PHOTOS | A look back at SA's first Miss World

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In 1958 Penelope Coelen became the first South African to win the Miss World title.
In 1958 Penelope Coelen became the first South African to win the Miss World title.
Photo: Powell/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
  • Penelope Coelen was the first South African to win the Miss World title in 1958.
  • At just 18, Penelope scooped the crown at the competition which took place in London.
  • Take a peek into the pageant archives with photos from the 1958 Miss World competition.


In 1958, Penelope Coelen made history when she became the first beauty queen from Africa to win a major international beauty pageant title -- bringing home the Miss World crown. 

Penelope, who also won the Miss SA crown that year, was just 18 years old at the time. The competition was held on 13 October at the Lyceum Ballroom in London. 22 women from around the world took part.

Since then, two other South African beauty queens have managed to bag the Miss World title -- Anneline Kriel in 1974 and Rolene Strauss in 2014. 

A lot has changed in the world of pageants since Penelope's reign -- besides a big difference in fashion, competitions have become more inclusive, welcoming women of different races and cultural backgrounds from across the globe. 

Take a peek into the pageant archives with these photos from the 1958 Miss World competition:

Miss World 1958
Contestants at the 1958 Miss World pageant.
Miss World 1958
Contestants at the 1958 Miss World pageant.
Penelope Coelen
Penelope Coelen
Miss World 1958
Contestants at the 1958 Miss World pageant.
Miss World 1958
Miss World 1958 winner Miss South Africa Penelope Coelen (centre), first princess Miss France Claudine Auger (left) and second princess Miss Danemark Vinnie Innemann (right).
Penelope Coelen
Penelope Coelen
Penelope Coelen
Penelope Coelen

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