Monday 4th of March 2024

Nairobi, Kenya

Miss South Africa 2021

Miss South Africa 2021, the 63rd edition of Miss South Africa, is all set to be held in October this year where stunning beauties from all over the country will compete for the national crown. The winner and her runner-ups will represent South Africa at either Miss Universe 2021, Miss World 2022, or Miss Supranational 2022.

The official Top 10 finalists were announced on 3rd August 2021 which included Dr. Moratwe Masima, Cheneil Hartzenberg, Kgothatso Dithebe, Jeanni Mulder, Kaylan Matthews, Bianca Bezuidenhout, Lalela Mswane, Catherine Groenewald, Tiffany Francis, and Zimingonaphakade Mabunzi.

The Top 30 was announced on 6 July 2021 which included Andile Mazibuko, Ane Oosthuysen, Bianca Bezuidenhout, Catherine Groenewald, Cheneil Hartzenberg, Danielle Marais, Eloi¨se van der Westhuizen, Ferini Dayal, Itumeleng Baloyi, Jamie Cloete, Jeanni Mulder, Kaylan Matthews, Keashel van der Merwe, Kgaketsang Mathobisa, Kgatlhiso Modisane, Kgothatso Dithebe, Lalela Mswane, Lehlogonolo Machaba, Licalle Isaacs, Lisanne Lazarus, Mawusive Sibutha, Moratwe Masima, Olin-Shae De La Cruz, Pearl Ntshehi, Precious Mndalama, Pumeza Zibi, Savannah de Almeida, Tiffanu Francis, Tshegofatso Molefe and Zimi Mabunzi.

The judges who determined the Top 30 included Melinda Bam – Miss South Africa 2011, Tamaryn Green – Miss South Africa 2018, Liesl Laurie – Miss South Africa 2015, Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala – Miss South Africa 2010.

The accomplished panel of jury who will crown Miss South Africa included Shannon Esra – Actress, Tamaryn Green – Miss South Africa 2018, Basetsana Kumalo – Miss South Africa 1994, Andrea Meza – Miss Universe 2020 from Mexico, Mamokgethi Phakeng – Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dineo Ranaka – Television and radio personality and Pia Wurtzbach – Miss Universe 2015 from the Philippines.

Content courtesy of Angelopedia NFH Digital Team

Aruba’s Thessaly Zimmerman Makes History at Miss Universe 2021

The 70th edition of the Miss Universe pageant was held on 12th December 2021 at Universe Dome, Port of Eilat in Eilat, South District, Israel where Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu of India was crowned as Miss Universe 2021. But there was one more name that made history that day, of Aruba’s Thessaly Zimmerman who put the country’s name among the semi-finalists after 25 years. Coming only third to Maureen Ava Vieira, fourth runner-up at Miss Universe 1974, and Taryn Scheryl Mansell who was first runner-up at Miss Universe in 1996.

Thessaly made it to the Top 10 of Miss Universe 2021 along with Chantel O’Brian of Bahamas, Valeria Ayos Bossa of Colombia, Clémence Botino of France, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu of India, Nadia Tamara Ferreira of Paraguay, Beatrice Luigi Gomez of Philippines, Michelle Marie Colón of Puerto Rico, Lalela Mswane of South Africa and Elle Smith who was representing the United States of America.

The bachelor of international communication and media studies was completely stunned when host Steve Harvey called her name as one of the semi-finalists, going on to show how grounded she is.

“Thank you everyone for all the warm and kind messages that I am receiving with your support. I still don’t have words to describe how happy I am with the results and what was accomplished not only for myself but for my country. After 25 years Aruba’s name was called amongst the semifinalists. This shows that all my hard work was not in vain, because now people will remember Aruba. I couldn’t have done this without each and every one of you who helped me on this journey, who believed in me from the very start and never stopped believing. Thank you all for that,” expressed a grateful Thessaly.

Zimmerman hails from Oranjestad, Aruba, and was also one of our favorites for the title. She is proficient in speaking English, Spanish, and Dutch. Empathetic of nature, this Aruban beauty helped raise money for the cancer fund of Koningin Wilhelmina Kanker Fonds Aruba in May 2010 and the breast cancer fund of Mary Joan Foundation Aruba in April 2013.

She also competed in Aruba Model Search and finished in the Top 7 and worked as a model for KOMA Models in Aruba for four years. She was Miss Teen Aruba International 2012 and represented Aruba at Miss Teen Americas 2013 in El Salvador. She was runner-up to Fulvia Villarreal of Panama.

The queen was overjoyed and brimming with tears of happiness as she was welcomed back home yesterday.

Content courtesy of Angelopedia & NFH Digital Team

Beauty Pageant Boycott: Why Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane is on Her Own in Israel

When Lalela Mswane glided across a Cape Town stage in a red satin ball gown at the finals of the Miss South Africa pageant in October, she moved with the poise of someone who commanded her country’s attention.

But in the days after the 24-year-old law student and model was crowned, that gaze took on a sharp edge.

Pro-Palestine activists began demanding she boycott the Dec. 12 Miss Universe pageant because it will be held in Israel. In mid-November, the South African government withdrew its support for Ms. Mswane’s entry, so she will compete without her country’s backing.

“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and Government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” wrote the Department of Sports, Arts, and Culture in a statement.

The pageant organizers, meanwhile, soldiered on, stating that Ms. Mswane “would not be bullied” into boycotting the pageant. (The Miss South Africa organization and Ms. Mswane did not respond to requests for comments for this story.)

The Miss Universe competition may seem an unusual place for a government to stake a major geopolitical stand. But in South Africa, activists say the anti-apartheid movement taught them that the struggle against injustice takes place everywhere, from parliamentary debates and mass marches to boycotts of sports games, grapefruits, and yes, even the stage of a beauty pageant.

“It was not our wisdom and strength as South Africans that ultimately delivered us from apartheid – it was the support we had from the international community that backed us up,” says Duduzile Mahlangu-Masango, a board member of Africa4Palestine, formerly known as the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, which advocates in support of Palestinian rights in South Africa.

“We learned then that when you speak the big language of politics, you don’t bring everyone along. But when you talk about things ordinary people care about, you bring the issue closer to them.”

For those like Ms. Mahlangu-Masango, that kind of activism has a long history. For decades, boycotts and cultural isolation were major weapons in the war against apartheid.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, activists fought to have South Africa barred from major sporting events like the Olympics and World Cup, and advocated for Europeans and Americans to stop buying South African fruit and cigarettes. The liberation movement asked international musicians to boycott South Africa.

In 1976, after a massacre of schoolchildren in Soweto, near Johannesburg, turned the world’s attention to South Africa’s atrocities, nine countries announced they would boycott the Miss World pageant for allowing South Africa to participate. A second boycott followed the next year, forcing the organizers to ban South Africa.

“These calls to isolate South Africa culturally were very important” because they reinforced the country’s exclusion from the global community, says Ottilia Maunganidze, head of special projects at the Institute for Security Studies, a South African think tank.

Fast forward 45 years and activists are using the same arsenal of tools to try to isolate Israel, she says.

The calls for Ms. Mswane to boycott Miss Universe started almost as soon as the crown was placed on her head in mid-October. Activists staged a protest at the Miss South Africa offices in Johannesburg, and the hashtag #NotMyMissSA began trending on social media. Its supporters, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, called on the beauty queen to draw parallels between Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and the dispossession and violence committed against Black South Africans under apartheid.

“We must persist in isolating Apartheid Israel in the same way that we isolated Apartheid South Africa,” wrote Mr. Mandela on Instagram.

For many former anti-apartheid activists, including those now in government here, the question of Israel and Palestine is a particularly evocative one because it calls up vivid memories of their own history.

“The first time I set foot in Palestine, it was like setting foot into the world I grew up in,” says Ms. Mahlangu-Masango, who was raised during the dying years of apartheid in the 1970s and ‘80s. “I really cannot understand a South African who chooses to forget the history of where we come from.”

For supporters of Ms. Mswane, however, the anger at her misses the mark.

“Lalela will be a role model to young women – not just across the country, but across the African continent,” wrote Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa organization, in a statement on Instagram. “Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted.” Ms. Mswane herself has not spoken publicly about the controversy over her competition.

Meanwhile, former Greek delegate Rafaela Plastira announced on social media in November that she would boycott the competition in support of Palestinians. (Several days later, the organization in charge of Miss Greece distanced themselves from Ms. Plastira and stated that she was not their delegate.)

“Humanity ABOVE beauty pageants!” she wrote in an Instagram post. Greece is sending Sofia Arapogianni to Israel as the country’s delegate.

Content courtesy of CS Monitor & NFH Digital Team 

Roshanara Ebrahim Crowned Miss Universe Kenya 2021

Miss Universe Kenya organization held the 2021 edition finals yesterday night where contestants from all over the country competed for the national crown and at the end of the event finale, Roshanara Ebrahim was crowned the new queen.

Roshanara is 28 years of age and an author, Kenyan television personality, and international model. Not new to the pageantry, Roshanara is former Miss World Kenya 2016 but was stripped of her title following a series of controversies. The stunning beauty began her career as a model at the age of 6. As a professional, she is also a Quantum healing and hypnosis practitioner and meditation instructor.

“My name is Roshanara Ebrahim and the most unique thing about me is my linguistic eloquence, my intention to spread positivity everywhere I go, and my deep and intimate love for humanity”, she started off in the short clip that was shared by Miss Universe Kenya.

“My expectation for Miss Universe is to spread positive change everywhere I go and to make women understand that women have a voice to exercise the full potential of our passions and inspirations”,

Roshanara has become the first Kenyan pageant queen to have won both the Miss World Kenya and Miss Universe Kenya contests. Adding to a list of her achievements, Roshanara is the author of the book Beyond The Darkness – The strategic guide to the new earth. It is based on spirituality, self-help, and a happiness guide that elaborates on deep esoteric concepts with a touch of her life experiences.

The contestants who competed at Miss Universe Kenya 2021 were Roshanara Ebrahim, Deborah Asiko, Maymuna Abdi, Maren Clera, Esther Ochieng, Olivia Njoroge, Charity Wijass, Sheila Agola, Doreen Akinyi, Paskaline Jebet.

“When I win the global pageant, I will uplift and empower my sisters, the ones we have been on this journey with, and together as a team we will inspire women in leadership and take up space in the digital era”.

“I hope to be a global ambassador to the causes close to my heart and leave this world better than I found it. This is my legacy as Miss Universe”,

Roshanara will represent the country at the 70th global Miss Universe competition in Israel in December.

In 2016, Roshanara was stripped of her title as Miss World Kenya after it was cited that there was a breach of code of conduct and contract after details of her personal life emerged online causing a stir. Evelyn Njambi went on to become her successor as Miss World Kenya 2016.

Content courtesy of NFH Digital Team 

Miss Universe South Africa 2020 Natasha Joubert Empowers Fashion Designers

Miss Universe South Africa 2020, Natasha Joubert, has launched #DestinyDesigned, a project to empower fashion designers through her passion for entrepreneurship and design.

Joubert is a fashion designer who owns a clothing company named Natalia Jefferys that she runs with her mother.

#DestinyDesigned is her Miss Universe social cause initiative, whereby South African designers are invited to submit more information on their design label and explain how their business has been affected by Covid-19.

Ten designers will be tasked to make two garments each and have them modeled by former Miss South Africa titleholders and finalists, as well as special guest models, in a virtual fundraiser fashion show that will take place on April 10.

Joubert’s brand will also be part of the show.

After the show, all the garments will be auctioned off online, and proceeds will be given to the designers.

Speaking about the project, Jourbet said: “I am passionate about entrepreneurship. I started my own company in 2016 as circumstances placed me in a position where I needed to become self-sufficient. I was also modeling, and I started making my garments as I couldn’t afford to buy an extensive wardrobe.”

She added: “Young girls started to admire my handmade garments and asked if I could start making outfits for them as well, and Natalia Jefferys was born! I now want to help other designers on their journey. #DestinyDesigned aims to empower fellow South African designers by showcasing their fashion in a virtual space while using the Miss Universe South Africa platform.”

Entries for #DestinyDesigned are now open and close on February 22. Send an email to natasha@misssa.co.za for more information

Miss Universe Sa Pays It, Forward

Joubert’s Miss Universe social cause initiative, #DestinyDesigned, aims to showcase these talented South African designers on a global platform and draw attention to South Africa’s talent in the fashion industry. It also aims to help designers that have been affected by the global pandemic.

How Does #destinydesigned Work?

  • The initiative invites South African designers to submit their design labels and explain how their business has been affected by COVID-19. The 10 selected entrants will then be asked to make two garments each.
  • The garments will then be modeled by former Miss South Africa titleholders and finalists, as well as special guest models, in a virtual fundraiser fashion show that is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 10.
  • The spectacular online runway show will also feature Natalia Jefferys‘ garments from Joubert’s couture store.

Global Audience

The online show will be available to audiences around the globe who will be able to tune into the show. Viewers will pay a minimal subscription fee on misssa.live to watch the show, with all funds and proceeds from the show going to the 10 designers featured.

The designers’ garments will be auctioned off online with the proceeds from each item sold going to the respective designers and viewers will have the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition custom-designed T-shirt in aid of the project.

Miss Universe delegates from other countries will also be encouraged to participate.

Joubert told IOL that she is passionate about entrepreneurship and she started her own company in 2016 to become self-sufficient. She said she began making her own garments while she was modeling as she couldn’t afford to buy an extensive wardrobe.

 “Young girls started to admire my handmade garments and asked if I could start making outfits for them as well, and Natalia Jefferys was born!” she said.


Virtual Fashion Space

Joubert now wants to help other designers on their journey by empowering fellow South African designers through showcasing their fashion in a virtual space while using the Miss Universe South Africa platform.

Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation, is delighted that the organisation can showcase South Africa’s rich design talent on a worldwide platform while also helping South African design talent on their own entrepreneurial journey.

“It is imperative now, more than ever, for us to support local fashion designers.”

Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation

The Miss Universe pageant is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2021, but no dates have been confirmed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Content courtesy of  The South African, IOL & Nairobi fashion hub


Miss South African Zozibini Tunzi Crowned Miss Universe 2019

Miss Universe 2019, the 68th Miss Universe pageant, was held on December 8, 2019 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States. Catriona Gray of the Philippines crowned her successor Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa by the end of the event. This is South Africa’s third win after their recent victory in 2017. This edition also saw the crowning of the first black woman winner since Leila Lopes was crowned in 2011.

Contestants from 90 countries and territories participated in this year’s competition. The pageant was hosted by Steve Harvey in his fifth consecutive year, with Olivia Culpo and Vanessa Lachey as backstage corespondents, and with a performance by Ally Brooke. The new Mouawad Power of Unity crown made its debut. Swe Zin Htet of Myanmar became the first openly lesbian contestant to compete for the Miss Universe title.

Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe Sunday night after excelling through rounds of swimsuit and evening gown struts, questions on social issues and one final chance to explain why she was the right choice.

“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me  with my kind of skin and my kind of hair was never considered to be beautiful,” she said in her last response. “I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.”

The two runners-up for the crown were Miss Mexico and Miss Puerto Rico.

“If you do not use your beauty for your life’s mission, it’s just an empty ornament,” Sofía Aragón, representing Mexico, said earlier in the competition.

Madison Anderson represented Puerto Rico.

“Being on the Miss Universe stage is not just a dream” Anderson said. “I believe that I found my mission. It’s a representation of dedication, resilience and perseverance. I do believe my mission is to show the world that magic happens when we refuse to give up because the universe always listens to a stubborn heart.”

And if you’re wondering, yes, there was another mix-up and Steve Harvey was involved in it. But it was nothing like the 2015 disaster when he called out the wrong winner.

Harvey hosted the pageant for the fifth time sporting a bedazzled green and gold suit jacket.

He was commenting on a costume from earlier in week and said Miss Philippines won the National Costume Contest. He was right, but the woman who came out on stage said she was Miss Malaysia.

“Y’all got to quit doing this to me,” he said.

The massive competition was hosted at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

It has already made history with Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet, who says she’s the first openly gay contestant.

Last year’s winner, Catriona Gray from the Philippines spoke during Sunday’s pageant, saying the past year has been “unforgettable, life-changing and purposeful.”

“We’re getting this amazing platform to voice the things we’re passionate about, the things we care about,” she said in a video. “I always had a voice, but Miss Universe allowed me to amplify it.”

Content courtesy of CNN