Today was a big day in the lives of 12 of South Africa’s most beautiful and smart young ladies, as they were announced this year’s Top 12 Miss South Africa finalists – one of whom will be crowned Miss South Africa 2018 on May 27 – in it’s glamourous 60th anniversary pageant – which also sees a 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.
They are (in alphabetical order of their first names):
• Akile Khoza (23) from Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga who is studying for her Masters in neuroscience at Stellenbosch University.
• Anzelle van Staden (25), from Centurion in Gauteng, has a BComm degree from the University of Pretoria and is currently a full-time model.
• Bryoni Govender (21), from Kempton Park in Gauteng, is a third year LLB student at the University of Johannesburg.
• Daniellë de Jager (20) from Benoni, Gauteng, is currently studying biokinetics at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth.
• Karishma Ramdev (23), from Chatsworth in KZN, is a fifth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria.
• Margo Fargo (25), originally from Heidedal in the Free State, has a BSc consumer sciences honours degree and is a co-founder of a NPO.
• Noxolo Ndebele (24), from KwaNongoma in KZN, has a BComm Acc degree and worked as a financial controller.
• Tamarin Bensch (25), originally from Bedfordview in Gauteng but now living in Somerset West, works in property management and interior renovations.
• Tamaryn Green (23), from Paarl in the Western Cape, is in her final year of medicine at the University of Cape Town.
• Thandokazi Mfundisi (23), from East London in the Eastern Cape, is a final year LLB student at Fort Hare.
• Tharina Botes (21), from Roodepoort in Gauteng, is a first year BComm marketing and business degree student at Damelin and a part-time model.
• Thulisa Keyi (26), originally from East London and who now lives in Gauteng, is currently doing her articles after graduating from the University of Cape Town.
Traditionally, the reigning Miss South Africa competed in both 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.”
Tickets for this year’s pageant are available at TicketPro and cost between R 160 and R 560 www.ticketpros.co.za