By Edward Tsumele, CITYLIFE/ARTS Editor
Attending the Miss South Africa Top 10 finalist announcement yesterday, an event that took place virtually ,was a further confirmation that the world is no longer the same as we have always known it, and will probably remain like this for the foreseeable future.
To start with, the fact that the announcement of this event could not be attended in the physical is the most glaring change in how business is conducted during these Covid-19 uncertain times. The other thing that was also unsual, that is with regard to the pre-Covid-19, period was the fact that all the beautiful 10 women were so masked, making it difficult for one to even imagine attending a beauty pageant event where looks should be everything. But then all the young women were covered from nose to mouth. Now beauty pageants are as much about the display of intelligence as far as answering questions is concerned, as they are about physical, as far as the looks are concerned. But because of Covid-19, we could not see completely how those obviously beautiful women look.
However the answers to some of the intelligent questions asked by the media during the event just demonstrated that these young women are at another level when it comes to intelligence.
I was personally particularly impressed by Zimi Mabunzi one of the two contestants from the Eastern Cape to make it to the Top 10.
Not only were her answers well thought out, articulately delivered, but they were also confidently answered, making her a strong candidate to snatch this title this year. I was alsoi not surprised when it was revealed at the event that in fact the young woman was also the winner of the People’s vote.
However, having said that, it is still early to say who will be crowned Miss South Africa as things could still change as the Top 10 judges – all former Miss South Africa title holders – were Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala (2010), Liesl Laurie (2015), Melinda Bam (2011) and Tamaryn Green (2018). have to still look closely at these 10 young women before they make their pick. But as for me, Zimi is the girl, and I am only basing this on the way she conducted herself at the media conference, and absolutely has nothing to do with looks, as like I said, we could not fully have an idea of how these girls looked, thanks to Covid-19.
Anyway, this year’s Top 10 Miss South Africa finalists – one of whom will be crowned Miss South Africa 2021 on Saturday, October 16 live from Grand West Arena in Cape Town are Bianca Bezuidenhout, Catherine Groenewald, Cheneil Hartzenberg, Jeanni Mulder, Kaylan Matthews, Kgothatso Dithebe, Lalela Mswane, Moratwe Masima, Tiffany Francis and Zimi Mabunzi.
For the second consecutive year, the pageant will take place in the Mother City and will be simulcast live on M-Net (DStv channel 101) and Mzansi Magic (DStv channel 161) at 17:00, as well as live-streamed on the My DStv App. International audiences can also tune in via the online platform at misssa.live.
The contestants represent four provinces – Gauteng has four (with one from Tshwane), followed by the Western Cape with three, the Eastern Cape with two and Kwa-Zulu Natal with one entrant. They are an impressive group and include a medical doctor working on the Covid frontline; a commercial pilot; owners of a model agency, swimwear company and an online bakery and legal graduates and students.
The Top 3 will go on to represent the country at the world’s three most prestigious pageants: Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss Supranational.
All 10 were honoured to be named finalists:
Zimi Mabunzi, from eQonce (King William’s Town) who was also the winner of the People’s vote, reflected: “There is a short video of a little girl, wishing me well on my Miss South Africa journey. I did not know this little girl before her mother found my number and sent it to me. Apparently, she really loves Miss South Africa and was so excited to hear that someone from her town was in the Top 30. It’s so fulfilling knowing that my leap of faith has already had an impact on another young woman.”
Says Cape Town’s Jeanni Mulder: “I want to show South Africans my voice, my story and what I stand for. I am ready to talk about a big problem that South Africa is facing and Miss South Africa will give me the platform to implement change. So follow my journey to see what that will be!”
Bianca Bezuidenhout, from Cape Town, explains what the pageant means to her: “Miss South Africa is not just a once-off event; we are all part of a powerful platform where we can inspire, educate and use it as a launch pad for much needed social change.”
Johannesburg’s Cheneil Hartzenberg tells what she wants to support: “I am passionate about ensuring that the basic needs of the children in South Africa are met. I will support programmes ensuring that children are fed before, during and after school.”
Kgothatso Dithebe from Tshwane reveals that she visited her grandmother’s grave when she made Top 10 (she was also in the Top 10 in 2019): “I want to enjoy this because I will never re-live this moment again. I am looking forward to the public hearing my voice and my purpose.”
Her views were echoed by Cape Town’s Catherine Groenewald: “It is now my third time entering and I have finally made it to the Top 10. I hope that this serves as a reminder that you really are capable of anything. A destiny delayed is not a destiny denied.”
Says Sandton’s Dr Moratwe Masima: “I wasn’t expecting it because all the women in the Top 30 were absolutely amazing. When I heard I had made it to Top 10, I had just finished a 24-hour shift at the hospital. I felt a lot of emotions all at once mainly because I had a rough night at work but also so grateful that all my hard work was being recognised.”
Kaylan Matthews of Gqeberha recounts a funny moment during the Top 30 journey: “I had a radio interview and was asked where I attended school. For some odd reason I forgot the name of my primary school and gave a completely different school without realising it. I’m sure I left many of my primary school classmates confused if they had tuned in!”
Lalela Mswane of KwaSokhuluin, KZN reveals what the Miss South Africa journey has taught her: “Firstly, that I possess more courage than I ever give myself credit for in being courageous enough to pursue this dream and opening myself up to public scrutiny. Secondly, I’ve learnt that I’m capable of achieving anything I set my mind and heart to and lastly, I’ve learnt that I can handle high pressure situations quite well.”
Tiffany Francis, from Johannesburg reveals the hardest question for her during the judging process: “‘Who is your favourite brother?’ – was the question I found impossible to answer … my siblings have taught me the value of relationships!”
Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “This is an incredibly strong group of amazing and inspirational women. We look forward to watching them grow over the next few months and showcasing their platforms to the rest of the country.”
“Congratulations to all the Top 10 finalists. We are proud of these ladies for making it this far into the competition. We celebrate their strength, goals and visions, for what they want to accomplish, and the change they want to bring into society. We are proud to be associated with Miss South Africa and to be broadcasting the live event once again,’’ Nomsa Philiso, the Director of Local Entertainment Channels at M-Net adds.
“It is a real privilege for us to be welcoming Miss South Africa back to Cape Town after hosting the 62nd edition last year. Miss South Africa is an iconic South African event which has over the years made the dreams of many young women a reality and helped them to draw attention to important issues in our society. The City of Cape Town is proud to partner with Miss SA and we believe it could assist in kick starting the economy again and reinvigorating the tourism sector,” said Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato.
CITYLIFE/ARTS congratulates all the 10 contestants for having made it to this far in the contest..