One of these women will be the next Miss South Africa

By Shanaaz Prince
13 October 2016

Meet your Miss South Africa 2017 semi-finalists

It's that time of the year again!

Another incredible group of young, beautiful women from around the country have gathered to compete for the coveted title of Miss South Africa -- and this year it comes with an additional R1 million cash prize.

The competition is already fierce, but the thousands of entrants have been whittled down to just 26.

The Miss South Africa 2017 semi-finalists were revealed at a ceremony hosted at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton on Thursday.

Read more: Meet Miss South Africa 2016: Ntandoyenkosi Kunene

The Top 26 are in the running for the the prestigious title at the Sun City Superbowl on March 25 in an event which will be televised live and simulcast on Mzansi Magic (Channel 161) and M-Net (Channel 101) on 25 March 2017.

Miss South Africa 2017 will receive R1 million in cash from sponsors Sun International and Cell C plus a bouquet of prizes that will elevate the competition to one of the richest pageants in the world.

Here they are:

Ade van Heerden - Herold's Bay, Western Cape

Ade van Heerden - Herold's Bay Western Cape 2 Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep

Age: 25 years

Occupation: Medical doctor and second lieutenant in the South African Military Health Services.

Previous beauty pageants entered and placed in: Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2015 (second princess).

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you can bring to the role?

Every day we are presented with multiple opportunities that shape our lives and the lives of those around us. This competition is an opportunity to enrich my own life and simultaneously contribute to the growth and success of our rainbow nation. It would be an honour to be entrusted with this prestigious title. I believe that I am representative of the “new and upcoming” generation of women in our country. We are smart, assertive and informed but also empathetic and caring. This reflects in my calling as a doctor in the military – I’m not afraid to stand my ground on a physical or emotional level. I hope to lead as dynamically and open minded as I live my life

Boipelo Mabe - Alexandra, Gauteng

Boipelo Mabe - Alexandra Gauteng 1 Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep

Age: 23

Occupation: Masters student and news reader on Soweto TV

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Clicks Cover Girl 2015 winner; Miss Greater Alexandra 2013 winner and Miss Teen Tshwane 2010 Top 10

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you can bring to the role?

Miss South Africa empowers and equips young women to be leaders in their own right and I strongly believe that going through the competition and winning will provide me with the necessary tools and platform that will help me to reach my untapped potential. Secondly, with the kind of brand I am establishing through my work as a model, as an academic and as a current affairs television and radio presenter, I believe I will bring a new sense of what it means to be a beauty with heart and brains. My personal journey and story is one so relatable to the ordinary South African that I foresee it deepening the relationship South Africans will have with Miss South Africa as an individual and as an organisation.

Callie-Jo Bouman - Bellville, Cape Town

Callie-Jo Bouman - Bellville CT Western Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 22

Occupation: I am currently in the third year of a BCom Accounting with Law degree at the University of Cape Town.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I have had my heart set on being Miss South Africa since childhood. I am a proud South African filled with a lot of passion and love for my country. Our country is beautiful but I believe that it is our people who add the true beauty to our country. We have such a rich history and diversity which we should continually celebrate. I have entered the Miss South Africa pageant because it gives you a platform to influence and inspire young people and give them hope. I feel that I am ready, both mentally and physically, to make a meaningful difference in my country. Through my reign, I want to endorse a spirit of inclusivity whereby the marginalised are brought to the forefront to feel included in our rainbow nation.  I am currently involved in ‘Prison Care and Support Network’ whereby we visit women in prison. I am even more concerned about their children who may be filled with the abandonment, loneliness and shame that comes from having a parent in prison. Furthermore, the empowerment of young girls is pivotal to me. Through my involvement in preparing High School girls from previous disadvantage communities to compete in beauty contests, I am able to play a role in boosting their confidence whilst instilling the notion of pageants being about more than beauty.

What qualities do you believe a

Chante Holloway - Atlantis, Western Cape

Chante Holloway - Atlantis Western Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 22

Occupation: I’m a student at the University of Western Cape currently majoring in French and politics.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss Western Cape (placed top 5); won Miss Radio Atlantis and Miss Destiny Riders, which are small pageants that played a big role in helping me gain my confidence.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I have always wanted to be a role model for my community and I still do. The community of Atlantis is infamous for gang activity and substance abuse but I refused to succumb to the status quo. I tried going to school outside of Atlantis, but I still did not feel as if I belonged. At this point I began to struggle with identifying who I was as a person and changed my hair colour and got braces in an attempt to fit in. This constant battle with having to find myself led to the development of my depression. This was one of the worst points of my life but at the same time, one of the best because instead of letting it control me, I chose to prove my worth and thrive in my individuality even if I had a boy’s haircut and braces. I started doing pageants and was eventually scouted and got the opportunity to audition for New York Film Academy. Being overseas I was not labelled as “different” or “weird”, but referred to as “exotic”. This opened my eyes and I realised that there is beauty in being different. I was born here for a reason and if that reason is to stand out and inspire others, I am ready. As a Miss South Africa I’d want to be the voice of my people who are not being heard especially within the community, I feel I could bring a sense of individuality, and be living proof that it’s okay to be different.

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters - Sedgefield, Western Cape

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters - Sedgefield Western Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 21

Occupation: Final year B.Com business management and entrepreneurship student. I am also a part time model at Boss Models and Vision Management.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants entered: Miss Teen SA 2010 Top 5; Miss Diaz 2012 winner; Miss NWU Varsity Cup 2015 winner and Miss Varsity Cup 2015 national winner.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I experienced the power of this platform as a young girl watching the Miss South Africa crownings over the December holidays with my mom. I remember being amazed by the amount of poise and grace that the winners carried themselves with. I have always lived my life in such a way to become the gracious, independent and diligent woman that I am today. If I could be that same inspiration to just one young girl out there, it would be a dream come true. I am sure that my “never say die” attitude and love for people will inspire young woman. I am a small town girl with big aspirations.

Devoney Crossman - Greenstone, Johannesburg

Devoney Crossman - Greenstone JHB Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 3

Age: 24

Occupation: Human resources administrative consultant and co-owner of Olive + Maroon, a women's clothing, jewellery and sunglasses brand

Previous beauty competitions/pageants entered and placed in: Face of Clearwater - 2nd Princess; Top Model - winner of the performance arts apprenticeship; Miss Million dollar - Top 10 and Mr. and Miss Pretoria - Top 5

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

As Miss South Africa I would have the ability to effect change where previously I didn’t have a platform to do so. That being said, I want to hold the crown with poise and grace but, at the same time, effect change in the lives of South Africans. I am fortunate enough to have a diverse background and therefore believe I could instil positive change in the youth of today.

Iman Mkwanazi - Lenasia, Gauteng

Iman Mkwanazi - Lenasia Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 7

Age: 26

Occupation: I own a construction company (Mkweni Ground Works) and I'm a professional model.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I am a representation of the modern day South African women, I want to let women especially young women know that they do not have to limit themselves to one characteristic; you can be beautiful, intelligent and kind simultaneously. I come from Lenasia which is an Indian dominated region but I never let the colour of my skin or my struggles limit my development. I want to inspire women young and old to reach their greatest potential and to believe in themselves so strongly that they can accomplish anything and everything they put their mind too. I believe my passion and determination to the empowerment of women is what I will bring to the role of Miss South Africa. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be a part of an event that holds so much history and that celebrates women and their beauty.

Jessica Tovey - Randparkridge, Gauteng

Jessica Tovey - Randparkridge Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 23

Occupation: Speech therapist and audiologist in community service

Previous beauty competitions: Face of Clearwater Mall 2015 (winner) and Miss SA teen 2011(top 12).

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to be Miss SA because I believe everything has lead me to this point in my life and Miss SA is part of my purpose. Miss SA is not a means to an end but rather a journey to continuous positive change. Miss SA is the epitome of a woman of soulful beauty that will influence the people of SA wherever she goes. I believe that I am ready to take on that role and advance the Miss SA Brand. I have always had a passion for people living with disabilities and so as Miss SA 2017 I feel that I will have a platform to make a difference to this community. As a speech therapist and audiologist I interact with people living with disabilities every day and I see the way that not only they react to it but how those around them react to disability. I want to change the perceptions surrounding those living with disabilities and I would love to be an ambassador for not only our country but for this community and to take it to a global level. No previous Miss SA has had this as their social responsibility and therefore I believe it will bring a new perspective to the Miss SA brand.

Kayla Malherbe - Mtunzini, Kwazulu-Natal

Kayla Malherbe - Mtunzini KZN Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 1

Age: 21

Occupation: Model

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to be Miss South Africa because I feel that I could help young women understand that it’s not what you have on the outside but what’s inside. Young people today are so consumed with social media and always in competition with one another that they don’t realise what is actually going on around them. I want to also help people who have addictions. I want to get children off the streets and give them a better life that they deserve.

Keipeile Dintoe - Saulsville, Pretoria

Keipeile Dintoe - Saulsville Pretoria Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 1

Age: 25

Occupation: Data analyst

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I am passionate about empowering young women, I want to be the voice of reason but most importantly I want to help young women view life from a different perspective

Lou-Marie Taljaard - Belville, Cape Town

Lou-Marie Taljaard - Bellville CT Western Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 1

Age: 23

Occupation: I'm a full-time international model for Ice Models in Cape Town.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I do believe that all your dreams and aspirations are already granted to you, you already have all the attributes to fulfil the dreams you have and the goals you set, you just have to pursue it diligently. I always wanted to make a difference in people's lives and with the Miss South Africa platform I can work hard, focus and work towards fulfilling my ambition to make a difference and be my country's ambassador, to the best of my ability. I have been fortunate to travel the world and meet some of the most amazing people along the way and what I found - through gaining knowledge about myself and other people - is that I would be able to bring to the role as Miss South Africa my compassionate heart. I do believe that a loving, compassionate heart is something that you can't teach yourself to have, something that you can't pretend to have but rather something that you are born with. It is something that I believe I have a lot of for my country and the people I'm sharing this beautiful land with.

Michelle Kruger - Witbank, Gauteng

Michelle Kruger - Witbank Mpumalanga Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 21

Occupation: I am a second year BA Law student at the University of Pretoria

Previous beauty competitions: N/A

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

This has been a dream of mine since the age of 10 years old. I believe my purpose in life is to make a difference and make my mark in the world, thus the Miss South Africa competition would fit perfectly into my life goal as I would perhaps not change the whole world but make a change in small measures.

Milanie Cilliers - Mokopanie, Limpopo

Milanie Cilliers - Mokopane Limpopo Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 22

Occupation: Junior content editor at VENDS, a global social media company. Student in fashion at Intec College.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss Campus (North-West University) 2nd runner-up 2012; Miss Vergeet-My-Nie (North-West University Residence) winner 2013 and Miss Earth South Africa 3rd runner-up 2015

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

My dream is to contribute towards the future of our country by encouraging entrepreneurship and skills development among young people. I believe that the Miss South Africa platform will enable me to fulfil this purpose. Growing up I was blessed to have experienced a combination of the world of tourism and business, which contributed greatly towards who I am today and my outlook on life. I believe that a woman with a clear purpose, compassion for people and sense of business can move mountains.

Nicole van Niekerk - Moregloed, Pretoria

Nicole van Niekerk - Moregloed Pretoria Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 26

Occupation: Events planner (specialising in children’s parties), part time model and au-pair.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants): Miss Pretoria 2012 – 1St Princess, Miss Jacaranda Show 2013 – 1st Princess and Miss Rivonia 2013 – Top 10

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I have always watched Miss South Africa on TV with my mom and sister and dreamed about being on that stage with the glamorous gowns, but as I grew older I realised that being Miss South Africa is more than the glamourous dresses, it is about being a role model, being able to help others and inspiring young women that their dreams can come true. Helping them realise their potential and giving them hope for the future and that is something I am passionate about. As Miss SA I would also use the platform to give more awareness to bullying as I feel that this issue is often overlooked.

Nompumelelo Mampholo - Diepkloof, Soweto

Nompumelelo Mampholo - Diepkloof Soweto Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 20

Occupation: I am a shareholder in Conquerors, an event and management company

Previous beauty competitions: Miss South Africa Youth 2015 (winner) and Miss Tourism Universe South Africa (top 5)

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

Miss South Africa is a platform for one to build a legacy and I’m here to build mine. Not only is it a dream and passion to be an ambassador of this nation but Miss South Africa is a life changing opportunity. Winning a million rand will enable me to go back to school and complete my studies. I am very passionate about sports and working with people. My reason for entering is to change lives through sports and that’s the role I’m bringing to the table.

Ntombikayise Msimango - Springs, Gauteng

Ntombikayise Msimango - Springs Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 21

Occupation: Student (currently studying my final year in BA Law and looking forward to starting my LLB next year)

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss Best Legs 2005; Miss Mamelodi Sundown Gauteng First Princess 2014; Miss Mamelodi Sundown National First Princess 2014; Miss Eastgate Look of Fashion First Princess 2015 and Miss Varsity Cup Winner 2016

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

Being Miss South Africa has been a dream of mine since childhood. Pageantry in itself has catalysed the realisation of my aspirations, not only in the modelling industry but also helped me in other avenues such as self-growth, meeting new people and building everlasting relationships. I hold earning the title of Miss South Africa as a privilege and, as much as I can be an asset to the organisation, the title can propel my career. I entered because I genuinely want to make a notable and sustainable difference in the lives of South Africans on a national and international level by being extensively involved where I can.

Odirile Sepeng - Mapobane, Pretoria

Odirile Sepeng - Mabopane Pretoria Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 23

Occupation: BCom Law student at Varsity College

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss Varsity College Midrand 2014 and Miss Veet South Africa 2015

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I believe that Miss South Africa offers young South African women an extraordinary support system that enables them to forge ahead, supported by divine strength. Miss South Africa offers me a platform to continue to serve others and to share the meaning of life. I have many passions: youth development, women empowerment, care and support for people living with mental health issues.

Olin-Shae De la Cruz - Claremont, Cape Town

Olin-Shae De La Cruz - Claremont CT Western Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 22

Occupation: I work on a part-time basis with a youth marketing company called HDI Youth Marketers. I am a brand activator and presenter for various brand campaigns and roadshows.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants entered and placed in: In 2013 I entered Miss Earth South Africa and made it through to the semi-finals.

What qualities do you believe a Miss South Africa should possess?

A keen interest and conviction in the causes she strongly believes in. She needs to work well with others and be a team player. She needs to have an enthusiastic approach to all areas even those not in her interests and therefore have an open mind. She needs to be a people’s person, sincere, and graceful in her actions. She also needs to be not only beautiful on the outside but have a heart of gold and true to who she is.

Priyeshka Lutchman - Yellowwood Park, Durban

Priyeshka Lutchman - Yellowwood Park Durban KZN Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 24

Occupation: Business management student and model

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss FTV Africa 2009 (winner)

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

Like every little girl, I have dreamt of being a Miss South Africa and have been inspired by many that held the prestigious title. I am very passionate about my country and being Miss South Africa would allow me to reach out to more young people than I am able to now. My nurturing and friendly disposition would enable me to help and motivate all South Africans for a better and brighter future.

Saskia Wagner - Honeydew, Gauteng

Saskia Wagner - Honeydew Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 18

Occupation: I am studying first year Bachelor of Accounting at Stellenbosch University, on my path to becoming a chartered accountant. I am also a part-time model and I am currently signed with Boss Models Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants:

• 2013 - I came 3rd in Figures Model of the Year

• 2013 - I went with Figures to New York to compete in the IMTA (International Modelling and Talent Association. In my category I placed third for commercial model of the year.

• 2014 - I won Figures Face of the Year

• 2014 - I won Figures Model of the Year, winning a free trip to the IMTA NY. I placed first in all of the competitions I entered: runway, jeans, bikini, photography and make-up and I won Commercial Model of the Year. I was also offered two contracts, one with an agency in Milan and one in Japan. However, I was only in Grade 11 so I chose to turn them down as finishing school was more important to me.

• 2015 - I also got placed as Gaschette Magazine top 20 Faces of the Year.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to become an empowered woman who is able to inspire change in South Africa. As Miss South Africa I want to impart my skills to uplift society. I aspire to use the skills that I have gained in my business-based degree to create a platform for young entrepreneurs and help create jobs to boost the economy and improve the lives of the many unemployed youth in SA. To promote education for both young men and women. By combining beauty, grace and brains I believe this is something I can achieve along with the Miss SA team who can mentor me through this process and guide me to growing into an empowered and inspiring South African woman. I want to promote beauty with a purpose, the ideal of Beauty and Brains. I have experienced people’s judgement, some who underestimate me and think I am just a model. But rather I am clever, I am driven and I am passionate about accounting and business and I want to promote this and help the country with my business knowledge.

Shane' Naidoo - Benoni, Gauteng

Shane Naidoo - Benoni Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 1

Age: 24

Occupation: Industrial Engineering student at the University of the Witwatersrand (Graduation: November 2016)

Previous beauty competitions/pageants entered and placed in: Miss South Africa 2015 – Top 12

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to be Miss South Africa 2017 as I am confident that I will make a real and tangible difference in the lives of many young South Africans. I pride myself in being graceful, compassionate and enthusiastic. I have a love for South Africa and our people, and I would be proud to be an ambassador and a leader for our diverse country. I am passionate about youth development and women empowerment through education. Being a female engineer, I understand first-hand how women are often underrated and unrecognised. I want the challenges that I have overcome, and the lessons that I have learnt to serve as an inspiration to the youth, so that they can be inspired to live up to their full potential. Being crowned a Miss SA will allow me the opportunity to reach into our communities and spread a positive message to young South Africans. I want 2017 to be the year that we shatter those glass ceilings and break the stereotypes and stigmas that still surround women today.

Shelbe Pretorius - Pinehaven, Krugersdorp

Shelbe Pretorius - Pinehaven Krugersdorp Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 23

Occupation: Owner of Flair promotional models

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to be Miss South Africa 2017 because I believe I have all the qualities to be a phenomenal ambassador for our country. I am passionate about people and a strong believer in making a difference. I live each day to inspire not only woman, but everyone from all races, religions, cultures and backgrounds. My biggest desire is to instil value and purpose in the hearts of young woman and children. I want to inspire people to live purposeful, driven lives. I believe it’s not the title that will define me but I will define the value of the title by being able to bring all of me, my dreams, my goals and my purpose.

Shenai Bridglall - Port Shepstone, Kwazulu-Natal

Shenai Bridglall - Port Shepstone KZN Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 22

Occupation: I am an honours student at the University of Cape Town, currently completing my Business Science degree in marketing, statistics and economics. I have also founded my own non-profit organisation called The EssBee Foundation. Our objective is to build a flourishing South Africa by focusing on four essential pillars; education, personal hygiene, nutrition and women empowerment.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss South Coast Fever 2004 (winner), Miss Jnr. South Africa 2009 (Top 5)

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

Becoming Miss South Africa has been my childhood dream. I value that the Miss South Africa organisation looks for goal-orientated women to represent our stunning country and I seek to be that. I know what my goals are in life and I want to inspire young girls to discover who they are, what they want to achieve in life and encourage them that no dream is too big to achieve if they work hard, believe in themselves and never give up.

Tshegofatso Monggae - Dobsonville, Soweto

Tshegofatso Monggae - Dobsonville Soweto Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 23

Occupation: Marketing intern at AFI (African Fashion International)

Previous beauty competitions: Miss Princess High 2010 (winner), Miss Roodepoort 2012 (winner), Miss South Africa 2014 (Top 12) and Miss Mamelodi Sundowns 2015 (winner).

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I want to be Miss South Africa because it has always been a childhood dream of mine; I also have a keen interest in social development initiatives such as Reach for a Dream and Cell C's Take a Girl Child to Work.

Yuta Raubenheimer - Kameeldrift, Pretoria

Yuta Raubenheimer - Kameeldrift Pretoria Gauteng Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 2

Age: 25

Occupation: Customer service supervisor for Gautrain. The customer service team is the face of Gautrain and we are brand ambassadors for Gautrain.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

To be Miss South Africa has always been a dream that I have been preparing for ever since I could remember. I have always felt the need to be involved in my community; and as such, have followed my heart’s desire to serve by being involved in numerous projects in my community. To be Miss South Africa would broaden my horizon to an extent that I could influence a much greater audience that I can right now. I am a go-getter and driven to do my part in previous disadvantaged areas. Everybody needs hope and a future. A soup kitchen here or a children’s home there will not cover it. Our young adults need an attitude of “I can do” not a hand-out. To get to a place of affirmation, skills are needed as well as motivation and inspiration. I want to visit every school, hospital and every children’s home to motivate and inspire young people to follow their dreams, develop skills that can be displayed in expo centres in every township where talent seekers can visit and provide necessary input to produce innovation.

Zozibini Tunzi - East London/Tsolo, Eastern Cape

Zozibini Tunzi - Tsolo, East London Eastern Cape Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep 1

Age: 23

Occupation: Part-time model

Previous beauty competitions/pageants: Miss Cape Peninsula University of Technology 2013 (winner) and Miss Mamelodi Sundowns Western Cape 2015 (winner)

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I have wanted to be Miss South Africa for as long as I can remember, even before I knew there was such a thing as a Miss South Africa. Growing up I was a very shy, awkward child and could not really relate to my peers. One day my mother entered me into a church pageant because she wanted to get me out of my shell. When I went through that programme and met all those girls, I knew that was where I wanted to be. I made friends, I learnt how to be comfortable in my skin, my confidence grew and, most importantly, I acquired the skill to be a people person and realised the greatest gift was humility. I decided that when I grew up I wanted to give back to pageantry because it had given so much to me. I decided that I too could be a catalyst for effective change, and that is when I learnt about Miss South Africa.

Pictures: Yolanda van der Stoep

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