Meet the 12 Miss SA contestants

Miss_SA_finalists_Pic_by_Debbie_Yazbek.jpg

Tonight is the night we’ll find out who will be the next Miss South Africa. The pageant will go live on Mzansi Magic, channel 161 on DStv at 17:30. Mi Casa, Matthew Mole and Bucie will all be performing on stage. All while the necessary evils ie the judges will be deliberating. The panel is made up of Anele Mdoda, Kojo Baffoe, Bonang Matheba, Amy Kleinhans-Curd and Pnina Fenster. I have no idea who will win, obviously, but I’m out in Sun City and will be keeping you posted on this year’s Miss SA pageant. In case you missed it, here are the twelve finalists all vying for the Miss South Africa title tonight:

ABIGAIL DE JAGER – WEST ACRES, NELSPRUIT, MPUMALANGA
Name: Abigail de Jager
Region: West Acres, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga
Age: 19
Occupation: Student, studying B Comm Business Management at Stellenbosch University. I finished first year in 2013. My goal in obtaining this qualification is to equip and prepare myself for entering the business world one day. I believe that the university experience truly shapes one, especially when studying so far from home. It teaches me how to be independent; it’s remarkable how I’ve grown in the last year.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? I learnt how to be more patient with people in times where things weren’t always going according to how you would like it to be and in situations where the people you are working or competing with have different opinions and ways of doing things. The second lesson links up with the first and that is learning how to work with people and accommodate others.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? It was when we got to touch an elephant just before our safari make-up challenge. I’ve had an urge to come in contact with this incredible animal for quite a while now, so I felt incredibly privileged and blessed.  The main highlight, though, was meeting all these incredible people that we were privileged to work with, starting with the other contestants. The friendships I have formed have made my experience incredible.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I would like the opportunity to reach out to others who aren’t as lucky to have such a blessed life. I would love to be a blessing to an even larger group of people. I would be able to bring my personality and sense of humour, as my name means Father’s Joy, to the role. I love to laugh and believe that a day without laughter is a wasted day.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Jo-Ann Strauss. She has managed to “keep up appearances”, if one can put it that way. She didn’t just fade after her year of reign; she managed to create a career afterwards, where she continues to help and inspire others. I feel that you shouldn’t just have a year’s reign and then it’s all over.
Who are your role models? Malala Yousafzai, she is known for her activism for rights to education for women. The Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Malala, at the age of 11–12, wrote a blog under a false name for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, as well as her views on promoting education for girls. She was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu. On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. Even though she was attacked for what she believes in, she kept on fighting for what she was passionate about.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My mother is a teacher at the high school we attended, Hoërskool Nelspruit. She is strict, but has a great sense of humour as well.
My father is a civil engineer at Lidwala; he is serious but has a very warm and kind heart. I’ve got two sisters; Charlotte (20) studying BSc Consumer Science at Potchefstroom. We are extremely close and I consider her as one of my best friends.
Liezl (16), my younger sister, is very sporty and energetic. I have a very open relationship with my parents and am very close with both of them. I also have an extremely supportive and loving family in Cape Town, consisting of my two uncles (and aunts) as well as my three cousins. My family is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest treasures in my life!
What do you do in your spare time? Walking and hiking are definitely my favourite pastimes. I’m starting to read again, now that I’m on holiday and have more time.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? I’m a freedom baby, so I am lucky to have skipped the whole apartheid period. Democracy means to respect others and their abilities or disabilities, not to exclude or belittle anyone for not fitting the mould. Democracy means to accept everyone for what they have to offer and embrace and use it, instead of shooting it down.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? That they should stay true to who they are and what they believe in. I am a strong believer that people should not compromise their values in order to fit in with their surroundings or be accepted.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Beyoncé, I love her! I’ve watched a few of her live DVDs and she just has an absolute passion for what she does. She lives and breathes what she does; I would like to feel the same about what I do one day.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I won a hoola-hoop competition in primary school.  I’ve stayed in six towns (including Cape Town) over the last 19 years. I like to eat odd food concoctions, like peanut butter with carrot.
What are you reading? How Could He Do It? It’s about a father that sexually assaulted his daughter for five years.  I’m a real fan of Jodi Picoult.
What is on your iPod? Bastille and Mumford & Sons.
Your favourite TV show? Cougar Town.
Your favourite meal? Broccoli.
Hashtag: #MissSAabigail
Twitter handle: @Abigail_dj (https://twitter.com/Abigail_dj)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Abigail-de-Jager/619794098055927
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Abigail de Jager

ANZÉL STOFBERG – STELLENBOSCH, WESTERN CAPE
Name: Anzél Stofberg
Region: Stellenbosch, Western Cape
Age: 22
Occupation:  I completed my B. Accounting Degree at Stellenbosch University last year. This year I continued studying to improve my marks and have been accepted into the B. Accounting Honours programme for 2014.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: Miss Interschool’s at Paarl Gymnasium and Miss Sonop at varsity.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? Magic happens outside of your comfort zone. I learned that by taking chances in life, you develop as a person. If you want to grow as a person and be a better you, say yes to risks!
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? The highlights of our Sun City stay are endless. It was probably the most challenging and most rewarding week of my life.
Two challenges stood out for me. The Cinderella challenge made me feel as if I were part of my own fairy tale. My favourite challenge was a photo shoot with a vulture. We had no idea what the challenge would entail, but when I saw the beautiful bird I was in awe. It was so special to interact with the vulture and really getting in contact with nature – African style!
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I am a strong and driven woman. I empower others to believe that they are worthy and to believe in themselves and I know this is what our country needs. I have a love for South Africa and I know that our people have world-changing capabilities. I want to be part of and contribute to such a process of change.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Jo-Ann Strauss, I had the privilege of meeting her in her year of reign, and the way she treated me as a young girl, with respect and acknowledgement, made a huge impact on me.
Who are your role models? Mamphela Ramphele. She is a brilliant woman who has achieved success, has a strong character and determination. She is open minded and has a strong vision for our country.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My family is my everything! My parents got divorced when I was six years old. Both got married again while I was still in school. I am the youngest of four children. I have a sister, she is the eldest, and has been living in London for the past 10 years. My oldest brother, 29, is an engineer and works in Johannesburg. They are expecting a little girl and she will be the first grandchild in our family. My youngest brother, 26, lives in South Korea with his wife and they teach English in primary schools. I am the youngest daughter and feel privileged to have siblings older than me to look up to and also have as best friends. With my parents having married again, we are a total of 10 people.
What do you do in your spare time? I am a sports fanatic and train every day. I run, swim, cycle, go to gym and hike. I run half marathons and do triathlons. I love painting and renovating old furniture.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? A country where every citizen can feel free and be free. Celebrating 20 years of democracy is a real achievement and I am very excited about our bright future.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? “Words have no power. You give words power if you let it affect you.” I want to empower woman to believe in themselves.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I competed in the Ironman 70.3 in January.
What are you reading? The Kite Runner.
What is on your iPod? Loads of music!
Your favourite TV show? Suits
Your favourite meal? Definitely sushi, particularly salmon roses.
Hashtag: @Anzel_Stofberg (https://twitter.com/Anzel_Stofberg)
Twitter handle: @Anzel_Stofberg (https://twitter.com/Anzel_Stofberg)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Anzel-Stofberg/1433820690182225
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Anzel Stofberg


CAYLENE MARAIS – ROODEKRANS, ROODEPOORT, GAUTENG
Name: Caylene Marais
Region: Roodekrans, Roodepoort, Gauteng
Age: 23
Occupation: I have just completed my BA Languages degree in English, majoring in copywriting and editing at the University of Pretoria. I started this degree with a passion for language and writing, only to find that editing is where my talent really lies. Other than that, I have internationally recognised master’s qualifications in neuro-linguistic programming, hypnotherapy and timeline therapy. Combining these two elements has placed me at the head of communications for the World Shakers History Makers organisation.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? Each challenge seemed to confront some sort of barrier in my personality and forced me to break through each of these. Questions that I had been struggling with for the past few months regarding who I am and what I stand for were all answered during these challenges. I don’t know if these challenges were created to test specific aspects of who we believe we are, but for me they certainly did and I have grown immensely in my self-belief since then. Most importantly, I have learned that I am all I need, I am the problem and I am the solution – if it’s to be it’s up to me.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay: One thing that stands out, which I learnt from my fellow finalists is that laughter makes a long day pass that much quicker. No matter how exhausted you are, if you can bring a smile to someone’s face it’ll go a long way for all parties involved. I’ve also had a very important lesson verified – people will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel, so treat people well.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: I am an avid pageant “poppie” as they say. I have won several, my most recent being Miss Million Dollar 2012 and Miss Rivonia 2013.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? My life has changed drastically over the past two or three years. Through my NLP and metaphysical studies, and having qualified as a life coach, I have learnt many life lessons and principles in which I believe. If given a big enough platform, I could completely change society. Many of our youth have the basics to survive, and there are many charities that provide these basics, but so many neglect to acknowledge that emotional starvation is more severe than anything else. Above that, people need not only receive food, water, and shelter, but they also need an opportunity to grow and change their environment. As Miss SA, my goal is to empower South Africans with the emotional, spiritual, and mental tools to enable them to rise above their circumstances and grow into successful citizens and content human beings.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? I don’t have one particular favourite – I admire each of them for the role they have played in our country.
Who are your role models? I am fortunate enough to have met several of the most inspirational people not only in South Africa, but the world. I constantly seek inspiration and because of this, I have learned that there is not one single person that completely embodies all the traits that inspire me. I value everyone that crosses my path for their contribution to my learning.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I believe that in any family, if you had to put all the members in a blender and blend them together you would end up with a perfectly neutral concoction. You all end up balancing each other’s different (and sometimes opposite), personalities. This is certainly the case in my family with my mom, dad and younger brother.
What do you do in your spare time? I enjoy being outdoors whenever possible; any outdoor activities top my list, specifically camping, hiking, and horse-riding. I am a gym fanatic. Fitness is very important to me so I make sure that I make time for training too.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? I was raised in a household where colour was never acknowledged. People were not black or white, people were people, and they were all to be treated with equal respect and dignity. The celebration of our 20th year of democracy, to me, is simply the celebration of the formalisation of what I was always taught to believe. The only difference now, is that those marginalised South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to exercise that belief both publically and politically.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? You are everything you need! You are the solution!
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? I would love the opportunity to have a conversation with Patrice Motsepe. I don’t believe that our generation is aware of the massive contribution he has made, and continues to make, to our country.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I find that because of my history in pageants, and the stereotypes that are associated with pageant girls, people find it surprising that I have a brain and (on occasion), a personality! Also, I have represented my province in judo, water polo and horse-riding. Lastly, I am not double, but triple-jointed.
What are you reading? Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (only because I have to).
What is on your iPod? The only time I use my iPod is at gym, so the general theme of what comes out of those earphones is anything that might make my grandma cringe. It’s REALLY loud and REALLY packs a punch – because it has to get me pumped. A lot of dubstep and Skrillex.
Your favourite TV show? I wish I valued TV enough to say, but I don’t, and am thus still on season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy.
Your favourite meal? I think my vocation in life is to be a devoted foodie. I love food possibly more than I should admit. I try not to eat EVERYTHING I see but having a dad who is a chef makes dieting the most difficult thing to do. I’m definitely a fan of homely meals so a good old braai tops my list.
Hashtag: @caylene_marais (https://twitter.com/caylene_marais)
Twitter handle: @caylene_marais (https://twitter.com/caylene_marais)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Caylene-Marais/686050468082277
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Caylene Marais

DIPALESA MBOLA – BLOEMFONTEIN, FREE STATE
Name: Dipalesa Mbola
Region: Phase 3, Bloemfontein, Free State
Age: 22
Occupation: I am a student doing Honours in Business Management. I graduated with a B Comm marketing degree. I am also a lecturer’s assistant in the business management department. I help with marking test scripts and assignments.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: I started doing pageants at the age of seven. I have been crowned Miss Phase 3 (where I live), Miss Valentine, Miss Tiger football club and Miss Atlehang (my high school). I was crowned first princess for Miss Matric and this is where I received a valuable lesson from my class teacher. He told me that I had participated and won numerous beauty pageants and it had gone to my head, He said that with every new pageant, I should treat it as my first and that I should always work harder than the previous times. I must bear in mind that stars are born every day and if I didn’t continue to hone my craft, someone else would take the spot. I took his advice to heart and I was crowned Miss Lekoko (local radio station), and Miss Mamelodi Sundowns FS (where I was placed in the top 5 at the national level in Gauteng) and Miss Orlando Pirates BFN.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? I have learned about the importance of dedicating yourself to your dream and working each and every day to achieve it. I learned the importance of time management, the schedule involved so many people and in order for the targets to be reached for each day, each person had to commit to getting to a specified destination at a specified time or else everything was going to have to bed pushed back and I am really proud of myself for committing to that and making sure that I was on time because time management had always been one of my biggest issues. I learned about the importance of letting go and letting others help.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? I enjoyed waking up early after having a late night and getting to the reception area and watching the girls arrive on time. We would all be so tired from the previous night but there would be a great sense of appreciation for the position we were in and we were looking forward to the day’s events. It was very special to see how everyone was so passionate about their field of work, the production crew, the makeup artists, the hairdressers, and the stylist. They made me feel blessed as if I was with my own family. My second highlight was definitely seeing presenter Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp and having her tell us about the challenge. It was always in a riddle and trying to figure out what she meant was always hilarious because we would all come up with our different theories.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I believe I can use the bigger platform to change lives. I feel that I have really spread my wings in my province and have touched lives and created a name for myself in my own small and unique way. I want to be Miss South Africa because I have what it takes. I am a loving person, I love helping people, I am passionate about youth development, I can relate to many people, I am approachable, I am a great listener, but above all, I have a great story to tell.  I can inspire others.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? I believe all the Miss SA’s that have been crowned are amazing women, and I’d be honoured if my name would be put up with the rest of them as Miss South Africa 2014. However, I would choose Joan Ramagoshi. She is very assertive, she can make decisions, she can be tough and at the same time she is very warm and loving.
Who are your role models? My late mom; she was a wonderful and humble soul. She raised me by herself after my father passed away and life was wonderful for me. I always knew that we were not rich, she worked as a domestic worker but there is not one moment growing up where I felt that I was poor. She carried the world on her shoulders and was always grateful for what she had.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My mother and father are both deceased. My father worked as a truck driver, he passed away in 1997 and my mother worked as a domestic worker and she passed away in February this year. I have a half-sister from my father’s side.
What do you do in your spare time? I do love spending quality time with friends. I love modelling, I love doing hair for friends as well as make up.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? It means that we have made progress. We should celebrate the present and the future and not dwell on the past. I am not saying it should be forgotten, but I what I am saying is that we can look back and look at where we are today and really rejoice in how far our country has come from where it was.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Do not be afraid! The world is one big pie and you deserve your piece, do not be afraid to get it, and do not be ashamed to want it. You are worth more than you think.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am a breadwinner in my house.
What are you reading? From Jesus with Love
What is on your iPod? Beyoncé, Hillsong, Toni Braxton, John Legend and many more.
Your favourite TV show? Ellen DeGeneres, America’s Next Top Model, Top Billing, V- Entertainment.
Your favourite meal? Ribs.
Hashtag: #MissSAdipalesa
Twitter handle: @DipalesaMbola (https://twitter.com/DipalesaMbola)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Dipasela-Mbola/714217215258045
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Dipalesa Mbola

JADE HÜBNER – BERGVLIET, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE
Name: Jade Hübner
Region: Bergvliet, Cape Town, Western Cape
Age: 21
Occupation: I am a student at UCT, studying Business Science Marketing.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? I need to work on not letting my nerves affect my performance. I learnt that if I put my mind to something, I can do it. Never in my life did I think I would have enough willpower to hold a live cockroach.  I soon realised that it is not all about winning or being the best but about how you do things and deal with situations.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? The food was absolutely delicious; I came home quite a few kilograms heavier. I had a couple of laughs about that. The biggest highlight for me was the people. Absolutely everyone I met, including everyone I worked with, was amazing and touched my life in an unbelievable way. They were all such beautiful people and I feel as though every single one had an incredible impact on my life. I learnt something from everyone.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role I truly believe in what Miss SA stands for. I am an extremely passionate person and I feel, if given this opportunity, I would put my heart and soul into it and be able to accomplish a lot during my reign.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Jo-Ann Strauss because she has turned herself into a brand and in doing so has brought great publicity and honour to the Miss SA Pageant. She continues to inspire many young girls and woman to respect themselves and to be ambitious. She is a successful business woman but also gives of her time, thanks to her charity work.
Who are your role models? I know this is the most corny and common answer but it really is my mom. She is kind, gentle and moral. She is incredibly independent and I admire her.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My mom is in IT programming, my dad is in marketing and advertising and my brother is still in high school but is already studying to be a chef. My family is very outgoing, loves the outdoors and we are all crazy about dogs. My parents are divorced but both our families are still super tight as if nothing has changed; the only difference is that my parents don’t live together.
What do you do in your spare time? I love dancing, ballet, modern and salsa. I sing, act and play the guitar and I was the lead in many musicals while growing up. I sing in my church band, love water polo (I played for Western Province for two years), swimming, surfing and wake boarding. I love boxing (I did martial arts for five years). I love playing all sports and doing extreme sports such as skydiving, abseiling and kloofing.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? Freedom! Twenty years isn’t a long time and the majority of people today would have experienced the time before there was democracy. Although it is cause for celebration it must also bring back painful memories for many people.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? When you look back, you want to be proud of the woman you were and are. You don’t want to have regrets on how you treated other people and things you did that ruined your reputation. So try to always be a better person, be someone who treats others with kindness and respect, someone that people will speak well of.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I had five percent vision so at the age of 20, I saved up and paid for Lasik surgery myself and now I have a 100 percent vision.
What are you reading? The Message
What is on your iPod? Nickelback and the rest doesn’t matter.
Your favourite TV show? The Mentalist
Your favourite meal? Pasta and sushi
Anything else you would like to add? I approached UCT and started the first UCT cheerleading side. I choreographed, captained it and designed the outfits.
Hashtag: #MissSAjade
Twitter handle: @jadehubner (https://twitter.com/jadehubner)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Jade-Hubner/1385647198360420
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Jade Hubner

JULIA PETERSEN – GREENWOOD PARK, DURBAN, KWA-ZULU NATAL
Name: Julia Petersen
Region: Greenwood Park, Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Age: 22
Occupation: I have a degree in management and communications from the University of KZN Howard College in Durban.  At the moment I am a professional model at Models International in Durban.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: In 2008 I was a top 12 finalist in the Miss SA Teen pageant. I won the pageant title Miss Four Seasons in 2011.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? Never underestimate yourself and no matter what obstacles you face, if you believe in yourself you can achieve it. Most of the tasks were challenging for me but I overcame them with a positive attitude. These challenges have also taught me to focus on my strengths more and realise that with continuous self-improvement I will see growth in areas I once thought impossible.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? Waking up every morning and getting our hair and makeup done. I really felt like royalty. Being able to participate in the challenges was absolute fun and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Most of the challenges were similar to those in America’s Next Top Model TV show. To be involved with something like that is awesome.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I have great leadership skills that will ensure I will be a successful leader and ambassador for our country. I am driven, dedicated, passionate and humble and I am compassionate towards people. I have a strong passion to empower young women. I have been through the same challenges growing up as young women are facing today, such as low self-esteem and a lack of identity, and I believe I can use my testimony to empower them to become confident and secure in who they are. I feel I can motivate them to realise their purpose and help release the great potential hidden inside each and every one of them.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? There are two – Melinda Bam and Marilyn Ramos. The reason being is that both of them are beautiful but they have that inward beauty that shines from within and radiates on the outside. They are also hard-working and focused.
Who are your role models? Tyra Banks and Adriana Lima. I look up to Tyra Banks because not only is she one of the top supermodels in the world but she uses her platform to encourage and empower young girls and women. She sends out the message that there is no one definition of beauty and that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes.  Adriana Lima is a gorgeous Victoria’s Secret model and what I admire about her is that she remained a virgin until the age of 27 when she got married.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My dad is Shaun Petersen. He is a full-time technical consultant but after hours he is a drummer. My mother Katherine is a practice manager at an orthodontic practice. My sister Carla is 20 years old. She is studying towards a BSc in Environmental Science.
What do you do in your spare time? When I’m not modelling and doing fashion shows and shoots, you will find me on the beach jogging or at the pool swimming on a hot summer’s day. I love exercising and keeping fit. It has become a part of my lifestyle. I also enjoy reading motivational books to feel encouraged and uplifted. I love watching Bollywood movies.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? This is a huge celebration for our country as we are celebrating democracy in which we are all working towards a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society and country. By this celebration we are also not forgetting the patriots that have sacrificed their lives to make this possible and to celebrate the journey of how far our country has come.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Never give up on your dreams. Know your worth and never settle for anything less but the best. Remove negative people in your life that are holding you back from moving forward and achieving your goals and dreams. As young girls you shouldn’t conform to the world but realise it’s important to stay true to who you are.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am terrified of the dark and used to sleep with my sister in her room. This year I started to sleep in my own bed room, on my own, without the light on!
What are you reading? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. What is on your iPod? Coldplay and Linken Park.
Your favourite TV show? America’s Next Top Model.
Your favourite meal? I love hot, spicy Indian food. I would say a hot mutton bunny and a cold glass of coke would be a perfect combination.
Hashtag: #MissSAjulia
Twitter handle: @JuliaEstelleP (https://twitter.com/JuliaEstelleP)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Julia-Petersen/521601447961325
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Julia Peterson

MATLALA MOKOKO – JOHANNESBURG AND GA-MASEMOLA, MAROGWE IN LIMPOPO

Name: Matlala Mokoko
Region: Currently resident in Johannesburg but grew up in Ga-Masemola, Marogwe in Limpopo
Age: 23
Occupation: I am a student at the University of Johannesburg doing B Comm Accounting. I plan on obtaining my degree by the end of this year and doing my Honours in Financial Management.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? The first is to know yourself, when it is enough and when you must do better. Another is that you must welcome the challenges in your life, embrace them and grow from them. I also learnt that how far you think you’ve pushed yourself is only the beginning, you can always do more.  Hard work comes as a standard in my life, so the daily pressures reinforced the notion that I can do more. It reminded me to live a life of passion and to immerse myself in it.  I also realised that beauty is not enough. One needs to be a hardworking individual.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? It was meeting the children at the orphanage. It took me back to my childhood memories of being a kid in the village. The games we played, the friends I had.  All the girls are now friends of mine because we all went through the same things and that cemented a strong bond between us all.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? To motivate and inspire, especially young people. It is crucial for them to start young in exploring the opportunities given to them. They must always be mindful that as young people, the world has many doors that we have keys to which we can open.  Challenges must not deter us and through commitment, dedication and a persistent focus we can reach our destiny. No matter where you come from, be it the rural areas such as me, or the city, success is attainable.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Basetsana Khumalo as she has strived to be a renowned business woman and has not only let her title see her through but the essence of who she is and her substance has seen her furthering herself beyond the title.
Who are your role models? I have a few role models in my life. They range from my friends to my parents to Khanyi Dlhomo. Each of these people poses characteristics to which I admire.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I am blessed to still have both my mother and father, happily married. My mother is a government administrator; my father is the principal of a school. I have two sisters and a brother.
What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I coach netball, I tutor, and I also model. Most dear to my heart is playing netball for the first team of the University of Johannesburg and I have both my provincial and national colours for netball.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? It means sustained conviction that things had to change from what and how they were. This includes education, opportunities and service delivery.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Have confidence in your abilities and explore every opportunity that comes your way, while I’d like to encourage others, both younger people and older, to do so through positive motivation.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Former President, Thabo Mbeki. There is something about him that leads me to believe that I could learn a great deal from him. Other than the obvious, that he was the president of the country for good reason, I feel that he could tell an incredible story and walk you through the past and give you wisdom for the future.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Weird food. As soon as I get home, I open the fridge and dive into a bowl of Mopani worms. I enjoy mogodu/tripe, chicken heads and feet.
What are you reading? The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
What is on your iPod? Everything
Your favourite TV show? I am a reality TV junkie.
Your favourite meal? Pap and spicy Mogodu, courtesy of my mother. She is a brilliant cook.
Hashtag: #MissSAmatlala
Twitter handle: @matlalamokoko (https://twitter.com/matlalamokoko)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Matlala-Mokoko/1404682486445914
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Matlala Mokoko

MISHKA PATEL – WESTERN CAPE
Name: Mishka Patel
Region: Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Western Cape
Age: 21
Occupation: I have studied business management through Unisa and also want to do a tourism course. I love travelling and learning about new and undiscovered places. I am also a model at D&A Model Management and am a part time promoter.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? Hard work, determination and perseverance pay off. There were times that many of us felt like crying and giving up but we didn’t. Giving up wasn’t an option. We were stronger than we realised.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? The friendships I made. I met 11 incredible women, each with such amazing and inspiring stories. We’ve become a small family and each other’s support systems.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I have the motivation, ambition and confidence to become an inspirational ambassador to the youth of South Africa. I want to inspire people to start believing in themselves, to start living their dreams and to start fighting for what they want. I want to help the youth of South Africa by simply being an inspiring and positive figure they can look up to, not only as Miss South Africa, but as a friend. I want to spread the message: If you can dream it, you can do it. It simply starts with you.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Melinda Bam inspires me because not only is she incredibly beautiful and intelligent, but she does so many good things in the community.  Anybody can simply look up to her, not only the youth of South Africa. Her determination and motivation is so inspiring. In one of her interviews she said: “You have to have motivation, ambition and confidence to become an inspiring ambassador to South Africa and the youth of South Africa” and those exact words made me realise that I have what it takes, to follow my dreams, and enter for Miss South Africa.
Who are your role models? The person I look up to most in this world has to be my mom. Her hard work, love and support she’s given our family has truly inspired me to work hard and make her proud. The way she raised me and all her efforts has guided me into becoming the woman I am today. I strive to be the strong, confident and amazing woman she is. I will always be grateful to her for the 21 wonderful years she spent sculpting me into who I am today.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My dad’s name is Shu-ayb; he is a non-executive director serving on Boards of Directors of companies, the biggest being the SA Post Office Board. He is one of the hardest working, inspiring and loving dad’s any girl can ask for. My mother’s name is Shenaaz. She is 45 years old; she’s a home executive and has been for all of her life raising me and my 25 year old brother. We also had a new addition to the family two years ago, when the cutest, bright-eyed little angel was born, my baby sister, Sholah. My brother is an IT technician at Compuscan in Techno Park, Stellenbosch.
What do you do in your spare time? I love to read, I love the gym and the outdoors. I love hiking. Staying fit and exercising is very important to me. I like to be and feel healthy. Other than that I am a typical girly girl, who loves shopping and spending spare time with my family and friends.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? It means that what people thought would NEVER happen, has been happening for 20 years. It means that for 20 years, people of diverse race, colour and gender have had the right to be heard, to raise their voice and opinion and the right to be ‘free’.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Young girls/women today tend to forget that they can be ‘someone’ and that, in any circumstances, they can work for a better life. I see girls as young as 13 with babies and they simply just stop living after that. I want to remind young girls and young women that it doesn’t matter WHAT circumstances you face, what challenges you encounter or HOW hard things might feel at that moment – with the right determination and mind-set you can be whatever you want to be, and you can be who you are MEANT to be. Everybody can dream, But only some people live theirs. It’s all about determination.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Charlize Theron – I see her as an inspirational South African figure. She was born and bred here. And after facing terrible circumstances with her family, she rose above it, followed a dream and made it happen. Today she is an inspiring and successful woman that any young woman or women can look up to!
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am blind without my reading glasses and I am insanely scared of moths.
What are you reading? Veronica Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho. It’s an international bestseller. This book simply reminds us that every moment in our lives is special and precious.
What is on your iPod? I literally listen to all kinds of music. I love a good beat and music that makes me dance to it and music that makes me gym harder! Definitely music with lyrics that I can relate to as well.
Your favourite TV show? I don’t watch a lot of TV; I am more the series or movies kind of girl when I get the time. But when I do watch TV, I tend to always end up watching channel 170 or 171 on DSTV.  Dr G Medical Examiner is one of my favourites.  I find it interesting to learn new medical terms and see how an investigation proceeds, how the criminal is caught and how justice is served. The second TV show I like is MasterChef – I love food!
Your favourite meal? I love sushi or salmon with vegetables.
Anything else you would like to add? I am a hardworking, kind and warm hearted, girl-next-door kind of person. I love to help where I can; I am the biggest animal lover in the world. I have two cats and a dog but had all kinds of pets growing up – from fishes, rabbits, birds to hamsters too! I have the biggest love for life, and I tend to share this love with everyone I meet.
Hashtag: #MissSAmishka
Twitter handle: @MishkaPatel (https://twitter.com/MishkaPatel)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Mishka-Patel/243346755842526
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Mishka Patel

ROLENE STRAUSS BLOEMFONTEIN FREESTATE
Name: Rolene Strauss
Region: I’m currently living in Bloemfontein (Free State), but I’m originally from a small town called Volksrust in Mpumalanga.
Age: 21
Occupation: Medical student at the University of the Free State.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: Elite Model Look South Africa 2007; Miss Diaz 2010 and Miss Shimla Varsity Cup 2011.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? I found your attitude determines your experiences and your growth. Just like the runway challenge in the rain, life also has slippery and challenging moments. We should keep our eyes on the main goal, be fearless and go for gold. Even if it means that you might slip and fall you will inevitably end up stronger.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? I loved the photo shoot with Tim Hulme. It was the experience of a lifetime, if there was one creature I could be for a day, it would be an eagle. With this specific challenge I had the opportunity to share the lens with a beautiful black eagle. Also the fact that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with 11 amazing women strengthened the bond between us in such a way that we become very close, almost like sisters.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? When someone says “South Africa” I get goose bumps. I have this fire of passion burning inside of me for our country. The opportunities I have received have made me who I am today and I’ve realised that there is so much to give; to our country and our people. Miss South Africa is all about giving. One of the greatest gifts anyone can receive is the gift of a healthy life. With my passion for giving, people and health, I will be able to contribute to one of the most important things any country desires: health for all.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Jo-Anne Strauss. I remember meeting her as a nine-year-old girl in my hometown, Volksrust. She brought Miss SA to the people and is still making a change in the lives of others. She is the perfect example of a beautiful, strong woman who became Miss SA, went back to university, finished her studies and to this day is using all her opportunities since her crowning 13 years ago. I would love to be one of her successors.
Who are your role models? Professor Jonathan Jansen, the rector of the University of the Free State, is one the most outspoken, down-to-earth, passionate, people’s persons I’ve met. He is not afraid to stand for what he believes in, he loves what he does and gives of himself to his students. I can testify that he wants the best for his students and supports them in all they do. We can all learn from Prof Jansen. Love what you do, stay humble and let the light shine on others.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I was blessed with the most amazing and supportive family! My mom studied nursing and my dad medicine at the University of the Free State. He met my mom when she was working in the wards at Universitas Hospital and started charming her.  Like a fairy tale, they fell in love, got married and eventually wanted to start a family. After five long years (and most of their savings), I popped out of a test tube. A year after my birth my brother was, as my mom says, “sent from heaven”. We are a very close family and support each other in everything we do. My brother and I grew up in Volksrust. He is a third year Quantity Surveying student at Kovsies as well and plays rugby for the u/21 Griquas team. My dad (from whom I’ve learnt to have a passion for people) is practicing medicine and my beautiful mom is a house wife in Volksrust, Mpumalanga.
What do you do in your spare time? My mom used to tell me that the more you do, the more you get done. I’ve always been a very active person. I love playing golf, exercising, going to the movies in Bloem (probably because Volksrust doesn’t have a mall or movies), reading inspirational books and listening to educational audio books.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? It is another reminder of our rich cultural history, potential, power and diversity. We struggled through our obstacles, stood up after difficult times and gave hope to so many countries where equality is a struggle. This shows us that we are capable of great things and we are resilient.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? We as women have soft and sympathetic souls. We are the ones who give hope, love and comfort. Let us use those qualities.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe. She is a trained medical doctor and has a passion for health and giving through the Motsepe family foundation. She is also the chairperson of African Fashion International (AFI) where her dream is to take young people from townships and rural area, give them skills and show them what they can be. She is a true inspiration of what a hard working woman can achieve in South Africa.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I’m the University of the Free State’s first successful test tube baby.
What are you reading? Apart from my obstetrics and surgery handbooks, I like reading inspirational books. I’ve recently read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
What is on your iPod? Music is the one thing that can instantly create a certain vibe. I like listening to different music in different situations – golden oldies, country music, Bellamy Brothers, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Ben Howard, Jack Johnson, Mango Groove, Theuns Jordaan, Riana Nel, Retief Burger, Hillsong and Enya to study to.
Your favourite TV show? The time to watch and follow TV shows is rare, but when I get the chance I like watching Grey’s Anatomy and Bones.
Your favourite meal? My mom’s oxtail and stamp mielies. It may be because it makes me think of home and family time or simply because it’s just so yummy!
Hashtag: #MissSArolene
Twitter handle: @RoleneStrauss (https://twitter.com/RoleneStrauss)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Rolene-Strauss/705464392811293
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Rolene Strauss

TIDIMALO SEHLAKO – VEREENIGING, GAUTENG
Name: Tidimalo Sehlako
Region: Vereeniging, Gauteng
Age: 22
Occupation: I recently completed my degree, which is a double major in journalism and marketing at Monash University.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? Dealing with the pressure and maintaining composure was by far the hardest lesson. Being in a competitive environment is also a test of character.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? The Sun City experience on its own was a highlight in my life. What stood out for me most was the dancing challenge. I love dancing. I have been dancing since I was eight, so when I hear a beat I just want to move.  I learnt from my fellow finalists that the beauty of life never ceases. To be surrounded by people who are gorgeous, have sound intellect and big hearts is overwhelming. Most people say you can’t have it all, but my fellow finalists have it all. I love them.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? For me Miss South Africa is more than just a platform to celebrate a woman’s beauty. It is a means to social change; I would like to build on the legacy that exists and use it to shape the quality of women from my generation and, most importantly, be an advocate for better education and educational infrastructure.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Basetsana Kumalo still stands out for me. She was crowned when I was three-years-old, growing up she was a household brand. She has relentless presence and she has carried the crown beyond her reigning year. She is a beauty pageant winner, TV personality, businesswoman, mother, wife and a philanthropist. For me, she is a super woman.
Who are your role models? My mother, Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelo. All these women resonate with me, they are true queens.
As far as I know there is no woman stronger than my mother. She is fearless and resilient and I want to be like her when I grow up.  Beyoncé and Oprah Winfrey are power houses; their work ethics are highly vociferous. That is one skill they inspire me to master. Maya Angelo just permeates greatness, her wisdom makes it seem like she has lived many life times.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My mother is self-employed, she runs an NGO in the Vaal called iKeletse Ka Kopano. My father passed away when I was six and he was the grandson of the Founder of the IPHC Church. I have 10 siblings from my dad and I’m the only child with my mom.
What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I like going to Arts on Main in the Joburg CBD, it has a relaxed and artistic ambiance. If I’m not at Arts on Main I am either reading a book or riding my bicycle.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? Firstly the opportunity to be part of Miss South Africa during such a memorable year is overwhelming. Diversity and democracy are now a South African culture. This has shaped who I am and the reason being is that democracy is all I know. It is humbling to know that I am a product of a melting pot of so many dynamic people.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Only a woman and a girl understand the challenges of being an authentic woman. It is through that understanding that we have the responsibility to shape a better calibre of women in South Africa; we should not be desensitised towards the struggles faced by our South African sisters. One woman’s happiness should be another woman’s joy.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Maya Angelo as she has an aura of pure wisdom; I feel like just a few words shared with her will enlighten me on being a woman.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Most people say I look like a fragile person but I’m actually tough as nails. My mom raised me to stand up for myself.
What are you reading? Shake the World by James Marshall Reilly
What is on your iPod? Jay-z, Magna Carta
Your favourite TV show? Suits
Your favourite meal? Braaied meat and pap.
Hashtag: #MissSAtidimalo
Twitter handle: @purelyjazz (https://twitter.com/purelyjazz)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Tidimalo-Sehlako/1483058578587162
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Tidimalo Sehlako

TSHEGOFATSO MONGGAE – ROODEPOORT, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG
Name: Tshegofatso Monggae
Region: Roodepoort, Gauteng
Age: 20
Occupation: I’m currently a student at the University of Johannesburg where I’m studying B. Comm Entrepreneurial Management. In the next five to 10 years’ time I see myself owning petrol stations and a chain of franchises.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won:  In 2010 I was crowned Miss Princess High School and then in 2012 I was crowned Miss Roodepoort.
What lessons did you learn during The Road to Miss SA TV shoot at Sun City? I found your attitude determines your experiences and your growth. You need to learn fast and be open to different activities that you might never have been exposed to.
What were the highlights of your Sun City stay? My highlights were during the times we would interact with the children from the school at Borite as well as when we visited the orphanage at Mabele a Pudi. The love and appreciation the kids showed us just by our presence showed me that your touch, time and efforts do matter to the next person.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I believe Miss SA will give me the opportunity to reach out and make a positive impact on more people on a larger scale compared to the community work that I’ve been doing up until now. Touching and inspiring people’s lives is something that I do on a daily basis and by winning title I’ll be able to reach more South Africans.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Basetsane Kumalo. From the dusty streets of Soweto she has become one of the finest jewels of South Africa. Many young women like me, look up to her and are inspired to do great things because of her.
Who are your role models? Lindiwe Mazibuko, a young, rising political star. She challenges me as a young woman to stand up for my rights and to do what I believe in at all times.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I come from a family of seven children. Growing up wasn’t always easy but through the hardships we always came together as one.
What do you do in your spare time? I read, listen to music and model.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? It means that South Africa has reached a stage of maturity where South Africans are able to communicate and interact beyond the racial lines.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? To empower yourself through education and learning new skills will allow you to dominate within your working spaces. We should also support each other instead of waiting for a woman to fail.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Former President Thabo Mbheki , a leader who implemented strategies that would alleviate poverty in our communities, a man of knowledge and a man who strived to see a better South Africa.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? That I love speed and cars with great horse power!
Your favourite TV show? Rhythm City, Scandal and Top Gear.
Your favourite meal? Beef lasagne.
Hashtag: #MissSAtshegofatso
Twitter handle: @Tshegomo6 (https://twitter.com/TshegoM06)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Tshegofatso-Monggae/567223136703132
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Tshegofatso Monggae

ZIPHOZAKHE ZOKUFA – WALMER, PORT ELIZABETH IN THE EASTERN CAPE/CAPE TOWN
Name: Ziphozakhe Zokufa
Region: Walmer, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape but currently in Cape Town for my studies.
Age: 22
Occupation: I am a television production student at AFDA, the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. I also work as a model.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won: Teen Miss Port Elizabeth 2009; Miss Eastern Cape Teen 2009; Miss Nelson Mandela Bay 2009; New Face International winner 2009; Miss Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 2011 and Miss Mamelodi Sundowns Eastern Cape 2012.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? This has been a lifelong dream for me and I have always wanted to enter. I love grabbing opportunities that come my way and the ability to inspire the youth of South Africa and the country as a whole has always been something I have strived for. The Miss South Africa brand would therefore be the perfect platform to be an agent for change.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you? Basetsana Kumalo who has truly used her title accordingly. She is a powerful business woman who has implemented change in this country. She is definitely the kind of woman I aspire to become.
Who are your role models? My parents. Together they worked and studied hard, proving that your circumstances do not define who you are. Their success has always inspired me to achieve and never to limit myself.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I have a father who is a principle and a mother who is a teacher. Education has always been an important part of their lives. They also both run non-profit organisations in the townships of Port Elizabeth. My older brother is 25 and is a law student and soccer player. My younger sister is in high school and sings for the Eastern Cape Children’s choir.
What do you do in your spare time? Besides modelling, I love music. I have a collection of instruments back home that include the drums, piano, clarinet and guitar and sometimes I write my own compositions. I love travelling, photography and videography. I was recently been introduced to kite-surfing and would love to take that up.
2014 is the year in which SA celebrates its 20th year of democracy – what does that mean to you? This is significant to us as South Africans as the road to democracy has not been an easy one. It now means that there are so many possibilities out there as opportunities are now accessible to all.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? There are so many opportunities for young girls and women out there and I would encourage each and every one to make use of them. Do what you can with what you have instead of waiting for “the right time”.
If you won the Miss SA crown and was able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Oprah Winfrey. I have learnt some of the greatest life lessons watching her shows. She is a powerful media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist and is a powerful woman who has established her brand with hard work and dedication.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? People are usually surprised to know that I used to be a professional singer. I travelled abroad representing my province and country.
What are you reading? I always try to make time to read my Bible
What music do you listen to? The soothing, Oriental sounds of David Visan.
Your favourite TV show? Top Billing.
Your favourite meal? Steak served rare.
Hashtag: #MissSAziphozakhe
Twitter handle: @ZinaZokufa (https://twitter.com/ZinaZokufa)
Facebook Page URL: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-SA-Ziphozakhe-Zokufa/566614763428140
Facebook Page Name: Miss SA Ziphozakhe Zokufa

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