As a young girl, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters would watch the Miss South Africa competition wishing with all her heart that one day too she would be able to walk on that stage just like those glamorous women she saw on television. That dream has now come true.
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 21, was crowned Miss South Africa 2017 at a ceremony held at Sun City.
Runners-up are Adè van Heerden from the Western Cape (1st Princess) and Boipelo Mabe from Alexandra in Gauteng (2nd Princess).
An excited and overwhelmed Demi-Leigh from Sedgefield in the Western Cape – said she is determined to make a difference during her reign.
In her Miss South Africa acceptance speech she said: “I vow to dedicate the next 365 days of my life to serve the people of South Africa, to be a voice to those who are afraid to or cannot speak up and to represent the whole of our beautiful nation. I vow to listen, to be there, to help where I can and to recognise that we all want to be heard, we all want to be validated. I hear you, I see you, I am you!”
Before she was crowned Miss South Africa, Nel-Peters had completed her B.Com in business management and entrepreneurship and was a part-time model.
As Miss South Africa 2017, Demi-Leigh received R1-million in cash from sponsors Sun International and Cell C, as well as a bouquet of prizes that has elevated the competition to one of the richest pageants in the world.
For the first time in the history of the Miss South Africa pageant, members of the public were invited for the finalist they thought should take the crown.
The event – broadcast live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic – was a star-studded affair.
Sun International’s Public Relations Executive, Claudia Henkel said: “Miss South Africa represents the whole of South Africa and will make a meaningful contribution to the lives of many. We at Sun International are delighted with the crowning of Demi-Leigh whom, I am sure, will walk the path with pride and passion.”
Suzette van der Merwe, Managing Executive for Cell C said, “This pageant provides life changing experiences for all the participants and for the winner an opportunity to inspire and make a real difference. Year after year we see talented, dynamic young woman grow into their roles of South African ambassadors and community caretakers. I have no doubt that Demi-Leigh will shine in her reign over the next year.”
This year’s Miss South Africa judges were Maps Maponyane, Unathi Msengana, Cameron van der Burgh, Bridget Masinga, Gisele Wertheim Aymes and former Miss South Africa Claudia Henkel. Public voting contributed to 25 percent of the vote.
- Website: www.misssa.co.za
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MsSouthAfrica
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Official_MissSA
Q&A WITH MISS SOUTH AFRICA 2017
DEMI-LEIGH NEL-PETERS – SEDGEFIELD, WESTERN CAPE
Occupation: Completed my B.Com in business management and entrepreneurship. 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.
What qualities do you believe a Miss South Africa should possess?
Miss South Africa should be gentle, caring and kind. She should be known as a person who always gives of herself. Miss South Africa is confident and passionate about life but most importantly, she is relatable.
Who is a previous Miss South Africa who has inspired you?
Cindy Nell has always been a woman I look up to. She is a Miss South Africa that really used the platform to the best of her ability. She has always been unapologetically dynamic and is now a successful business woman. I also found a lot of value in her Model and Pageant Handbook.
Who are your role models?
I can’t single out anyone specific. I have had various people that I have looked up to and drawn strength from at different stages and situations in my life. I think everyone is unique and bring something special to the table. I admire woman like Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer and then CEO of Yahoo. Women who don’t only strive to be the equals of men, but who strive to live up to their full potential.
Tell us a bit more about your family.
I consider myself extremely blessed to have four amazing parents. They are my biggest supporters and they have always believed in me and dreamed with me. My mom and my step-dad live in Sedgefield. My step-dad, Johan Steenkamp, is the gentlest soul I have ever met and he truly raised me as his own. He is in the building industry. My mom, Anne-Mari Steenkamp is my absolute rock. She is an interior designer as well as a landscaper. My dad and step-mom live in Potchefstroom. My step-mom, Elzabé Peters is a clinical psychologist. My dad, Bennie Peters recently stepped out of the corporate world and opened Sunset Manor Guest house in Potchefstroom. It’s always been his dream to go into the hospitality industry. I have a 10 year old half-sister, Franje. She is my dad and step-mom’s daughter. She was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator in life (and she has the most beautiful lashes any girl can dream of).
What do you do in your spare time?
At this moment, studying. Growing up in the Garden Route, I have always loved spending time outdoors. I enjoy trail runs, hiking, road races or even just taking my two Yorkies, Benji and Baxter for a walk in a park. I like to be creative at times. I always try to make handmade cards for friends and family on their birthdays or I scrapbook pictures of places I’ve travelled to. I also enjoy reading fictional books to escape reality for a while as well as autobiographies that I can draw inspiration from. My ultimate “me time” would definitely be getting ready in the morning. I love being a girl and playing around with make-up or trying new hair styles when I have time.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?
Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’. You are worthy, you matter and you are capable of more than you could ever dream of, all you have to do is try.
If you could meet one person as Miss South Africa who would it be?
I would be thrilled to meet former Miss South Africa, now influential business woman and philanthropist, Basetsana Kumalo. As an aspiring business woman, I could learn a lot from Bassie. She always comes across as a very well rounded and balanced woman. I think we will have a lot to talk about.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I was the first girl in my high school to be chosen as head girl of both my school and my hostel. I was also elected as the Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council in grade 11.
What are you reading?
I am currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
What music are you listening to?
I’m a big fan of Enya, Adele and Taylor Swift. I also appreciate good classical symphonies. Classical music, especially Beethoven, enhanced my concentration while studying maths.
Your favourite TV show?
I enjoy watching Suits. Donna is my favourite character; I adore her witty sense of humour. She’s such a power woman.
Your favourite meal?
This is a tough choice between pork ribs with a barbeque basting served with oven roast vegetables or oxtail in a red wine reduction served with samp.
What is your favourite quote?
“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no-one else has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein
Miss South Africa 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters acceptance speech
I would like to thank my Heavenly Father for everything He has blessed me with just as he promised in Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
As a young girl, I would watch the Miss South Africa competition wishing with all my heart that one day too I would be able to walk on that stage just like those glamorous women I saw on television. Tonight that dream came true. This dream of mine was shared by my family, friends and those who knew me. But little did I know how blessed I would be with support of people all over the world dreaming this dream with me. So, as I stand here tonight, I wear this crown not only for that little girl in front of the TV but for every little girl with a dream, every South African with a dream of a better life, for every single person with a wish of wanting to live as the highest truest versions of themselves.
I will continue to wear this crown for all of them throughout my reign.
I vow to dedicate the next 365 days of my life to serve the people of South Africa, to be a voice to those who are afraid to or cannot speak up and to represent the whole of our beautiful nation. I vow to listen, to be there, to help where I can and to recognize that we all want to be heard, we all want to be validated. I hear you, I see you, I am you!
I stand here in awe of the women who came before me. I will build and add to this very strong foundation that has been laid there for me by all the previous Miss South Africa’s, who I look up to and respect in so many ways. I will take the reins with pride and honour and run with it. I stand on your shoulders knowing that the foundation you’ve built is unbreakable because of your passion, dedication and selflessness. The way you’ve given of yourselves and how you’ve inspired our nation will be my motivation, my strength and my compass as I embark on this journey.
To all four of my parents, mom, dad, stepmother and stepfather: Thank you for raising me the way you did. Thank you for being hard on me when it was necessary, for instilling in me a sense of responsibility, not only for myself but for others around me as well. I didn’t always like it then but I am thankful for it now. Thank you for always leading by example, for always having my back and for loving me unconditionally. I stand here tonight as a young woman with the world at my feet only because you made me realise the power that was already inside of me. I will forever love and honour you.
To Cell C, Sun International and all the sponsors, thank you for making my journey as a finalist unforgettable. There is a reason why this pageant is considered one of the best in the world. The way you support and uplift young women in South Africa has instilled a new sense of passion in me to strengthen a new generation of women that will one day lead this nation. I am beyond excited to take on this year and leave a legacy.
I believe that one shouldn’t get into something only to test the waters, but to make waves. That is exactly what I tend to do. My vision for my year as Miss South Africa 2017 is to help woman to help themselves. Not only to give them a fish to eat but to teach them how to fish in order to create a sustainable life for themselves. I look forward to partnering with corporates, government and social entrepreneurs to implement mentoring programmes to teach young South African woman how to start and run their own businesses in order to create a sustainable future not only for themselves but for their communities as well.
I want to leave a legacy of helping young South African women realise and nurture their own God-given talents to create opportunities and support themselves and those around them and to take their rightful place in society.
Tonight I stepped on that stage as Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; I now greet you as Miss South Africa 2017. Thank you.
The Miss SA 2017 prize winner’s package includes:
- R1 million in cash from Sun International and Cell C
- A Nissan Juke
- Use of a fully furnished and serviced apartment for the year of her reign
- Africology product and spa services
- Smashbox makeup
- Professional Impressions image and etiquette training
- Discovery Insure (medical and insurance cover)
- Hair by Lajawi and Lebelle Hair Extensions
- Jack Friedman (jewellery)
- Norman Cahi (Dental services)
- Soviet clothing
- Sprout (aesthetics)
- The Brow Bar
- Exclusive Dry Cleaning (Dry cleaning services)
- Lipault (luggage)
- Bacher and Co (fragrance)
Varsity College has donated 12 bursaries valued at R44 000 for Miss South Africa to award to economically disadvantaged students to study a full degree or diploma qualification on a full time or part time basis at The Business School at Varsity College.
Women Impowered are also donating training and workshops valued at R80 000 for the winner to empower other young women.