She has been crowned the new Miss South Africa 2022.
Throughout the competition, she walked the ramp confidently and spoke eloquently when asked questions by the judges.
Miss South Africa 2022 Ndavi Nokeri (23) tells Drum that she put her heart and soul into winning and made sure she enjoyed herself while at it.
Moments before the host Anele Mdoda announced the winner, hearts were beating, fingers crossed, and sweat was dripping down the many backs of supporters waiting for their favourite to be chosen.
When Ndavi heard her name, she was in shock.
“I was completely shocked. You know you work so hard for something like this but when the big day comes you hope for the best,” she says.
“The whole show went by so quickly; I was still enjoying myself. When I heard my name, I couldn’t believe it. I was so shocked; it took me longer to process and believe that it happened,” she adds.
“This is a big moment for me, my village, and my community. This is not just about me but my province and country. This is about any woman who has ever felt small, and that their dreams were too far for them to reach. This will serve as a symbol that it doesn’t matter where you come from, your dreams are valid, and you can achieve anything that you set your minds to,” she says.
The Limpopo-born beauty queen says what makes a great Miss SA is someone who sees the power of the platform and uses it to educate others.
“A great candidate for Miss South Africa is a woman who understands the power of the platform. You are given the opportunity to speak the truth, educate, change mindsets and enable people to understand that there is more to women than just beauty. We are powerful and resilient.”
Being crowned Miss SA on Women’s Month is something that will live in her books of history.
“I am so proud to say that on Women’s Month, I became Miss South Africa. It is such a ground-breaking moment for me. I believe, we really should celebrate the women who have stood and fought for our rights,” she says.
“But with the same breath, we should remember all the women who have lost their lives due to gender-based violence in South Africa. So, it really is a call upon me to continue the conversation to ensure we counter this and reduce the number of women who are in danger every day.”
The night before the pageant, Ndavi says she knew that keeping a clear mind, praying for the best, and staying calm would take her to the finish line.
“I am a great woman of faith, I did a lot of praying and reaffirming myself. I believe that there is a time and a season for everything and I know what is meant for me will never miss me. One can do all the preparation you need but rest was also important to be able to bring it forth and get the sense of calm and contentment.”
Ndavi says winning starts in the mind.
“If you do anything you have to see yourself achieving it. Before winning anything, you have to believe that it is possible,” she says.
“Having seen many women who had similar backgrounds to mine and embraced their power and looked beyond their fears, I was encouraged. So, I had to believe that I can be able to stand in front of the judged.”
What kept her motivated throughout the contest was the support from the audience.
“When I came out, I thrived from their energy, they were so supportive. Also having won the public vote, I really felt the responsibility to stand confidently and continue to believe that I’ve gotten so far, and I needed to stand in my power.”
As a teenager, Ndavi wanted to do beauty pageants to change the perception that people had of people from villages.
“When I was 20 years old, I did a pageant called Miss Jozi and that is where I learned the power of pageantry,” she says.
“I learned there is a lot one can do as an individual for your country. So, I wanted to get onto the Miss South Africa platform to reach a wider audience. Coming from a village, people may think it is not possible to achieve certain things and I wanted to be part of the voices saying that anything is possible. because of where you come from. Even If I didn’t win, but to get my message across and to accomplish what I needed.”
This coming year, she plans to use her name and make a change.
Ndavi believes education comes first and that everyone deserves a fair chance at a good education. As the new Miss South Africa, she wants to get her hands dirty working on projects that involve education.
“I am passionate about bridging the gap of the educational inequality in our country and I want to use this platform to make the biggest impact in that regard,” she says.
“Being a woman who grew up in a village and had the opportunity to attend school in better and advanced areas, I think that there’s a big divide which incites other social ills like crime, teenage pregnancy, and others. So, I want to use my year of reign to make an impact.”