Miss SA 2018 finalists. Back row from left to right:
Bryoni Govender, Margo Fargo, Thulisa Keyi, Tamaryn Green, Daniellé de Jager, Anzelle von Staden and Tharina Botes. Front row (left to right) Noxolo Ndebele, Tamarin Bensch, Thandokazi Mfundisi, Karishma Ramdev and Akile Khoza.
Pic by Yolanda van der Stoep.
This year’s Top 12 Miss South Africa finalists – one of whom will be crowned Miss South Africa 2018 on May 27 – have been announced as the pageant proudly celebrates its 60th anniversary with a dramatic and exciting change to its format.
Traditionally, during the final on pageant night, the top 12 finalists are reduced to five, from which a second princess is announced, followed by a first princess and then the winner.
This year, following the cut to the top five finalists, the organisers will go straight to a top two announcement. One of the pair will be named Miss World South Africa and one will receive the title of Miss Universe South Africa. Both will go on to represent South Africa on the global stage in each respective competition.
However, as there can be only one reigning Miss South Africa, the two winners will be asked one final question by the judges as the pageant draws to a close. Their answers will determine who is crowned as the official Miss South Africa 2018.
The Top 12 finalists, who each receive a prize package valued at R180 000, come from six of the country’s provinces. They are an impressive group and include several medical, science and law students and a number of BComm and BSc graduates.
The Miss South Africa Organisation (Cell C and Sun International) has the exclusive licences for the Miss South Africa title holder to compete annually in both the Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. Traditionally, the reigning Miss South Africa competed in both these international competitions. However, if Miss South Africa won on the international stage – as Rolene Strauss did with Miss World in 2014 or there was a conflict with dates that overlapped (which happened last year when Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters lifted the Miss Universe title) – the first runner-up was called upon to represent South Africa.
Says Suzette van der Merwe from Cell C on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “In 2018, we’re adopting international best practice in terms of our finalist judging in order to ensure that our contestants are given a bigger share of the global spotlight by strengthening our pageantry presence internationally. We are delighted that this new format will give two finalists the opportunity to represent South Africa and enable them to prepare thoroughly in advance.”
Adds Gareth Flusk from Sun International on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “We are thrilled with the calibre of the finalists in our 60th anniversary year. Any of these contestants would do us proud on the international stage. We are delighted that this year two women will be given the opportunity to shine.”
Miss South Africa 2018, the Diamond Jubilee spectacular with host Bonang Matheba, will take place on Sunday, May 27, at Sun International’s new flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria.
Tickets for this year’s pageant are available at TicketPro and cost between R160 and R560. Go to: www.ticketpros.co.za
Miss South Africa is proudly presented by Cell C in association with Sun International.
MISS SOUTH AFRICA TOP 12
The Top 12 come from six of the country’s provinces – five from Gauteng; two from KwaZulu Natal and the Eastern Cape respectively and one each from the Free State, Mpumalanga, and the Western Cape.
Akile Khoza – from Thulamahashe, Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga – is a 23-year-old Master’s student in neuroscience at the University of Stellenbosch. Although she’s one of the tallest contestants this year (1,85m to be exact) she is scared of heights and has set herself a challenge to overcome this by hiking up a mountain. She lists her teacher mother, who only started studying later in life and who recently obtained her PHD degree at Stellenbosch University, as her role model. She loves being active and plays netball (she played SA Under 21) and basketball. Her favourite meal is pap and braaied chicken or meat and chakalaka.
Anzelle von Staden is a 25-year-old full-time model from Centurion in Pretoria. She lost a person close to her from breast cancer and if she won the Miss SA title she would use the brand to raise awareness and sponsorship. She comes from a large close-knit family and is the youngest of 15 grandchildren. Close to her heart are her three furry children, two Pekinese and a golden retriever called Leo. She’s an outdoors person who keeps active. For her nothing beats a traditional home-cooked meal with family and friends – and don’t forget the braai broodjie! She would love to meet tennis legend Billie Jean King.
Bryoni Govender is a 21-year-old LLB Law student at the University of Johannesburg who comes from Kempton Park in Gauteng. Bryoni, who started modelling at the age of 14, entered the Miss South Africa competition to fulfil a childhood dream of hers. She is a tap dancer who also loves reading and baking and lists Aishwarya Rai as one of her role models and the one person she would like to meet. Her message to other young women: “Love everything about yourself and be willing to try new things, face challenges, work harder and excel beyond your expectations.” Her favourite meal is lamb curry and rice.
Twenty-year-old Daniellé de Jager (called Dan by her friends) is studying BHSc Biokinetics with Honours at Nelson Mandela University although her hometown is Benoni in Gauteng. She has entered a host of pageants and was named Model of the Year five times. She has three brothers and spends her spare time cheerleading for her university, going to the gym, rowing, road running and – her latest challenge – learning how to surf. What would people be surprised to learn about her? “My hyper elasticity! You’d be surprised at the way I can turn my elbows inside out!”. Food wise she loves fettucine Alfredo.
Karishma Ramdev (23) is a fifth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria who comes from Chatsworth in KwaZulu Natal. She enjoys horse riding, reading, going to gym and hiking. However, she has yet to brave an overnight camping adventure. One day she would like to make travelling one of her permanent hobbies! She loves mutton curry and dhal gosht and is addicted to the TV series Games of Thrones. Medicine runs in the family blood – her father is an optometrist; her mother is a radiographer and her youngest brother is studying veterinary science.
Margo Fargo is a 25-year-old co-director of a non-profit organisation and part-time model who comes from Heidedal near Bloemfontein in the Free State. In 2014 she was ambassador for Miss Earth South Africa and in 2016 was made first princess at Miss Mamelodi Sundowns. She comes from a “beautiful, crazy and multi-cultural family” and has six siblings. Says Margo: “I grew up playing with my brother’s cars, climbing trees and chasing cattle. I only started wearing shoes when I started Grade 1. I was never the pageant girl. I was the nerd who only worried about homework!” #MargoForMissSA
Noxolo Ndebele (25) from KwaNongoma in KZN, is a part time model who used to work as a project financial controller. She enjoys going to gym and writes for an online magazine called Growth. Her culinary favourite is traditional food and she doesn’t drink any alcohol (and never has!) She considers her family her biggest blessing and has two sisters who are both studying, and a younger brother who is still at school. She will soon be launching her own clothing brand. Her message: “Do good even if nobody is watching. Do everything to the best of your ability.”
Tamarin Bensch (25) hails from Bedfordview, works in property management and interior renovations and lives in Somerset West. She has a national diploma in clothing manufacturing technology and also runs an online fashion and beauty store. Tamarin enjoys park runs and loves spending time with friends and family including her parents and three brothers. This pizza-eating lover of ‘80s music also has the Sesotho name, Mathabo. “I use the quote ‘Everything happens for a reason’ almost every day, she says,” Don’t regret anything because the storm will pass and might leave you with an amazing rainbow.”
Tamaryn Green (23) is a final year medical student at the University of Cape Town and lives in Paarl. It has always been a lifelong dream of hers to enter the Miss SA pageant and lists Miss World title holder Rolene Strauss as her inspiration. Her role models are her parents and she is close to her sister and brother. She is a nature lover who enjoys hiking, swimming and spending time with friends. Another goal this year is to complete as many hikes as possible. She loves eating her mom’s traditional Sunday lunch as well as a braai with braai broodjie, and sushi. She doesn’t like chocolate and eats popcorn morning, noon and night.
Thandokazi Mfundisi (24) is a final year LLB Law student at the University of Fort Hare who comes from East London. Thando – who has five siblings – plays netball, enjoys athletics (high jump, javelin, long jump) and kayaking. She also loves reading, dancing and listening to music. At varsity, she is an active member of the Black Management Forum and a member of Students for Law and Social Justice. She loves eating Pad Thai, listening to the music of Bruno Mars and would like to meet Michelle Obama. Since the age of four – when she started Grade 1 – she has wanted to enter the Miss South Africa pageant.
Twenty-one-year-old Tharina Botes, from Roodepoort in Gauteng, is a BComm marketing and business student at Damelin and a part time model. She spends her spare time with those who are closest to her including her cherished grandmother, father and mother as well as her 19-year-old sister and 11-year-old brother. She likes dressing up her chihuahuas, reading good books, arts and drawing. She is a sporty person and was first team league in high school for tennis and got her swimming colours. Her favourite meal is sushi but she never says no to chocolate – in fact, it has always been her fantasy to one day own a chocolate factory.
Thulisa Keyi graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BComm Accounting and PGDA and is doing her articles to qualify as a chartered accountant. The 26-year-old lives in Fourways but is originally from Mdantsane in East London in the Eastern Cape. She is one of four children and says her mother has been her pillar of strength since her father was killed when she was 17. She loves exploring new restaurants and markets in Johannesburg, reads and keeps fit at the gym. When she was younger, she used to do karate and can still count from one to 10 in Japanese. She loves pasta but her payday spoil is lobster thermidor.