CELEBRATING 15 years of environmental advocacy, community service and another generation of green leaders, The Miss Earth South Africa 2018/2019 Leadership Programme winner’s announcement gala dinner was hosted at the Tsogo Sun, Montecasino Ballroom on October 6. Finalists from across the country gathered to share their work, projects and to engage in a round table discussion on the state of the environment from the perspective of each of their respective fields of study and passion. The dialogue and evening were facilitated and hosted by South African acclaimed TV and Radio Broadcaster and media entrepreneur Zizo Tshwete. Twenty-one year old Nazia Wadee, of Lenasia in the South of Johannesburg, was announced as the 2018/2019 winner. She holds an undergraduate degree from Wits University in International Relations and Media Studies and is currently an Honours student. She will continue to add value to the already established #WasteStopswithMe campaign. Nazia is followed by three runner ups, who will work together with her in the year ahead as they continue to drive environmental education, awareness and community programmes. These young women include first runner up Mpumelelo Maduna, from Rockville in Soweto, who is currently doing her BTech in Marketing Management; second runner up Pinky Mokwena, from Attridgeville in Tshwane, who holds a BTech Degree in Environmental Sciences; followed by the third Runner up Charlotte Joja who is completing her Honours in BA Psychology from the University of Johannesburg. Saturday night was not only a celebration of another year of environmental advocacy, community service and greening the nation, but the Miss Earth South Africa Leadership Programme also celebrated a milestone. This year marks the organisation’s 15 years of activism and service in communities across South Africa. In attendance at this year’s event were Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba, Gauteng MEC of Education Panyaza Lesufi, Ambassadors and Government dignitaries. UNEP Regional Manager Cecilia Njenga was in attendance, showing her full support of the programme alongside City of Johannesburg Health MMC Dr Mpho Phalatse. Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, congratulated Miss Earth South Africa 2018 on her crowning, saying: “Well done to Nazia Wadee on an achievement that represents many hours of hard work and commitment to environmental upliftment. “Our congratulations also to the Miss Earth South Africa programme on 15 years of dedication towards building an environmentally responsible country. Tsogo Sun is pleased to have journeyed with the Miss Earth South Africa programme as a partner for the past seven years,” said Tothill.Mike Page, Director of Operations and Complex GM of Montecasino, says: “Montecasino is proud to be the home of Miss Earth South Africa, and, together with our tenants who join us in our support, we wish the Miss Earth SA winners well in their future endeavours. “Miss Earth South Africa is an empowering organisation that provides a platform for having a sustainable impact on our natural heritage and it is an ideal fit for Montecasino, which is known for its ongoing commitment to effective environmental management.” Executive Director of Miss Earth South Africa, Catherine Constantinides, also an international climate activist and human rights defender, said: “Heroes don’t live in story books they live amongst us and we, as the Miss Earth Leadership Programme, have to ensure we empower and inspire these young women to be active citizens and be those heroes we need in society to allow us to change the problems we face on a social, community level and linking that to the environmental impact we are faced with as a society.” — Supplied.