. The journey was gruesome yet absolutely worth it. I met some amazing colleagues, shed tears, worked late nights, unlocked doors traditionally shut, rose to the occasion and really owned my strengths.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
They showcase not only the beauty of woman but also the tenacity and overwhelming confidence in their diversity. In a world where woman are still being stripped of the rights and dignity, I believe that platforms that are courageous and brazen in advocating for woman are necessary to our shared communities.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
We have a long way to go. Take up that spear. The challenges that face woman daily are still prevalent in our society. Laws and regulations seldom change attitudes. It is our responsibility to make more progress for our young girls.

What do you love about South Africa?
South Africa has always been a resilient country, we laugh through the pain and embrace each other despite differences. Ubuntu permeates in everything we do and it can be seen in times of collective strife. We are an ambitious, loving, self-deprecating and steadfast country and I am more than proud to call this home. I also love South Africa’s ability to allow others to call this home with open arms.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
What has always made South Africa great, has been the ability to stand together and fight the inequalities and those determined to destroy our paradise. If I could change anything, it would be to reinforce patriotism. South Africans need to be prouder and firmer about their country and their origins.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
As difficult as it’s been for all nations, the past 18 months have been revolutionary for all human beings. This has definitely been a test of the wills and a lesson in appreciating the smallest of aspects in our lives. The pandemic has taught us to love harder because tomorrow is not promised, to forgive freely because letting go requires less energy than holding on to hurt, to connect more because moments are things to treasure and not avoid.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng. I admire his passion for upholding the rule law and for paving the way for a constitutional South Africa.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am actually real goofy.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Do something every day that scares you. Focusing on others’ concerns and not on what will edify my mind, soul and spirit are counterproductive to self-growth, self-awareness and self-love.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Empathetic, graceful, independent

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
True humility fosters selflessness.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
The fashion house of Quiteria Atelier has always been able to fuse innovation, sophistication and elegance in their clothing.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Shoes. I would rather run around bare foot with my entire life in my handbag.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I can sometimes be a bit untidy.

What would be your dream holiday?
A holiday that allows me to see the world for growth and enlightenment and for a greater understanding of other cultures.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
The power to be invisible.

What are you reading?
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Nogzi Adichie

What music are you listening to?
Old school R’n’B

What are your favourite TV shows?
My Kitchen Rules, Banged up Abroad and The Fixer. I am currently binge watching my all-time favourite Ugly Betty.

What is your favourite meal?
Junk food. I am blessed to have a fast metabolism

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Thapelo Mokoena and international is Devon Franklin.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Eating dessert before dinner.

 

KGOTHATSO DITHEBE – CENTURION, PRETORIA, GAUTENG

Name: Kgothatso Dithebe

Region: Centurion, Pretoria, Gauteng

Age: 26 (April 10, 1995)

Occupation:
I am currently studying towards my LLB law degree with the University of South Africa. I also have a company that deals with construction and supply of goods and services.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants:
Miss South Africa in 2019 Top 5.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
My life story was not always easy but, sharing it with the entire nation and trying to make a difference is what I stand for. I have seen how bullying and cyber bullying is rapidly increasing in our country, which leads to a lot of suicide and mental health issues. Being someone who was bullied I know what that feels like. I took a different route and I want the nation to see themselves in me. A story of a beautiful young girl who was bullied and committed suicide because she could not take it anymore has urged me to enter Miss South Africa once again; to be loud and to ensure I spread the message across all borders. I pride myself in representing my nation as a solid, growing and a relatable woman.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
My biggest disappointment was not winning Miss South Africa in 2019. But seeing a woman deserving of the title and how she pushed boundaries and changed the narrative, made me work harder on myself. I bounced back by blocking out negativity and worked on myself, my growth, my mental health. I became positive and attracted positivity. I booked campaigns, television commercial. I am even on billboards and in magazines.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The biggest problem facing young people today is self-identity. The manner in which young people see themselves, what we want from life and where we are going. Young people end up with a lot of peer pressure and societal influences which can lead to substance abuse, causing them to lack aspiration and inspiration.

Who are your role models?
Ma’am Basetsana Khumalo. I love how she mentors young women. Not only does she open doors for other women, she also helps them realise their dreams and potential. I love her bravery. She was crowned Miss South Africa 1994 and her beauty is still so radiant. One would say she’s timeless.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father John (54), is a policeman and a former football player. He loves sports – we are a family of athletes. He is also a pastor. My mother Cynthia (50) is the head detective in the Tshwane region. She loves gym, playing netball and us a soloist in our church choir. My brother Thapelo is in Grade 11 and is one of the top athletes in Gauteng.

What do you do in your spare time?
I got to the gym and play netball. I love cooking and trying out new recipes.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Buying my first property this year.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Because of social media, beauty pageants have gained popularity globally, making them relevant now more than ever. Many who join beauty pageants are not only beautiful but strong, smart and have more substance than we think. Beauty pageants play a significant role in helping and challenging women to be greater version of themselves.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
I always tell people to be themselves. Believe in yourself, believe you have a greater purpose. Never conform to societal standards. Throughout my life, I was told that my skin was ugly and I would try to fit in, in every way possible. But one day I decided to love myself and every single flaw that I have. I made a declaration that I was beautiful. By doing so everyone around me started accepting and embracing not only me but themselves. My message is be yourself and love yourself wholeheartedly; never give the next person the power to make you feel self-conscious because of what they believe is not societal standard.

What do you love about South Africa?
South Africa is a beautiful country along with its people. With a lot of rich history, so many cultures and languages. We pride ourselves in the diversity we have.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
One thing I would like to change about South Africa is personal self-motivation. South Africa lacks platforms that build our people to be self-motivated. How to build ourselves within our economical spaces, given the fact that our country is a rich and resourceful country and not exploit the instruments available. We should be able to see opportunities ourselves. Hence causing unity and diversity to avoid racism and xenophobia.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I see a lot of positivity, the ability to be financially literate, saving money for rainy days, living within your means and general understanding of how the economy works. People have begun to appreciate their own spaces, homes and loved ones a lot more. They appreciate their jobs. They are aware and woke regarding their hygiene and good health. People have realised just how small the world is and that we are all connected one way or another.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet any girl or woman who has given up on life or thinks they aren’t good enough and remind them of their worth, remind them of the power they possess in them and the abundance this world has to offer. I would love to tell them to look at things in a different scope and be the change that’s needed- even if it’s for one person.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy watching wrestling.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
If only you knew how much power and strength you have, you wouldn’t let other people control how you feel about yourself. Everything you are going to go through will prepare you for the greatness that awaits you.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Ambitious, confident and a go-getter.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Live in the moment.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Otiz Seflo. His designs are very elegant, versatile and subtle.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I am a very shy person.

What would be your dream holiday?
Milan, capital city of fashion.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Hearing peoples thoughts.

What are you reading?
The Monk who Sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma.

What music are you listening to?
I love old school RnB.

What is your favourite TV show?
Money Heist.

What is your favourite meal?
Samp and tripe (mogodu)

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Thuso Mbedu and international is Michelle Obama

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Spending money on clothes and food instead of saving it for something more significant.

 

LALELA MSWANE – KWASOKHULU, RICHARDS BAY, KWAZULU-NATAL

Name: Lalela Mswane

Region: KwaSokhulu, Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal

Age: 24 (March 27, 1997)

Occupation:
I am a model and dancer and I hold a Bachelor of Law qualification from the University of Pretoria.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
I was the first runner up at the Matric Experience 2015 pageant.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I entered Miss South Africa 2021 in pursuit of a childhood dream. I deserve to win this title because I believe that my advocacy against the abatement of unemployment in our nation is one which requires dire attention and having the full support of the Miss South Africa Organisation would provide greater impact in the quest for meaningful and long-lasting solutions. I possess the compassion, tenacity, leadership and people skills which render me a worthy title holder. With a willing heart, an open mind and an eagerness to learn and grow, it would be an absolute honour to reign as Miss South Africa 2021.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Being rejected by clients in the modelling industry. Patience and a mentality shift aided my bounce back. Rejection helped mould the resolute lady I am today, and my indomitable will to succeed is fortified each time I’m told “no”.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Young people suffer the greatest self-esteem and body-image issues today more than ever. They constantly subject themselves to comparison and always feel like they fall short of societal standards of beauty. This, I believe is among the leading causes of bullying and depression in a lot of young people.

Who are your role models?
My mother is my greatest role model. She is the greatest giver of love, patience, kindness, affection and support. She never fails to extend grace even when she experiences injustice. With exceptional resilience, strength and profound wisdom, if I could be only half the woman she is, I would truly be one great woman. I also find inspiration in the late actress, Audrey Hepburn. She was a classic beauty and style icon, and always radiated effortless elegance yet what made her the most beautiful was her philanthropy.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father passed away in 2010, leaving behind my mother, my siblings and me. I am the last born of three. My sister, Hlobisile (37), holds a BCom Honours in Business Management but is employed in the training and occupational assessments field. My brother Mavela (35) opted to go the electrical engineering route. My mom, Hleliselwe, was an accounts clerk and after years in the labour force decided to assume the great responsibility of being a homemaker.

What do you do in your spare time?
If I’m not reading, you’ll find me changing my nail colour or organising my clothing cupboards.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Obtaining my Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Pretoria in minimum time.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
With representation being broader in beauty pageants today more than ever, pageants make one loud statement: there is beauty in diversity. Pageantry is empowering and gone are the days where the focal point pageants was beauty. Pageants are now a magnificent platform on which charitable causes are promoted and societal issues are addressed, and significant solutions are sought.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
My message is twofold. Firstly, there is strength in unity. So much greatness can be achieved when we unite as women in support of each other. Another female’s success should inspire you and show you that it is possible, even for you. Let us be a generation that exemplifies the notion “empowered women, empower women”. Secondly, women possess everything within them to achieve anything. Our greatness is innate. We need to stop playing small and shrinking ourselves to fit in.

What do you love about South Africa?
Our country is extremely rich in diversity, heritage, culture and history. We boast a beautiful nation abundant in picturesque scenery but my favourite thing about South Africa is our people and their steadfast spirit in the face of any adversity. We also never fail to make humour the centre of any situation, good or bad, I love that!

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The shortage of employment opportunities is so disheartening, particularly in a nation so full of talented and educated people. Our nation lacks the infrastructure to nurture talent and provide platforms conducive to the creation of employment. Consequently, so many South Africans with the best of ideas and talent resort to immigrating to countries where employment opportunities are plenty. That is something I would like to change.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
The unity, compassion and empathy that people have displayed is beautiful. My hope in humanity was restored as I witnessed and continue to witness the kindness and grace people are extending to each other. Where one lacks, another provides. While the pandemic has taken so much from us, we choose to lead with love and goodwill.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Thulas Nxesi, Minister of Employment and Labour. With the reduction of unemployment being my primary advocacy, the opportunity to engage him on the matter and hopefully contribute towards the paving of meaningful changes in this regard would be an absolute honour.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I sucked my thumb for the first 18 years of my life.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to be gentle with myself, get rid of the idea that I must be perfect and look and act a certain way to be accepted. To let go, let God and simply live trusting that everything will be okay, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Graceful, tenacious and meticulous.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
To be fearlessly authentic.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
David Tlale because his designs are pure genius. The feeling invoked in one while adorned in his garments is magical, it’s unmatched. You get the sense that each piece was specially curated with you in mind.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Tough one but I’d say handbags simply because I cannot walk barefoot.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
That I am a dancer. My posture gives it away.

What would be your dream holiday?
A week-long summer vacation in Bora-Bora, a small South Pacific island northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia with my mom and siblings.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Definitely teleportation. Imagine how much time I would save and how many places I’d visit!

What are you reading?
Various Positions – a novel about ballet by Martha Schabas.

What music are you listening to?
Classical music by cellist Stjepan Hauser.

What is your favourite TV show?
I enjoyed the series Devious Maids.

What is your favourite meal?
I love seafood.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Maps Maponyane and Neymar da Silva Santos Junior.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Dancing and singing in front of a mirror as if I were performing for a sold-out show.

 

LEHLOGONOLO MACHABA – LETLHABILE, NORTH WEST

 

Name:
Lehlogonolo Machaba

Region:
Oskraal, Letlhabile in the North West

Age: 24 (December 8, 1996)

Occupation:
I currently work as a model booker at Invade Models and am the founder and owner of the DeMollies fashion brand. I hold a diploma in fashion design technology from the Tshwane University of Technology.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Transgender women are almost always ostracised from such opportunities which is why I never thought I’d see anyone like myself on such a platform. I believe that being chosen would raise hope in a lot of little girls like myself. It has always been a dream of mine to represent my community at such a high level. The daily murder of queer and trans-identifying people in our country is devastating. Through the Miss South Africa platform, I’d be able to advocate for the LGBTQIA community and more specifically queer-identifying women. I would use this opportunity to empower every marginalised person and become a beacon of hope for young girls out there regardless of whatever it is they think hinders them from attaining whatever goal they have. With patience, perseverance and hard work they can attain anything they put their minds to.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
When I lost an opportunity to travel to Milan for the Gucci fashion show because of my gender marker and not having the necessary documents to change it. Through that, I’ve learned that failure is just a redirection of something bigger and better and used it as an opportunity to speak out about my identity on social media which has inspired a lot of people and has educated them on the necessary steps one should take when transitioning.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
High unemployment and lack of access to information about opportunities that getting an education can bring.

Who are your role models?
My mother. She is the true definition of a strong woman, she survived GBV and lengthy years of being unemployed, and yet through all those challenges she came out strong and graceful. Through her I’ve learned to never settle for anything below your worth and to put God first before all your plans. Amazing results come to those who know when to fight and when to wait patiently.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I live with my mother Caroline (43), who is a supervisor of service aid at a public hospital and my little brother, Keorapetse (13), who is in grade seven. My father Mighty Masango (44) is a boilermaker engineer at a public hospital.

What do you do in your spare time?
I volunteer at a local LGBTQIA centre, Access Chapter Two, and help young people with university applications and job applications. I also design clothes for my DeMollies brand.

What is your single biggest achievement?
I won best creative student of the year at university.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Through beauty pageants we’ve seen society and communities aspire for change, inspiring young women to be exceptional and believe in changing the world for the better like Zozibini Tunzi. Young girls like myself are being inspired to dream big and chase their dreams. Beauty pageants are more relevant than ever and are highly inclusive and updated. We’ve seen them transition over the years from including women with different body shapes, skin tones, different backgrounds to now allowing transgender women like myself to enter.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Dream beyond your imagination and always prioritise your education and mental health first.

What do you love about South Africa?
The fact that we are a rainbow nation that is full of diversity.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The stigma against queer and trans-identifying individuals.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I’ve seen that through unity we can conquer anything be it a virus or hate crime. Nothing can stand against us.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Laverne Cox. I see myself in her and love what she stands for as a transgender woman and am highly inspired by her ongoing advocacy for women and transgender individuals. She was the first transgender woman to win an Emmy and the first on the cover of Time magazine and continues to break the mould and be an inspiration to all women out there.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy cooking.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Be authentic at all times, because you stand out.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Blessed, brave, empowered.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Live a purposeful life.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Rich Mnisi is trendy and authentic to his brand.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I’m goofy most of the times.

What would be your dream holiday?
Being on a yacht in Santorini with all my family and friends.

If you could have any superhuman power what would it be?
Telekinesis.

What are you reading?
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts.

What music are you listening to?
Burna Boy and Hillsong worship.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Euphoria, Pose and Sense8.

What is your favourite meal?
Kota.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Thando Thabethe and Rihanna.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice-cream.

 

LICALLE ISAACS – PLUMSTEAD, WESTERN CAPE

Name: Licalle Isaacs

Region: Plumstead, Cape Town, Western Cape.

Age: 21 (July 6, 1999)

Occupation:
I graduated in hospitality management from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Before Covid impacted the hospitality and tourism industry, my desire was to travel the world and become a flight attendant. Currently I am doing my advanced diploma in events management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered and either placed or won:
There has only been one pageant that I have competed in and this took place in 2004 at the Kenilworth Racecourse when I was four-years-old. I was a first runner-up!

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I realised that God wants me to prosper in every aspect of my life using the abilities and skills he blessed me with. I want to be an inspiration to young women and girls and show them that they should always remain focused and not follow a crowd that could affect them negatively and impact their future.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I have been in the modelling industry since 2016 and often you don’t get a job you’ve gone after. But I didn’t let disappointments get in the way of pursuing my modelling career. I persisted because I knew the end goal would be greater than my expectations. I changed my mindset positively, did not compare myself to other models and showcased my true characteristics and style. I realised that different is the new fashion. When I implemented these strategies, I started prospering in the modelling industry.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Social media and the celebrity industry. There are many music videos of rap artists smoking marijuana and, because we as young people look up to these moguls, we think this is the lifestyle we should indulge in.

Who are your role models?
Actress Taraji P. Henson. She went to Hollywood with only a few dollars in her pocket and she took her son with her. At this time, she did not have a permanent job but she had faith that she would prosper. She is also a phenomenal woman who is not afraid to show her support when another woman has achieved a goal.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father, Kenneth, is qualified welder. My mother, Sharon, is a house executive. I am the youngest of three girls. My oldest sister Colleen Jones is a social worker and had the privilege of continuing her studies in the UK. My middle sister Nicole Treleven is a qualified beautician and has worked on many cruise lines.

What do you do in your spare time?
I like educating myself by watching various documentaries. I also watch comedy shows and movies. Coming from the hospitality industry, I also enjoy trying out different restaurants.

What is your single biggest achievement?
I performed in a modelling show that took place at my high school and was the only girl that got scouted.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
It is not about the contestant’s outer beauty but the focus on what we can bring to the table. It gives women a voice that can positively impact people in their community. Zozibini Tunzi and Shudufadzo Musida are great examples of authentic women who are very different from what was once considered beautiful.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Do not conform or fit in to make everyone around you comfortable. We are all born different and there is a reason for this.

What do you love about South Africa?
Our diversity. We have many languages and cultures that we can learn from. I admire the humour we have as a nation.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
No one deserves to be born into poverty and grow up in it. We all should be able to experience good schools, healthy, filling meals and a roof over our heads. This connects with creating more jobs.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Covid 19 forced many people to realise their strengths and forced them to create their own businesses. Technology has become more advanced with different apps we can use to communicate with one another regarding work or studies. My life has been impacted positively with my mindset changing in what’s more important in life and to live each day as if it is my last because I have learnt that your life is not guaranteed so you should not take it for granted. My faith in God also grew stronger.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Tyler Perry. His movies influenced the way I see life because he does not sugar coat the scripts.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My great-grandmother on my mother’s side of the family was a Xhosa woman.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
You will go through a time in your life where people will judge you because you don’t blend in with what is considered normal in the Cape Malay culture but you need to train yourself to allow yourself to make your own decisions. You need to know that your happiness comes first. You will learn from your mistakes. You are the light of the world; shine bright and take up your place in this world as the queen that you are.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Goal-driven, confident, joyful.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Work towards your destiny.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Khosi Nkosi is my favourite brand designer as I like seeing traditional wear being modernised.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
When people look at me, they think I do not eat much because I am very slim but I actually eat large portions of food. I am a lover of food.

What would be your dream holiday?
My dream holiday would be on a tropical island … preferably Jamaica.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To read minds of animals and humans.

What are you reading?
Different stories in the Bible. My household is quite religious.

What music are you listening to?
Gospel, Afrobeats, Amapiano, reggae and soul.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Local shows such as Lingashoni, Date My Family and Mzali Wami and international shows such as The Masked Singer, Greenleaf and New Amsterdam.

What is your favourite meal?
A medium-rare steak with mushroom sauce and a side of baked potato with melted butter.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
I do not have a local crush but my international crush is Joeboy.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Gospel music is my guilty pleasure. I find comfort in it.

 

LISANNE LAZARUS – AMANZIMTOTI, KWA ZULU NATAL

 

Name: Lisanne Lazarus

Region: Amanzimtoti, KZN

Age: 25 (January 10, 1996)

Occupation:
I am a PR and brand officer for a local radio station in KZN.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants:
⦁ Miss eThekwini 2014, won
⦁ Miss DUT 2015, won
⦁ Miss South Africa Campus 1st Runner Up 2016
⦁ Miss Mamelodi Sundowns KZN Princess 2016/17
⦁ Miss Mamelodi Sundowns National 2nd Runner Up 2016/17

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
My journey to womanhood has not been an easy one, from the expectations of my conservative upbringing to the expectations from the world on what a woman should be.
But I am ready to face my power and embrace my future. It is time to write my own story; to stand tall in my own individuality and to redefine what it means to be a woman. I entered Miss South Africa because the greatest display of change and evolution is through representation. I want to break every limiting expectation anyone has ever had of me and to represent an army of women who has ever been put in a box and held back. I want women and young girls to look at me and see hope, opportunity and a new beginning. The platform of Miss South Africa will be able to amplify that and give me an opportunity to stand as a vessel for every untold story but, most importantly, inspire others to break their own glass ceilings. Being a young professional navigating the corporate world whilst navigating my womanhood too, has taught me lots of life’s lessons and through disappointments, challenges and heartbreak comes a new beginning and a rise of a stronger being. My hope is that this will start a chain reaction to a more inclusive generation where we are encouraged to find the beauty in our authenticity.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Being accepted into a university for the first time is something every matriculant dreams of. When I was not awarded space at any university for the degree that I wanted to study, I thought my future was compromised and that I was not going to achieve what I had planned out for my life. Instead, I was forced to take a gap year from studies … and what a gap year it was. I entered my first pageant and dedicated my year to the service of others. The rewards? I helped found an NPO in my community that caters to children at their early childhood development level, and I found myself, my passions, and my career. The next year I got accepted to study my 2nd option of career choice and three years later, I received the Dean’s Merit for Broadcast Journalism, a career path in telling stories and being the voice of the voiceless.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
I think that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already high unemployment rate resulting in other multiple issues like mental health. However, inaccessibility to adequate education is really something that continues to cause a ripple effect in the poverty and unemployment bottom line. I think that if every child on South African soil got an equal chance at an adequate education facility stemming from their formative years, we will be setting ourselves up to have a country of purposeful leaders.

Who are your role models?
Basetsana Khumalo – I am always in awe of how she used the platform of Miss South Africa as the springboard to the rest of her life – and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, a woman who grew up in a traditional home but chose the unconventional route.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My father, Gordon is a 52-year-old industrial engineer and pastor in our local community. My mother, Vanessa is a 49-year-old payroll and accounts executive. I am the middle child of four – my eldest sister Latoya (28) is an early education graduate; my younger sister Kayla (23) is completing her BCom degree and my not-so-baby brother Jehiel (15) is in Grade 10.

What do you do in your spare time?
If I am not looking for a cute coffee spot, I Netflix for days or read.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Overcoming my own body insecurities. I went through a phase in my life where the content I was feeding myself on social media became aspirational for me and I dealt with disappointments and hardships through unhealthy lifestyle choices. Two years ago, when I decided to reclaim the driver’s seat to my life, I went on a journey of rediscovery. That meant making healthier choices for my mind, body, and soul. Investing in me again. A journey to wholehearted living. I lost 10kgs but gained so much more.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are a way to celebrate women, for who they are, what they look like and to give them a platform. It is a way to make a statement, to give women a microphone so that their voices can be amplified and their stories told.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
I learnt an important lesson about the power of belief. Your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions and your actions become your reality. So if you have a dream or a goal, if you can think it and speak it, you can achieve it. You are the author to your book, believe in the power of you.

What do you love about South Africa?
I would be doing our country an injustice if I didn’t say our diversity. We are an amalgamation of cultures and tribes making us one of the most diverse countries in the world and that is clearly represented in our people, performing arts, landmarks and food.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would introduce a cabinet of children in our government. Children are our most vulnerable yet most valuable assets. More access to early childhood development programmes for our children will in turn result in a more talented and educated future generation where possibilities are endless and limitations do not exist.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
The Covid-19 pandemic forced us to get out of our comfort zones, to exercise our creativity and to find our way back to the passions and talents we forgot we had. We learnt how to be resilient and agile. We saw the start-up of more small businesses and we learnt the valuable lesson of having a backup plan. An how to smile in the face of adversity.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Priyanka Chopra Jonas because her transition from a little Indian community to the Big Apple in New York City was something iconic for me to watch growing up. She didn’t allow limiting boxes to define her and in fact she went far beyond them. She broke glass ceilings in her own home before facing the world and doing the same there too and this is something I work toward every single day. I would like to share a cup of coffee with her and ask her how she overcame her struggles and the steps she took to emerge victorious.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am actually a tomboy. I participated in almost every sport in school and represented KZN at the South African Girls Golf Championships at the age of 12.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Have fun! Life and time can sometimes get away from you. Don’t rush to grow up, trust God, live in the moment and always remember to have fun.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Resilient, bold, compassionate.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Seek progress, not perfection.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Rich Mnisi is killing it for me at the moment!

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Definitely handbags. I am the type of girl who just needs my cell phone in hand and a lip balm.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I am very sporty – it does not help that I am competitive too.

What would be your dream holiday?
On a tropical island where I can explore the town for its culture but wake up to serenity and a book.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
The ability to heal.

What are you reading?
Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

What music are you listening to?
An album called Old Church Basement by Elevation Worship and Maverick City

What are your favourite TV shows?
Modern Family, Schitt’s Creek and Kim’s Convenience

What is your favourite meal?
Crab curry

Who is your celeb crush?
Michael B Jordan

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream at midnight

 

MAWUSIVE SIBUTHA – NTABANKULU, EASTERN CAPE

Name: Mawusive Sibutha

Region: I am representing the Eastern Cape, my family live in Ntabankulu. I currently live in Bloemfontein, Free State.

Age: 24 (March 9, 1997)

Occupation:
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences and majored in psychology and industrial psychology at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein. Due to the high unemployment rate as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, I decided to tap into my artistic side and start a picnic set-up business.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants:
Winner of the Miss Mundell Drive beauty pageant, Kokstad in 2006; winner of Miss Valentines at Kokstad Primary School, 2007; winner of Miss Kokstad College,2015.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I decided to enter because I understand the impact and influence that the Miss South Africa Organisation has. Last year December, my brother and I took a drive to an informal settlement in Ntabankulu. As we were driving past one house, there sat a large group of people who seemed like a family. I could see the sadness and hopelessness in their eyes as they passed around a loaf of bread. The fact that I had witnessed that shook me to the core. How many families are going through this in South Africa? I’ve always had a passion for people who are less fortunate than I am and the alleviation of poverty in our country. I believe that the Miss South Africa Organisation has the ability to assist me in empowering people who live in poverty due to lack of education, being orphaned or homeless so that they too can have a decent livelihood and in turn empower others. I deserve to win because I am a dedicated, hard worker and when something is laid on my heart I cannot rest until it is done.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
My biggest disappointment was when I had to repeat two of my final year modules, which meant that I couldn’t graduate with my class. With the help of my friends and family, I quickly realised that the battle was not over until I completed my degree, so I enrolled again and walked away victorious.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Authenticity. I believe that social media stands at a position of considerable influence when it comes to young people being their real and true selves. The unrealistic standards that social media puts out drives young people to aspire to being people they are not meant to be, thus leaving a gap in the place and position they were meant to occupy.

Who are your role models?
Nomzamo Mbatha, who has dedicated her life to helping people in need through her thriving foundation. She’s a UN Refugees Ambassador and is also in production, which is another one of my passions. Also, At Boshoff who has exceptional leadership skills and a huge heart for people. He has the ability to influence people to strive for perfection and being your best self in order to bring out the best in other people

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother Tembisa, is an educator, my father Zolani is an entrepreneur and I have two sisters, Lungisani, who works for the municipality in Ntabankulu and Pozisa who is also a teacher and a brother Siphe, who is currently completing his Social Sciences degree at Walter Sisulu University in Umtata

What do you do in your spare time?
I love film productions and music, so I watch series and movies. I also love practicing my singing.

What is your single biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is completing my degree.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are more relevant than ever. I’ve seen hundreds of women who were given the opportunity to amplify their voices through the world of pageantry and becoming better women and in turn empowering other women to stand up and be the women they are meant to be. Pageantry is not just about beauty you see outside, it’s a beauty that roars from within and that seeks to leave everyone who comes in contact with you a better person.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
As Cheryl Sandburg puts it in her book Lean In, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” As women we need to start believing in our own abilities because we have greatness embedded in us. If you want to be something in this world, fear should never be what stops you.

What do you love about South Africa?
The togetherness that rises as a need in our fellow citizen’s life arises. I’ve seen South Africa come together to help someone complete their degree or plan an entire wedding for a random couple. Even though we have our differences, underneath all of it is a South Africa who truly loves and cares about each other.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The way that we look at poverty and think that it is ok for some people to die in it. We need to acknowledge that poverty exits in South Africa and that it is a root cause of social injustice. It is at that point where we can actually stand up and do something about it.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Some people were able to find gaps in the economy and were able to start businesses, but the biggest positive was families having the ability to be together and relearn things about each other that they didn’t necessarily have the time to notice through their busy schedules.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet Prof. Thuli Madonsela. She is a huge advocate for social justice and she uses the influence she has to do something about it.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’ve never been to Gauteng!

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Live in each and every moment, moments don’t last forever.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Ambitious, vibrant, kind

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Show up every day.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Laduma Maxhosa. His style is unique and purely South African.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I am a goofy and awkward person.

What would be your dream holiday?
Veranda Grande Baie in Mauritius

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Read people’s minds

What are you reading?
Lean In by Cheryl Sandburg

What music are you listening to?
Gospel and AmaPiano

What is your favourite TV show?
Money Heist

What is your favourite meal?
Wings and fries

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Rorisang Thandekiso and Denzel Washington

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Doughnuts

MORATWE MASIMA – SANDTON, GAUTENG

Name: Moratwe Masima

Region: Atholl, Sandton, Gauteng

Age: 24 (July 29, 1996)

Occupation:
I am a qualified medical doctor and graduated from the University of Stellenbosch. I am currently doing my first year of internship at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and I am an aspiring plastic and reconstructive surgeon.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Teen Western Cape, First Princess; Miss Earth Water 2019.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I believe that a Miss South Africa is a woman that is not afraid to stand up for the social issues that face this country. She is a woman that champions equality and empowerment of women and children and that is exactly who I am. I want to use the platform to amplify my voice as a young woman to inspire change in young boys’ and girls’ hearts to know that they can achieve anything they set their mind to, regardless of the circumstances that they come from. I want to utilise my skills and talents I have acquired as a medical doctor to help South African women get access to safe healthcare.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
When I failed an exam in medical school. I bounced back by remembering why I started and that failure does not define me

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Unemployment. We are currently in a global pandemic that has changed the trajectory of our economy and unfortunately the youth is currently facing the brunt of it. It is imperative that the conversation is had between the youth and the leaders of our country to help bridge the gap between graduation and employment and provide opportunities where whole communities can be uplifted.

Who are your role models?
Oprah Winfrey, because I love how she has been able to completely change the course of her life through self-affirmation and knowing her purpose, which is to serve people.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother Hopolang (50) is a high school teacher and my father Tebello (51) is an entrepreneur in distribution and marketing in the food industry. My brother Morapedi (23) works at an insurance company as a junior developer in coding and my sister Reabetswe (15) wants to go into robotics.

What do you do in your spare time?
I absolutely love being in nature, it keeps me calm especially dealing with such a highly stressful job. I love hiking, going to the beach and going on picnics. If I’m not outside then I’m reading, learning a new skill and making videos for my YouTube channel.

What is your single biggest achievement?
When I was chosen as one of the four young South Africans to represent South Africa at the Johnson and Johnson youth conference in Leiden, Netherlands in 2013. It was an amazing opportunity where I got to interact with ambassadors from different countries around the world and developed so much confidence in myself and represented South Africa on a global stage.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Pageants are women empowerment platforms where women are given the voice to be leaders. Look at the calibre of women and how they have changed their communities

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
That we are powerful and worthy. Now more than ever we need to be leaders and embrace our femininity because it does not make us weak, it makes us authentic to our innate purpose

What do you love about South Africa?
I love how friendly we are and how we are so ready to embrace our cultures

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would change how complacent we are regarding the issue of Gender Based Violence. We need to have actionable change.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
I think that we have all gone through a collective hurt that has inevitably brought us together. We have realised just how short life is and how living a life full of purpose should be our standpoint. The small things in life like spending time with loved ones are now what people value the most.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
I would love to meet the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden. I am in awe of how she handles the global pandemic and how she always put the livelihood of her citizens first. She leads with her heart and with conviction.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I was a tomboy growing up and have the scars to prove it.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
I would tell myself to always stay true to myself. I was a shy and insecure young girl and allowed outside factors to determine my self-worth. As a result, I shrunk myself and my potential. I would tell myself to be proud of who I am and where I come from because it is my story and will add to the success of my life.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Powerful, ambitious, compassionate

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Stay true to yourself

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Gert Johan Coetzee, I love how he merges high fashion with elegance and especially how he styles Bonang.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags, I absolutely love shoes! Especially trying on different heels

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I walked into a wall when I was 13 and cracked one of my front teeth. I cried so much because I loved smiling so much as a child.

What would be your dream holiday?
Brazil. I love the vibrancy of the culture and would love to experience the festivals there.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To fly. I would fly to any country in the world because I want to see as many cultures and countries as possible.

What are you reading?
Start with Why by Simon Sinek

What music are you listening to?
Maverick City. I love how much their music relates to the youth of today

What are your favourite TV shows?
Game of Thrones and anything Marvel related.

What is your favourite meal?
Stew and oven baked bread

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
My local celeb crush is Maps Maponyane. My international crush is Chris Evans

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Ice cream and cake!

 

OLIN-SHAE DE LA CRUZ – BRYANSTON, SANDTON, GAUTENG

Name: Olin-Shae De La Cruz

Region: Bryanston, Sandton, Gauteng.

Age: 27 (March 29, 1994)

Occupation:
I obtained a higher certification in journalism in 2014, from City Varsity in Cape Town. I then went on to study a Bachelors in Business Administration degree and in Media Operations Management from Boston Media House. Throughout my years of studies, I worked in marketing which led to the start of my own business called Swish.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss SA 2017, placed in Top 26; Miss SA 2020, placed in Top 15.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I love what the platform stands for. Providing women with an opportunity to believe in themselves and what they are compassionate about for them to then connect, share and be change agents of that message to ripple throughout the country and potentially the world. I believe I deserve this title because I have shown resilience. Through every defeat I have not forgotten the “why” and I have continued to work on myself to come back stronger always choosing bravery as an example to others to never give up but to rise and grab opportunities.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not trusting my own intuition but rather listening and choosing to take the advice of others too often and the result being not what I truly wanted. I bounced back from this by focusing. Consciously choosing to show who I am, and having faith that my ideas are good enough which resulted in me being more content whether the outcome was good or bad.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The youth are facing so many battles, both internally and externally, and it can all become overwhelming and lead to self destruction. Managing issues such as childhood trauma, bullying and no self-confidence on top of other factors such as lack of education and unemployment.

Who are your role models?
My family. Also, in terms of inspiration, everyone going after their dreams, breaking boundaries or contributing to help others such as Zozibini Tunzi, Barack Obama, the individuals at Johannesburg Dream Centre and God.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
Both of my parents were previously married and had children before they met each other but I am the only child from their marriage. My father Dennis De La Cruz (81) was a member of the tri-cameral parliament but is now retired. My mother Karin Ford (55) works in the car rental industry. I have two sisters and two brothers from my father – Carolyn and Cameron are twins aged 59. My other sister Jacqui is 55 and brother Juan (44) is a doctor. My brother from my mother’s side, Avin (35) works as a restaurant manager and owns a tutoring company.

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy seeing my friends and family, volunteering, working out, reading and walking my dog, Simba.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Obtaining my degree. When I saw my brother graduate with this medical degree it really inspired me just to get that picture with the graduation regalia, to make my parents and myself proud.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants have moved away from just being about beauty, towards showcasing an all-rounded woman who embodies beauty, brains and compassion. It’s relevant in that it provides platforms for woman to grow, achieve, speak up and be change agents in their communities. These women inspire a generation and encourage others to believe in their power to make a difference.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
May my choice of bravery inspire and encourage them to never give up on what they believe they can achieve, contribute and become. They will encounter challenges but it is temporary, have faith that God will lead them to overcome and rise above everything that has been put on them.

What do you love about South Africa?
That it is my home. Every time I land when having been abroad there is an unmistakable energy which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The educational system. I want the youth to be learning and gaining more usable and relevant skills for today’s world; to leave school feeling equipped to start a venture in their own capacity should they be unable to find a job to provide for themselves and improve their community.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Being optimistic, I do see positivity in difficult times. Change is not easy and, in this case, we were all forced to accept the change. It has forced us to focus on our lives. They say we grow in uncomfortable spaces; I have grown and I am grateful for the challenge. Some have been challenged more than others but I pray their faith has strengthened and that things will turn around for the better.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
My church councillor Hanlie. She was the catalyst to my growth in this past year and helped me to deal with internal battles I was having with myself and that I didn’t even know I had buried so deep. Once I let it go, I was free. I’m sure she would be so proud of me and I know we will pray together for the year ahead.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy watching Disney animation films and, on the flip side, crime documentaries.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Speak up and address any problem that you may be struggling with internally. Unknowingly, things we do not address affect us in our adult lives and can have consequences and be painful to face when older. Practise speaking up. Be free to be your best self.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Adventurous, creative, determined

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Work on being yourself

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
The individual who will design me my first ever designer outfit, as it would be sentimental having a personalised piece and having worked together in bringing our ideas to life.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I have a hidden/not so hidden tattoo that says: “Faith”

What would be your dream holiday?
Taking my family to experience the magic of Disney World followed by a Disney Cruise.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Read and understand any book in five minutes

What are you reading?
Living Beyond Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer

What music are you listening to?
Trendy pop music

What are your favourite TV shows?
I recently discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race. I am obsessed

What is your favourite meal?
Braaivleis

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Trever Noah, he is local but killing it internationally. It’s of major admiration than a crush.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Besides cheese and carrot cake, maybe long hot bubble baths.

 

PEARL NTSHEHI – CENTURION, TSHWANE, GAUTENG

Name: Pearl Ntshehi

Region: I was born and raised in Mamelodi and currently live in Centurion.

Age: 24 (December 12, 1996)

Occupation:
I am a BCom Law (Pearson Institute of Higher Education) and an LLB graduate (UNISA), currently doing my BCom honours at Regent Business School with the hopes of becoming an admitted legal practitioner and successful business person. I have mentees under my NPC Project 31 and I offer pageantry workshops and virtual sessions with my company, Crowned Africa.

Previous beauty competitions:
I was the first princess of Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2019/2020.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Firstly, to practise one of the things I tell the young women I train which is “to go after what your heart desires, set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.” I want to take the baton from the beautiful queens that came before me and continue building with the foundation they – along with the Miss South Africa team – have created, showing that being your authentic self is enough. I also entered so my voice can be amplified and echoed on the matters close to my heart – youth empowerment and development. I have the heart to serve and inspire; I’m relatable; I’m the girl next door. That’s what a Miss South Africa representative should be.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Being in debt at the age of 21 because a car accident led to my car being written off and I was unemployed for a few months after. I had my ups and downs with how I handled the situation emotionally but I bounced back. Three months later I got a new job and was able to pay-off a new car.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Comparison and instant gratification. The youth often use other people’s blueprints of their lives and don’t realise that we are all on a different path and on different journeys. The youth want things “now” and forget that hard work pays off in the long run.

Who are your role models/who have inspired you and why?
I have different role models for certain areas in my life: My mom, I strive to be as kind and resilient as she is; Nomzamo Mbatha, I love her philanthropy work all over Africa and how she carries herself by just being her; Bonang Matheba, I live for her worth ethic; Michelle Obama, I love how she’s relatable, her journey to being an attorney and to where she is now; the fictional character of Oliva Pope in the TV series The Fixer/Scandal.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I come from a household of love where we are all close, from my two aunts to my cousins and in-laws and grandmother who is currently 95 and still going strong. I have two sets of parents. My dads (Daniel Mothlauthi and stepdad Semela Tseka) are retired whilst both moms work. My mom (Mary Tseka) works at the Department of Education and my stepmom (Lulu Mothlauthi) is also in the education field. I have a step-brother (Katlego) who is 21.

What do you do in your spare time?
If I’m not working on my personal brand, I go home to spend time with my family and I watch documentaries and read.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Being the first female president at my Varsity, which moulded me to being the young woman I am today. I believe I have paved a way to show the young woman who have followed me that it’s possible.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
They have evolved to having women define what being beautiful is in their own view and sharing it with the world, unapologetically, on a great platform. It has given women the platform to advocate for the causes they believe in. If someone were to say that pageantry degrades women, I would tell them to look again; not through a critical eye but at the evidence that is our former queens and how they are making strides in their respective fields after their reigns. We have access to them and their stories because of platforms like Miss South Africa.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Now is the time to break boundaries, believe in ourselves and put our dreams into actions. Set our five-year goals; break them down to the current year, months, weeks and days and have habits that will enable us to achieve our dreams. Let’s actively work towards our dreams and be unapologetic about them and who we are. It’s time we continue to break the boundaries set for us and show the world that we can do it all.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the diversity we have and how each day I go to bed knowing that we might not be perfect as a country but we are making great strides and making our mark in the world, especially with the talents that we have: Nomzamo Mbatha, Thuso Mbedu, Trevor Noah, Charlize Theron and Bonang Matheba to name a few.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would change our mindsets to challenges posed, instead of being confined to the status quo, judging others from being different and opting to see the negative side of things; we should encourage each other to come up with tangible solutions and hold each other accountable, especially when it comes to hate crimes and GBV.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Yes, I think we all needed a moment to pause and reflect. Being in isolation can be hard on a person, especially on one’s mental health, but we came together as nations around the world and we educated ourselves and each other on matters. We came up with solutions that helped us as individuals and shared them with the hope that it will help another. We also took this opportunity to see the world differently and we saw new businesses starting up during the hard lock down.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be?
I would love to meet Michelle Obama. Just from reading her book and following her journey I know I would have a wonderful one-on-one conversation with her.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m afraid of butterflies.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
It’s okay to be misunderstood; not everyone is going to understand your vision and journey; you learn more in your bad days than good so keep your head up. Keep at it kiddo, you’re on the right path.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself:
Relatable, old soul, hard worker.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Being yourself is enough.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
I equally love Orapeleng Modutle and Neville Masondo.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags, I hardly carry one. The boy in me wants to fit everything in my pockets or in my hand. The moment I realise I can’t do that is when I grab a handbag.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I tend to be an introvert and only come out my shell when I’m comfortable.

What would be your dream holiday?
The Maldives or travelling through Africa in 100 days.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Reading minds and telling if a person is lying. I tend to be an overthinker so it would allow me to have that clarity.

What are you reading?
Say Yes to Your Potential by Ross Carlson

What music are you listening to?
Gospel and old school RNB

What are your favourite TV shows?
The Fixer/Scandal, The People vs OJ, Modern Family, Rick and Morty, POSE

What is your favourite meal?
Anything seafood.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Surprisingly I don’t have any.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Popcorn and a glass of good red wine

 

PRECIOUS MNDALAMA – SOSHANGUVE, PRETORIA, GAUTENG

Name: Precious Mndalama

Region: Soshanguve, Pretoria, Gauteng

Age: 23 (May 19, 1998)

Occupation:
I am third year law student at University of South Africa. My goal in getting this qualification is to serve and protect society and to become a legal representative for models.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Swimsuit USA South Africa, finalist; Mr & Miss Pretoria, finalist; Mr & Miss Beach Bar, 2nd runner up; Miss Supranational South Africa, finalist; Miss Jozi, finalist.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
To empower, to face my power and my fears and to maximise my potential. I deserve to win this title because of the courage it took to enter and to enable me to inspire, motivate, and influence society to fight the key socioeconomic challenges we face.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Not doing well enough in matric to go on to study to become a surgeon. I bounced back by upgrading my academic results and opting for my second choice which was law.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The unemployment rate.

Who are your role models?
Naomi Campbell. A very successful international model and activist who contributes to, and participates in, social inequalities in her own country as well as others.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I have two brothers, Pitso (27) a financial advisor and Mpumelelo (14), who is still in school. My father Ronnie is a private assessor and my mother Refilwe is a document controller.

What do you do in your spare time?
Read inspirational and motivational stories; cook and dance.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Being in the modelling industry.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are an effective way to campaign for the awareness for different social issues and problems. It is also an avenue to develop and empower women to speak-up and be confident in their own bodies.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Maximise your potential as it gives you the key to having the authority to speak, face your powers and lead. Be able to look yourself beyond yourself, fulfil your dreams and discover the purpose or reason for your life and commit to its fulfilment at all costs.

What do you love about South Africa?
The cultural diversity and the beautiful natural landscapes.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would not change anything. It is a beautiful place where beautiful people can live at.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
No, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and employment. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devasting, tens of millions of people are at risk falling into extreme poverty.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Naomi Campbell. Her influence extends beyond the runway. I am inspired and motivated by the charity organisations she founded.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I know how to dance

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
The journey begins at the other side of fear.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Ambitious, passionate and fun.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Give it a try.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
David Tlale. Not only he is a designer but also tries to create opportunities for models.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
That I am talkative.

What would be your dream holiday?
Paris, France.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
The power to control minds.

What are you reading?
Inspirational and motivational books.

What music are you listening to?
Amapiano.

What are your favourite TV shows?
The Real.

What is your favourite meal?
Tripe

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Riky Rick and Denzel Washington.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Mid- ‘70s disco music

 

PUMEZA ZIBI – HEIDEVELD, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE

Megan Davies Photography

Name: Pumeza Zibi

Region: Heideveld, Cape Town, Western Cape

Age: 24 (July 6, 1997)

Occupation:
I graduated with my BTech in Public Relations Management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I am a former digital campaign manager for a global media and communications agency that specialises in digital marketing, strategy, and advertising.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I decided to face my fears and pursue my dream. As a little girl, I wanted to join this amazing platform that represents diverse women. As a young girl growing up in a community, seeing poor homeless people without education, losing someone every single day to drugs and crime, I knew I had to look beyond what I saw. I have what it takes to represent my country and to inspire the underprivileged.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
In December 2016, I had just joined a modelling agency and I was invited to attend a lucrative international telenovela commercial casting but I did not make the final cut. I was disappointed and kept focusing on the negatives. A few months later I was asked to attend a casting for another commercial and I realised that in order to be successful I needed to face my fears. I booked the commercial which aired on national television and I was also featured on billboards across the country.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
We are hyper-focused on social media, we tend to weigh our achievements, big or small, on what others may think, see, and believe. While that is motivating, it is also our biggest downfall because we seek validation in others through social platforms.

Who are your role models?
My mother. I would not be where I am today without her and I am amazed at how she remained the strong, kind-hearted woman that she is today. She has inspired me to look beyond my misfortunes and still treat everyone equally because you never know what the future may hold.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother Anne recently celebrated her 60th birthday by retiring after 30+ plus years of working for a large retailer as a rconsultant. My father Velaphi Mathebe, nicknamed ‘Dayday’, passed away when I was seven. I do not have any siblings.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to gym, enjoy long drives and love to practice my makeup by exploring various colour eyeshadow pallets.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Graduating from my public relations qualification, was the first biggest decision that I made from the time I was in high school and this choice would transition me into my early adult life. I am proud of the course I chose and understand why I am passionate about and reaped the rewards.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Pageants are still relevant because young women need platforms like these to look up to. Every generation needs to be represented. We all come from various backgrounds and using this platform will inspire those after us as we were inspired by those before us. Those that have negative views on pageants overlook how powerful, fearless, beautiful and educated the women who participate are. All the past contestants have contributed to improving their communities and still continue to do so.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Continue to shine, you are different and unique. Share that with the world.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the flair we bring. We are really a nation like no other. We have multiple languages and various cultures and all those things unite us.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The current rate of youth unemployment. We are sitting at a high 32.6% and I want to see a change as there are too many graduates who are not given job opportunities.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
As someone who has worked in the digital field, I am happy to see many South Africans embrace the digital landscape. More companies and brands were seeking specialists to attract more people to their business without people physically having to meet them.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She redefined what modern-day feminism is and I am very inspired by her and would love to meet her.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up a huge worldwide wrestling entertainment (WWE) fan.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Continue to shine. You deserve to be happy in your unique ways and never dim your light because of fear.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Observant, considerate and fierce.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Be you, be authentic.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Marc Jacobs, because it’s modern sophisticated and I see a lot of myself in the designs.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Shoes.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I love talking to myself out loud when I am alone.

What would be your dream holiday?
Greece.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To be invisible.

What are you reading?
Guru by RuPaul.

What music are you listening to?
‘90s R’n’B and soul.

What is your favourite TV show?
RuPaul’s Drag Race.

What is your favourite meal?
Butter chicken.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Trevor Noah and James Scott

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Watching cat videos on YouTube.

 

SAVANNAH DE ALMEIDA – HILLCREST, DURBAN, KWAZULU-NATAL

Name: Savannah De Almeida

Region: Hillcrest, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

Age: 23 (December 19, 1997)

Occupation:
Social media and digital marketing specialist

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Winner of The Face of Just You Model and Artist Management, 2018, a beauty and talent competition.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
The theme great women inspired me to boldly step up and use this platform for a purpose far greater than myself. A huge socio-economic issue our country faces is unemployment among the youth. I personally have experienced this and have overcome it. Knowing that my story is relatable to other women in and around South Africa, I will use this platform to not only be credible proof that it is possible to overcome unemployment, but educate young women on how to bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. If their dreams of being a doctor seem far away purely because they don’t have the capital, I can educate them on how to use free social media platforms, and with my marketing knowledge, help them start a small business online that can help fund their passion and start their career just as I did. I am courageous and determined. I am resilient, and no amount of rejection will stop me from leaving my mark and making an impact where I can. I am determined to rise and achieve my goals.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
The Covid-19 pandemic ended my career in the entertainment industry. I started training at the age of six with the dream of becoming a professional dancer and started working in the entertainment industry at 16. Prior to lockdown I was cast as the lead female dance role in a theatre show that was meant to go on tour. But it all ended quickly due to the nationwide lockdown. My dreams were crushed, but I focused my energy on another passion which was helping aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses promote themselves online. The pandemic opened my eyes to endless possibilities and I saw an opportunity to help small businesses continue to operate even amidst a pandemic, through social media and digital marketing. With the money I had left from my previous job, I put myself through varsity and short learning programmes and started a new career. In less than 12 months, I went from unemployed to thriving in a new career.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The biggest problem facing the youth today is unemployment and, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the percentage of young people who are unemployed continues to climb.

Who are your role models?
My grandmother, Maureen, is my biggest role model. When I was very young, she was diagnosed with cancer and the doctors gave her three months to live but she fought it for six years. She taught me that the opinions of others do not determine your future and that anything is possible with courage. My mother and father are also not only role models but my everyday heroes. They’ve showed me the importance of hard work and raised me to be a fierce and independent woman who not only faces her fears but loves others equally.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother, Jane, is a self-employed insurance assessor and my father, Dario, is a manager at a pharmaceutical company. My stepfather Justin is a homeopathic doctor. I have two brothers, Liam (8) who loves to learn about the planet and Joshua (16), who is passionate about sports and aspires to have a career in sports science.

What do you do in your spare time?
Dance or hike.

What is your single biggest achievement?
When I was unemployed and there were little opportunities available, I created my own opportunities and turned my side passion into a thriving career in a short space of time.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Beauty pageants are more than just hair and makeup and outward beauty. These platforms encourage women to embrace their unique individuality and help them to become successful businesswomen. The pageant industry is constantly evolving in an effort to be more inclusive and to showcase diversity. Pageantry does not degrade women, but rather empowers them, helps build their self-confidence and provides a platform for them to inspire other women to be bold and face their fears.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Walk into a room, be seen and be heard. You are worthy of the attention that you demand.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love that South Africa is extremely diverse and I am so blessed to live in a country that is rich in culture.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
I would put an end gender-based violence as it is one of the biggest threats that we face in South Africa.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed the way we communicate but also how businesses operate. The world’s focus shifted from social gatherings to social distancing and communicating online which opened doors to new opportunities like starting a small business online. Large businesses also realised they can successfully operate with staff working from home. People have also become more empathetic towards others and we learnt to appreciate life and our loved ones.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Trevor Noah, I feel our personalities are quite similar and we would have a few laughs.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I can sing.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
You are stronger than you feel and braver than you think.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Courageous, kind and innovative

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Be bold, be brave

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Warrick Gautier, his designs are exquisite. Each one is elegant and perfectly showcases a person’s personality.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags. I have a strong relationship with shoes, unfortunately it cannot be broken…

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I spent most of my childhood on a farm and now I’m a city lover.

What would be your dream holiday?
I am a lover of all things arts and culture, so a trip to Brazil would be amazing. I would try all the different foods, listen and dance to the music and learn about and experience the different culture.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
If I were to have a superhuman power it would be the power of creation without limit. I could create solutions to socio-economic issues in areas that have little to no resources available.

What are you reading?
Elon Musk’s The Life, Lessons & Rules for Success

What music are you listening to?
Pink Sweat$ and Giveon

What are your favourite TV shows?
Friends and Will & Grace

What is your favourite meal?
Pasta

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Trevor Noah and Michael B Jordan

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Doughnuts

 

TIFFANY FRANCIS – MULBARTON, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG

Name: Tiffany Francis

Region: Mulbarton, Johannesburg, Gauteng.

Age: 22 (March 22, 1999)

Occupation:
I am the owner of Tiffany K Models as well as a professional model with ICE Models (JHB) and ICE Genetics (CPT) as well as a fashion design student.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered and either placed or won:
International Model & Talent Association 2017, placed first runner up in all five categories (runway, still/print, swimwear, denim and commercial)

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
Miss South Africa is a woman of impact. She stands as representation for all South Africans, making those around her knowledgeable about the realities of our country whilst actively pursuing paths of change. I aim to be representation for our young women and men facing adversity. In an environment that requires conformity, I want to urge South Africans to transform.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
Having to put my studies on hold due to my father’s unemployment. I found it difficult to find strength and confidence amidst the uncertainty of my future. When I started my business, I was able to give myself the mental and financial security to go forward with my aspirations as well as encourage others to do the same.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
The perception of having to have your life so well put together. Being a part of the roughly 67% population that accounts for the youth of South Africa, I understand the effect that this standard has on our millennials. Due to the filtered lives we see on social media, society’s idea of success has been skewed. There is no room for failure in our digital world. We forget that failure is key to success.

Who are your role models?
My mom and late aunt. Both important figures in my life who taught me the value of having resilience and empathy.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mom is an office administrator, whilst my father is recently started his own business consulting company. I have two younger brothers, Cole (19), who wants to be a mechanical engineer and Liam (4), who is the biggest Peppa Pig fan!

What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy catching up on my favourite Netflix series/documentaries and listening to new music while performing like a Grammy-award winning artist! Not a sweet sound!

What is your single biggest achievement?
Starting my own business at the age of 19. Owning a company focused on a purpose I am so passionate about, has not only served me in my personal and professional life but has done so for every individual I’ve had the pleasure of encountering throughout this journey. It has allowed me to re-introduce me to myself! Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride filled with self-exploration, I’ve unlocked several parts of my potential through the experience and have a deeper sense of self and independence. All while learning that your circumstances do not decide your future, you do.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Pageantry gives women a platform to empower. It allows us to embrace our purpose and open the door for other women to the same.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
The plans you have for your life have no limit.

What do you love about South Africa?
Our people, our humour and our warmth. The beauty of South Africa lies in her people.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The status of unemployment, specifically within our younger demographic. With the youth unemployment rate sitting at 74%, we now more than ever have to empower those around us to have confidence in the unique traits and skills they possess. We must create a future where life is not the cards you are dealt but rather the opportunities you’ve made available to yourself and others. We are the authors of our stories; we need to have confidence in this.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Yes, the Covid pandemic has forced us into a journey of growth and transition. Leaving us with the ability to adapt to and be flexible in the circumstances we find ourselves in. This has not only a positive impact on the future of the economy but also on us as individuals.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Although I’ve gotten a bit rusty, I play guitar!

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
There is power in your vulnerability. Have faith in your journey and know that your story serves great purpose.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Courageous. Independent. Strong-willed.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Don’t follow the crowd.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Gert-Johan Coetzee. I’m in awe of his work ethic and the incredible body of work he continues to create. He is a true representation of the talent of our country.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
It would have to be shoes; this girl carries around way too many things to ever not need a handbag!

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
I’m quite good at imitating accents – especially an American one.

What would be your dream holiday?
A week in Italy. Frank Sinatra playlists, beaches and only eating pizza for days on end!

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
Definitely superspeed!

What are you reading?
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

What music are you listening to?
‘90s/early 2000s pop and R’n’B remains a constant in my selection.

What are your favourite TV shows?
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for the comedy and Gossip Girl for the fashion!

What is your favourite meal?
Oxtail potjie or any Italian, Greek or Mexican dish because who doesn’t love pizza, pitas or tacos?

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Maps Maponyane and Ian Somerhalder

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Dessert! Hand me a slice of cheesecake and I’m the happiest girl in the world!

 

TSHEGOFATSO MOLEFE – KESTELL, FREE STATE

Name: Tshegofatso Molefe

Region: I come from Kestell in the Free State although I currently live in Maritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Age: 26 (February 3, 1995)

Occupation:
I hold an LLB degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I have also completed one year of my Masters in Advanced Criminal Justice. However, I had to take a break to go work as a criminal law defence candidate attorney at Legal Aid South Africa for the past two years. I’m now currently awaiting to be admitted as an attorney of the High Court.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered:
Miss Pietermaritzburg 2014; Miss Mamelodi Sundowns Free State 2019/2020

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I entered Miss South Africa because I see value where the Miss South Africa Organisation sees value. I’m passionate about my country and its people. I wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the office of justice and the people who seek refuge from it. I believe this is my greatest contribution to society on a daily basis and a platform such as Miss South Africa will allow me to share my truth and to inspire others.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
My biggest disappointment was when I completed my degree and the National Prosecuting Authority simultaneously closed its aspirant prosecutor programme due to lack of funds. The reason I went to law school was to graduate and practice as a Public Prosecutor. After this disappointment I decided to register for my Masters in Advanced Criminal Justice and I took on an offer to work as a criminal defence candidate attorney at Legal Aid South Africa to be able to accumulate the years required to qualify as a public prosecutor. those two years taught me a great deal of diligence. that one can be diligent even in an environment you had no intention to be in if your eyes remain on the ball. a month ago, I was invited to my first public prosecutor interview and I’m currently awaiting feedback.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Lack of purpose. The youth of South Africa fails to realise its potential. We see an individual becoming an influencer or dancer and we all want to do that, forgetting that each and every one of us has a purpose and a task to fulfill on earth.

Who are your role models?
Redi Thlabi and Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. I admire their diligence and impeccable work ethic. I’m inspired by women who work relentlessly towards their dreams. Women who refuse to be captive of the environment they first came into.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
I’m an only child. My father passed away from leukaemia when I was seven years old. My mother, Motlatsi, is a retired teacher who now enjoys working in her garden and baking. I’m very close to my cousins and we consider each other siblings.

What do you do in your spare time?
I read and sleep.

What is your single biggest achievement?
My single biggest achievement has been discovering my purpose which has made it so easy for me to navigate through life. In a world that has so much to offer, I know which table to sit at and which not to. I know which opportunities are for me to take and which ones are not. I do not compete, but I live to impact.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
I believe that as much as beauty pageants celebrate the beauty of women, they also empower women mentally, financially and emotionally. They better the livelihoods of women. Women are heard and seen on pageantry platforms. They are able to impact and bring about change in societies.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
The world is your oyster. Professor Mamokgethi once said: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” The youth of today has access to innovative resources that enable them to empower themselves and bring about tangible change in their societies. Globalisation has completely changed the way we interact with one another and allows us to share knowledge and ideas. There is a purpose for each and everyone of us. I believe in the potential of our youth to change the narrative.

What do you love about South Africa?
I love the food. We are a melting pot of different cultures and that includes amazing dishes. From bobotie to malamogodu.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The racism.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
Yes. A lot of people have started their own businesses and others have perfected their culinary skills. We have become more compassionate and grateful for life.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng. I admire her work ethic and passion for the youth.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I used to catch birds as a child and roast them before eating them. I don’t know why I did that.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Find your highest calling which is self. Know yourself and be comfortable with who you are.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Bubbly. Diligent. Passionate.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
Give it your best.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
Mamoruti. A local designer who is able to bring to life any outfit I have in mind. She even designed my entry video dress.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Shoes.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
That I’m very loud.

What would be your dream holiday?
Tibet.

If you could have any superhuman power, what would it be?
To be able to fly.

What are you reading?
Francine Rivers – The Scarlet Thread.

What music are you listening to?
Maskandi.

What are your favourite TV shows?
7de Laan, Mamazala, MasterChef Australia.

What is your favourite meal?
Pap and malamogodu.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local is Thapelo Mokoena and international is Angelina Jolie.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Buying books.

 

ZIMI MABUNZI – EQONCE (KING WILLIAM’S TOWN), EASTERN CAPE

 

Name: Zimi Mabunzi

Region: eQonce (King William’s Town), Eastern Cape.

Age: 26 (January 29, 1995)

Occupation:
I am a student at the Nelson Mandela University in eGqeberha in my final year of a BCom Law degree.

Previous beauty competitions or pageants you have entered and either placed or won:
Winner of Miss Eastern Cape – Beauty with a Purpose 2015/16.

Why did you decide to enter Miss South Africa 2021 and why do you deserve to win this title?
I entered Miss South Africa because the time feels right and as an honour to my commitment to myself over the years, to honour a dream I was not willing to let go of once I realised it and to live a life of impact on a broader scale.

Tell us about your biggest disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
My biggest disappointment was getting financially excluded in my first year of university in Cape Town. I was selected by a certain bursary programme that was declared insolvent during my year of study and I was left with a huge debt that my family could not afford to pay off which led to me being excluded. But I bounced back by centring myself in my faith in God and immersing myself in what I was passionate about – living a life of impact. It was actually after my exclusion that I took a leap into unknown territory, entered Miss Eastern Cape and won. It was also after winning, that I received sponsorship to go back to school.

What do you think is the biggest problem facing young people today?
Without a doubt, unemployment. I think this is one of the biggest contributing factors to most challenges we face as a country. Our rocketing crime rate, inequality, the vast differences in our standards of living and mental illness issues are also huge problems.

Who are your role models?
My mother. Not only for our family but for everyone that crosses paths with her.

Tell us a bit more about your family?
My mother is a pensioner. I have two older sisters, Yolisa (32) who works while funding her psychology studies and Lulama (44), a Warrant Officer with the SAPS, who is also furthering her studies in law.

What do you do in your spare time?
Working out, cooking, singing or working on the next session/event for a local girl empowerment organisation that I volunteer for.

What is your single biggest achievement?
Finally reaching this point in my undergraduate degree. At some point it really seemed impossible and I used to shame myself for the difficulty I encountered. Embracing my journey and finding myself in a place of eagerly anticipating my future is huge for me.

In what way do you think beauty pageants are still relevant today?
Look at a Zozibini Tunzi, who through her success, has inspired women all over world to no longer be oblivious to the need for transformation, representation and inclusivity. I think for as long as inclusivity, self-confidence, authenticity and unrealistic beauty standards are things we still need to champion, there is a big need for pageants. Especially a pageant such as Miss South Africa, that embraces diversity as much as it does.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
I pray that our hope for better, stays alive. There is no society that thrives without the heart of women. Conditions may not always be favourable for us to be but all of us, in all our differences, are absolutely necessary.

What do you love about South Africa?
Although, I wish we did not have to be as resilient as we are, it is our resilience as a people that I love, appreciate and has fed into who I am as well. Our country’s history is not the most glamorous and our present reflects so much crisis. However, our resilience and our constant fight for better never dies.

What is one thing you would like to change about South Africa?
The disheartening amount of corruption.

2020 and 2021 have been extraordinary years and difficult for people around the globe. Do you see any positives in what has happened in the past 18 months?
This may not be the case for all but I think most can definitely appreciate how the pandemic has revealed what is truly important and the essence of time.

If you won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why?
Caster Semenya. I think that woman is powerful but there’s something in her grace and the way she handles all that she is dealt with that resonates with me and always shifts my perspective.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I also have a huge passion for music. I would love to study it one day and make music of my own.

What is the No 1 piece of advice that you would give to your younger self?
Believe in yourself.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Describe yourself in three words:
Calm. Intentional. Willing.

What’s the best advice you can give in exactly four words?
You’re your best bet.

Who’s your favourite designer and why?
David Tlale. Not only has he made me gain a new appreciation for the colour black, I got the opportunity to meet him at a show once and I will never forget his kindness.

You have to give up one of these? Handbags or shoes?
Handbags. Only because they can be replaced with cute little wallets.

What is one thing that we would not know about you just by looking at you?
That I also sing.

What would be your dream holiday?
Anything to do with Santorini in Greece!

If you could have any superhuman power what would it be?
To be able to disappear and appear anywhere around the world, whenever I want to.

What are you reading?
I am currently re-reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

What music are you listening to?
Maverick City, old R’n’B and Amapiano when I am working out.

What is your favourite TV shows?
NCIS, Law and Order: SVU, Chicago PD, CSI, The Blacklist

What is your favourite meal?
Umphokoqo and umngqusho.

Who is your local and international celeb crush?
Local: Lawrence Maleka. International: Michael B. Jordan.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Blueberry cheesecake ice cream and frozen yoghurt.

 

Everyone is invited to the Miss South Africa Top 10 reveal!

South Africa and the judges have voted! The Top 10 finalists for Miss South Africa 2021 will be announced on Tuesday, August 3, at 11h00 and everyone is invited to the virtual reveal on the Miss South Africa Organisation’s YouTube channel youtube.com/TheMissSAPageant

The 63nd edition of Miss South Africa takes place on Saturday, October 16, in a glamorous and entertainment-packed pageant – taking place in Cape Town’s Grand West Arena and screened live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic – where one of the Top 10 will inherit the glittering crown from current Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida.

Who are you rooting for?

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