Wanting to know who cracked it big in the nominations department for this year’s South African Music Awards? Check out the full list below. The awards will take place in Sun City on the 27th May 2017 will be broadcast live on SABC1. It’s one of my favourite weekends in the social calendar and I absolutely love the collaborations that producers of the show put on. Who will they team up this year? Who would you like to see?
I thought I’d take the opportunity to get to know the new Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. Find out a little more about the Sedgefield resident in this Q&A below:
1. At 21, did you ever think you’d be saying “Hi I’m Demi-Leigh, your new Miss South Africa”? Now that you’ve had some time to rest, how does it feel?
Being Miss South Africa has been a life long dream of mine. My plan was always to first finish my degree before entering Miss SA, which I did last year. I think in my heart I always hoped for this dream to become a reality not realising just how tangible this dream really is. I have definitely not had any time to rest just as yet. I still get emotional every time I watch my crowning moment. Wearing this crown is the biggest honour and also a big responsibility.
2. It’s still early morning. Are you a tea, coffee, smoothie, or juice kinda person?
Coffee all the way!
3. What are you hoping to achieve with this title?
I decided that I rather want to focus on a few big projects instead of hundreds of small initiatives. As a B.Com Business Management and Entrepreneurship graduate entrepreneurship truly excites me. I want to help women in South Africa to help themselves by giving them the necessary tools they need in order to start and successfully manage their own businesses.
4. What’s the one misconception people may have about you?
I feel that people are quick to think that life and success comes easy for someone with a pretty face. I worked hard for every single thing I have ever earned. It took a lot of sacrifice and dedication to get to where I am today.
5. You’re from the Southern Cape. Tell us two of your favourite spots in Sedgefield and surrounds.
Cloud Nine, the location from where they do hand gliding, is my favourite spot to watch the sun set. It has the most beautiful 180° view of Sedgefield.
I am a total foodie. The Sedgefield Wild Oats Farmer’s Market is my favourite breakfast spot on a Saturday morning.
6. We all have something weird about ourselves. What’s the one weird thing you have or do that you’re happy to share with the country?
I always speak to my two yorkies, Baxter and Benji, in a Minion voice. For some crazy reason I feel they understand me better that way.
7. One difficult question for the day. Some think Miss SA isn’t relevant anymore. Why do you think it is?
To me Miss South Africa is a voice to the voiceless, she is a beacon of hope and she is the physical representation of a young South African woman that can make her dreams come true. Miss South Africa is a young woman that relates to a whole country and represents a whole nation. I feel that our country needs people that shine a light on the positive, someone that inspires, loves and cares unconditionally. That is my definition of Miss South Africa and also why I feel she is more relevant than ever.
8. It’s always unfair to ask who your favourite was, so I’ll go with this instead. Name three of your favourite Miss SA’s of all time?
Melinda Bam, Rolene Strauss and Joann Strauss.
9. What are you listening to right now?
I actually dug up an old Cat Stevens cd while moving to JHB. It’s on repeat.
10.What’s your favourite guilty pleasure?
Dark chocolate or anything salted caramel flavoured.
Do you remember the entertainment centre at the Sun City Resort ? It used to be the hub of a lot of activity. There was a casino in the centre many years ago. It then became the centre of all things fun, and the are was filled with restaurants and pubs, a movie theatre and retailers alike. I remember spending many an evening after the Miss South Africa pageants or SAMAs, standing in the Nandos queues to get some well-earned dinner after a busy working evening. Sometimes when the work was done and we felt like letting our hair down, we’d head to the clubs there for a couple of bevvies.
But even before the clubbing days, I remember the arcade games, the hippos and crocodile games that used to keep me company for hours on end. In short, the entertainment centre was exactly that, and it appealed to young, old, the hungry and the party animals 🙂
Well, it hasn’t been around for a few months now and that’s because it’s getting a major facelift. This is part of the resort’s overall revamp, which should be wrapped up and ready to be revealed later this year. I went through to Sun City recently for the MiWay Sun City Ultra. So because I’m curious, I managed to get a sneak peek at what’s going down as far as the #NewSunCity is concerned. Check out some of the pics below.
I think this new entertainment centre is going to be quite something. It’ll still have that iconic Sun City look and feel, but just newer, fresher and a lot more modern. For one, the skylight in the centre is going to be incredible. No more artificial lighting during the day, but rather the natural rays from the sun will beam its pretty self into the centre. The restaurants, movies, retailers will all return. The Sun City Superbowl remains, which is great news. There are going to be some awesome new additions in the form of the ‘Walk of Fame’. I was told about this last year, but to see where it is going to go and how it will roll out is really exciting. I’m pretty damn broody at the moment, no lies. Seeing how they’re catering for the kiddies makes me even more ready for little VB’s, but while I wait for that stage of life, I think I might just bring out my inner child again. The new designs include a ten-pin bowling area, right next to the magic centre. So you can imagine how much of a jol the young and old are going to have there.
From a corporate perspective, the first floor will have a lot of conferencing facilities. Work hard, then play hard and boy is there a lot of playing to be done. The shebeen restaurant, the amphitheatre for some acoustic music sessions, the Valley of the Waves, the golfing… It’s all there, so it’s actually great for a team building or conference venue. I asked the team if they’d experienced a drop in reservations or visitors since the plans for the revamp were initiated. Not at all. In fact, they were at capacity from a reservations perspective was concerned, and the resort was buzzing with tourists and day visitors. I guess the warm weather and close proximity to Jozi and Pretoria helps a lot too. It’s also perfect for the whole family. This time, I stayed at the Vacation Club, which is perfect for the family or for a bunch of mates.
I hadn’t been to Sun City in a couple of months, and to see how much work they’d done in that time is incredible. The chances are the next time I head up there will be for the unveiling of the #NewSunCity and I cannot wait. Fun City… Obviously, I’ll probably do another triathlon while I’m there too, haha. Stay tuned, more on this to follow.
I think many of you know that my lifestyle has changed quite a bit in recent years. It’s not as a result of anything major or some massive shift, but rather just a choice I made. I decided to trade in the late nights for early mornings, opting for healthy nutrition instead of fatty midnight snacks, and swop my dancing shoes for running ones. I started with a few 5km runs and mini triathlons. Those quickly developed into half marathons, 70km cycles, and Olympic distance triathlons. I thrived, I got fitter, healthier. I completed a nutrition course through the Sports Science Institute of South Africa and I began my partnership with Futurelife. It’s been quite a journey. One that has lead me to this point… That being Ironman finisher.
I don’t know what it is that made me want to do triathlons, but I’m so grateful I started. I think for many years I’ve watched people crawl across the finish line at the Comrades Marathon. I’ve watched cycle races here and there, and I myself have completed nine Midmar Mile open water swims. So how did the thought of combining all three of these disciplines come to be? I think it’s because of that exact reason. You’re not ‘suffering’ the whole day, distance, duration, doing one discipline, but rather breaking it up into three. Your training is a mixture of the three. That with some strength training (I say some because let’s be honest, I don’t know many gym bunny triathletes).
Last year I put my mind to participating in the 70.3 Half Ironman in East London. If I’m honest, I went in blind i.e. doing what I thought was right from a training perspective, but not actually having the foggiest idea. I remember the overwhelming sense of terror and emotion when I arrived in East London. The weather was miserable, to say the least, and I was horrified at the thought of having to swim in the sea. I love swimming, but looking at those swells made me super nervous. I recall saying to my mom there is no way I’ll be able to make it out of the swim in conditions like that. Mother being a mother put my mind at ease and brought me back to earth by saying “yes darling. Nobody is going to swim in weather like that.” Lucky for me, the wind direction changed, the swells subsided and the weather was but magical. The race briefing was also quite an experience. Paul Kaye, a regular MC on the Ironman South Africa fixture told us all that the Buffalo City 70.3. was rated one of the most difficult in the world. There I was thinking mkay, it will be hard, but really that hard? He was right. Especially when it came to the cycle. It’s kak, it’s horrendous, grueling, brutal. It’s worse than a gory episode of Game of Thrones. Jokes, I’m being dramatic, but it’s really not pleasant. Especially when the wind isn’t at your back. Alas, I completed that leg and the entire course in under seven hours. Not bad for a novice. I knew what I’d done right (the swim) and I knew what needed to be improved… the bike, the run, the transitions, the nutrition. So I signed up with the Team Tissink, opting for their programme to get ready for the 5150 series, as well as East London’s race (for my sins).
The discipline one learns throughout a process like this is remarkable. I’ve heard many triathletes say the training is the most difficult, and that when it comes to race day, it’s all about bringing all those elements together. It’s true. Very, very true, but more on that later. Training through winter requires a lot too. Leaving the comforts of a warm bed to get up for a half marathon, a four-hour ride, or worse, a 2km swim isn’t the easiest, but when you’ve invested time, money and a lot of energy to this, you damn well get up and you go. So when August rolled around at the first of the 5150 races snuck up on me, I believed I was ready to go. I was for the most part, but for some reason at the end of the race, my time wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Sure the conditions were challenging, to say the least, but I’d trained, how could I be slower? I put on my big boy pants, I stopped sulking and back to training I went. East London was approaching. I continued with my runs, my longer cycles and squeezed in my swims here and there. The next race was the 11 Global race in Sun City. I’d never done that one, but I was encouraged to attempt it. So I signed up and readied myself for the race. That one was tough too, if for no other reason than the heat and that dreaded hill up to the Palace. I thought I’d done relatively well. I congratulated my family friends, and then went back to my room to pack up and head out. On my way back to Jozi, my friends called to say I’d actually come third in my age group and that I’d missed my podium moment. The one bloody time I don’t stay. This was amazing and it showed the training was starting to come together.
GALLERY: BECOMING AN IRONMAN
Training continued into December and let me tell you, this is very hard. For one, you’re tired from the working year. Then everyone is going on holiday, eating and drinking up a storm and you’re not. You’re training and a lot. Why? Because come the new year, it means you’ve got some twenty days before 70.3. This year, I was done in KZN for a few days and the in the Eastern Cape. I decided I would use the two weeks to train long and hard, but what I didn’t expect was to get sick. The doctor booked me off for a week, put me on a course of antibiotics and told me not to exercise at all. Super frustrating, but perhaps the break did me the world of good! I managed to get back into it in Jeffreys Bay and that put my mind at ease. Also, training at sea level is amazing. Gosh, the air is so light and clean. Do I sound like a tree hugger? Haha.
I won’t bore you with the details around my race in East London, but what I will tell you is that it was just as hard as last year, but I managed to knock off a good twenty-seven minutes. So it worked, and I was happy. Done, thanks for coming… Said no one. Ever. My friends had planted the seed of full Ironman in my head at our year-end function, but I wasn’t keen. I mean really? They kept saying it’s the best race you will do. I think in the back of my mind there was a little voice encouraging me to enter. I chatted to the coach and after some (not much actually) convincing, I entered full Ironman. Are you actually joking, Von Berg? Have you seen the distances? Have you actually lost your mind? Those were some of the questions I asked myself, but hey, the entry was in and there was no time to chill.
And so began some of the most challenging times I’ve ever experienced. Double sessions in the week, a minimum of nine hours over the weekend. Lots of training, not so much sleep. A lot of eating, and not a lot of socialising. That was my existence in the build-up to the big race. And all of that on top of a demanding day job, including preparing for a conference, which almost ended me. Again, your mental strength is tested to no end, and I’m so happy I had that in retrospect. The excited nervousness mounted and when I boarded my plane to PE, along with some other very fit looking Ironmen, I realised how real shit had actually just become. I had two days to chill, acclimatise and ready myself for the biggest challenge I’d ever set myself. My uncle and I headed through to PE via the cycle route, which was great and really scenic. Maybe not the type of response you would expect for someone about to embark on an 180km cycle, but hey anything to take your mind off the task ahead 😉 Registration was a breeze, everything just seemed to go quite smoothly. The vibe was great too. Old mates catching up with one another, racers brought their families and I heard the accents of loads of international athletes. Simply put, there was a great energy in Port Elizabeth, which really helped alleviate the nerves somewhat.
On Saturday all, athletes get the opportunity to do a practice swim. For anyone who lives inland, or who doesn’t enjoy swimming that much, I would highly recommend this. You get a feel for the water, the temperature, your markers and the like. It really is a good idea. It’s also extremely well organised in that only athletes with timing chips are able to swim. If you don’t have your chip, you are not allowed into the water. Are they strict? Yip they are. So much so they didn’t let one of the delegates from the Prince of Bahrain participate in the swim because he didn’t have his tag. He tried to pull the “do you know who I am” card, but the officially wasn’t having any of it! After that, the day really just flew by. It was a matter of checking the bike, going for a ride, changing a flat tube (FML), packing bags, packing special needs bags, rushing to drop it off in transition, finding out where everything goes and then remembering where it all went. It’s a whirlwind, and your stomach really does start to do all kinds of acrobatic moves as the hours tick by and as the race approaches.
We went for a really chilled dinner at one fo the restaurants near to the place we were staying. It started out nicely but then my nervous energy really kicked in and unbeknown to me, my leg was twitching to the point that my mom pointed it out to me. It was time for bed. It was also just before 8pm, but you know. Ironman. So this was it, a good few hour’s rest before the race would be grand. Sadly I didn’t sleep much. I kept thinking about this, that, all them scenarios you can imagine popped into my head, but then it was time to get up and go! The calm before the storm really. The very last bit of your prep is to grab your bottles, nutrition and stick them in where they’re needed for the race. It was still dark, but the nervous energy was actually quite light and jovial. Even on the back where everyone waits for the buzzer to go off and the race to start. Honestly, it felt like I’d stood there for hours on end waiting. You heard such random conversations too. I quietly stood there with my goggles on and ready to roll, but I did enjoy a chuckle or two before we set off. When the anthem played I cried man tears. Shame, poor little emotional me haha. And like that, we were off.
Let me tell you, one of the most magical moments of the race happened in the water. We swam out towards the sunrise and for a brief ten seconds or so, I looked up, admired such beauty from 300metres or so off shore and realised that this was actually happening and that I was actually going to do it (goosebumps moment). Okay epiphany moment, okay, now swim son! That swim was long and rather rough, but I managed and in the time I’d set out to do it in. Good start. Look I took my sweet time in transition, which is a little silly, but perhaps it helped too because the 180km was going to take a while, to say the least. Again I won’t bore you with all the details of the cycle, but let’s put it this way, it’s long. Very, very long but it’s nice. The conditions were incredible and the vibe along the route was magical. For those of you who haven’t done the race, you might be interested in this ‘special needs’ bag story. So basically you’ll pack two bags for your cycle and run leg. You put whatever you absolutely need in there, be it more liquid, a proper meal (sandwich, baby potatoes, a shirt or top to keep you cool or suncream). On the cycle leg, you can collect your bag at the 92km mark. So that’s what I intended to do, but when you’re in a daze and you see what you want to see, I thought I’d missed it. And that would’ve been dire, as my bottles were in there. Luckily I calmed down to a mild panic and all was under control. If you’re looking to do the race next year, note that whatever you don’t use in that bag, you lose! So think carefully about what you put in there.
After another ‘tea party’ in transition, I decided it was time to head off on my maiden marathon run. How bad can it be? WELL…. I’m usually a decent runner, but off the bike I’m weak. So running into the sun, on tired legs and it being my first marathon didn’t make for a pleasant experience. Add four loops to the equation and my sense of humour was officially gone. But you make friends along the way, friends who become your bests but you’ll probably never see again. The support along the route is amazing. When you really need a push, these people do so with their words of encouragement. It was on this run that I felt like I’d really pushed my body to its limit. I was tired, physically, but my mental strength was what got me through this. I was in pain, but I smiled and I made it through. The moment I hit that red carpet, I was overwhelmed by an incredible sense of accomplishment. It was amazing, exhilarating. It was without a shadow of a doubt, the best moment of my life. I’d done the impossible and made me realise that is ANYTHING ACTUALLY IS POSSIBLE.
My friend, Cherry-Lee told me this is the most amazing race you’ll ever do, and boy was she right. It was and I while it was the most difficult day out, it was also the most amazing.
Here comes my Oscar winning speech:
I’d like to thank my number one supporter, my dear mom. Through thick and thin, erratic mood swings, countless breakfasts, brunches and the like, my mom has been so amazing. My family, my friends, and colleagues have all been so damn patient with me. It was a long journey, but without their patience and understanding, I probably wouldn’t have been able to get through this. My Futurelife fam, who kept me healthy, happy and content. The perfect pre-race food, post-training smoothies and during training bars, snacks etc. So honoured to be working with such a strong brand. Natalie and Raynard Tissink, I know I’ve been quiet, but without your training programme, I know I would never have made it through this race. I also know what to expect now and what I need to improve on, so I’m keen to work on next year. Yip, if it isn’t clear, I am definitely doing this again. I need to #ChaseTheSun and I’m officially hooked. Oh yes, and I have bragging rights for life. I am an Ironman!
Do you have a place that takes you back to your youth, or brings back good memories? Be it a resort, a beach house, or say a trip to the bush that always takes you back to a time where you were relaxed, calm, and that always make you smile when you reminisce? I have a couple, but one that I still seem to visit a lot is Sun City up in the North West Province. The resort has been around since the 70s. I’ve been going there since I was young, and if you’re trying to do the math, I’m not that old.
I remember going to Sun City when I was around 9 or so. My mom, my uncle and aunt decided the beach was too far, but Joburg’s answer to the beach aka the Valley of the Waves was well worth the trip. The Lazy River, the Temple of Courage and some of the other rides were a perfect way to enjoy the warm weather and to keep them/ me busy. At the end of the day, we went and chowed some deliciousness at the entertainment centre and that would be followed by some fun at the arcade. Who remembers those crocodile games? Such fun – and such grand memories too.
In more recent years, I’ve been going to the resort in a working capacity, be it Miss South Africa; Kylie Minogue, Kelly Rowland and Marcos Hernandez at the Sun City Superbowl, or the South African Music Awards and each and every time, the fun in Sun City was had. So recently, I went through to the resort again. Only this time for a slightly different occasion. I was there for a triathlon – you know, my new life and all. It was my first 11Global triathlon. I decided to make a weekend of it because well, you know… Fun City. I left Joburg at around 3pm and after hitting peak hour traffic, I finally made it through to Sun City by 6pm. Immediately I felt a sense of relief to be out of the hustle and bustle that is Jozi, and it was great to be back in a place I really enjoy. My room in the Sun City Hotel was one of the luxury rooms. It had been a long day and a long week, so I decided to kick back and relax for a few minutes. That bed is so comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I almost fell asleep, but being an athlete now, the body must eat and so I headed downstairs with the intention of going to the entertainment centre, where a lot of the restaurants are. I saw the new Mugg & Bean in the restaurant, so I decided that would be perfect for the evening. That is just one of the many new additions to the resort by the way. There’s a helluva lot of construction and refurbishment going on at Sun City, but I’ll chat about that in a bit.
I kept the evening calm and headed to bed quite early – and luckily so. The next day was a lot busier than I had actually planned. I went to cheer on my family friends participating in the triathlon in the morning, and it was good to see what was in store for me too. A few friends and I then headed into the lake for a practice swim, which was too rad. A good warm up and a nice way to ease into the day too. I retreated back to my hotel for breakfast, and besides The Palace breakfast which is amazing, the Sun City Hotel breakfast is awesome too. If you’re heading through soon, try their home-made carrot muffins and/ or the crumpets. Deliciousness!
Sun City is one of those places that honestly just functions like a city. It’s a lot smaller, but obviously it works. The buses come regularly – the signage around the resort ensures that you get to the destination you’re wanting to go to etc. Take my situation for example. I wanted to go see my friends at Vacation Club. We decided an afternoon drive in the Pilansberg would be a good idea, so the bus took me from the entertainment centre right up to the Vacation Club. Look, I could’ve walked but it was hot out there, so I opted for the AC’d bus instead 😉 This year, my love for the bush was reignited when I went off to the Kruger National Park in April. So any excuse I get to into the bush is one I’m willing to make. We saw a lot of elephants, several rhinos and then the regular impala, zebra and giraffes. I would’ve loved a leopard or a lion, but a break in the bush is good enough to make the soul feel content. It was also a great way to clear the head of the week gone by and prep mentally for the triathlon the next day.
The triathlon itself went really well. I mean don’t get me wrong. The heat was intense, as was the wind, but I managed a good time and a podium spot for coming third in my agegroup. I had no idea that I’d actually got a podium spot, so luckily my friends were around to accept on my behalf. I missed my one shot, haha. After the triathlon, I took some time to lap up the Sun City lifestyle. We’re now into the last few weeks of the year, and I could definitely feel the holidays, the good times that await us when I absorbed the Sun City fun. People are chilled, happy, laughing, drinking, relaxing at the various pools. It’s a good place and a good time of the year. It’s also perfect for those wanting a weekend escape. It’s quick enough to get there. So you really should utilised this opportunity if you get the chance. Moms and dads can enjoy the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which kicks off very soon, and of course the kids can enjoy the Valley of the Waves and some of the other attractions among the four hotels.
I mentioned earlier that there was a lot on the go at the resort. Besides refurbishments at the Cabanas and the Vacation Club, there’s some major change to come in 2016. So big, they’re investing R800-million to make sure the resort is in exceptional knick and perfect for both local and international guests. For starters, the Santori is no more, but don’t fret there’s a new Mediterranean restaurant called Bocado, which opened in August this year. The resort now also boasts a new steak restaurant called Harvest Grill and Wine in the Entertainment Centre. Families frequenting the Vacation Club will also be glad to hear that there is now a Spur on the resort too… Best burgers, and a great place for the whole famdamily to to enjoy. There’s also an adventure hub called Adrenalin Extreme, which is targeted at the teenage market (not limited to them only I hope, haha). Why? Well because there’s a Human Sling Shot, a quad 4×4 challenge and Hovercrats to name a few things. The Valley of the Waves will offer two new rides in the next couple of months.
There are two things I’m particularly keen to see next year. The first is the Sun Park, which will be a multipurpose facility for events and music festivals. I know a couple of artists have already been booked to attend several events this holiday season, so check out the site to find out more, but Sun Park is going to be such a jol when it’s open. The Entertainment Centre will undergo a massive renovation. It’ll close very soon, and it’ll be making room for a full Experiential Centre in 2016. There will be a South African Hall of Fame, which will honour the country’s top sportspeople, as well as performing artists. There will be a lazer tag game, a ten pin bowling ring, the arcade will still be there and there will be plenty more. I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back at the Sun City resort in 2016, and I cannot wait. If you’re not heading down to the coast this December and you’re in the North West, Gauteng or MP, you really should consider a trip to Sun City. It’s relatively close by, and everyone can something on the resort!
It’s the worst show of every season of Idols because it’s so drawn out, but the drama brings the viewers and the ratings. So it must be done. If you don’t have the patience to sit around and wait to see who of the 29 make the Top 16, let me make it a little easier for you. Here are the season 11 #IdolsSA contestants:
Amanda Antony (22) for whom Idols SA has been a true rollercoaster ride. In 2013 she famously made it to Sun City when Unathi gave her a Golden Ticket in PE after Algoa FM had spotted her great singing talent, but then she bombed out during Hell Week. She has recently completed her Music Studies at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Spunky Bridgitt Leahy (18) who blew the judges away with her original song at the Durban auditions. She hails from Creighton in the Southern Drakensberg and currently lives with her mom in Pietermaritzburg, where she is being home-schooled.
Dineo Moseki (21) who lives in Vryburg with her sisters and nieces and nephews, where she works as a full-time professional singer. The pint-sized Dineo has been singing for all of her life, in school choirs and church choirs, and turned professional in 2012.
Elwira Standili (22) from Worcester gave up her Management Assistance studies once she won that coveted Golden Ticket at the Idols SA auditions in Cape Town this February.
24-year-old Karabo Mogane from Nelspruit who studied Geoinformatics at the University of Stellenbosch before getting into the Idols SA Season 11 Top 16.
Loyiso Gijana from Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape is 16, the youngest singer in the competition. Up until now he was a learner at Muir College in Uitenhage.
Lungisa Xhamela (24) from Langa in the Cape gave up his studies in medical bioscience at the University of the Western Cape to pursue his musical dreams full-time, for the sake of his two-year-old daughter.
Mmatema Moreni (23) from Limpopo qualified as a professional linguist who speaks four languages. Before she entered Idols she also worked as a part-time marketing assistant and worked for her church on the side.
20-year-old Business Management student Nadia Herbst from Paarl has already won the title of Miss Teen Cape Town and Miss Teen Western Cape, and now she has a third title in her sights: South Africa’s new Idol!
17-year-old Nina Terblanche hails from Nelspruit, where she is a Grade 10 scholar who has Music as a school subject, and she also sings in the school choir and competes in Eisteddfods.
Jozi native Phila Madlingozi’s name may sound familiar, because at age 25 he has starred in drama series like “Intersexions” and “Mutual Friends”, and has posted many of his own music videos on YouTube.
21-year-old Rhema Varrie was encouraged to go into music by his father, a Pastor, who spotted his potential at an early age. Rhema is currently a financial advisor who supports his extended family.
Ruan Grobbelaar (24) from Somerset West was studying software development at the University of Stellenbosch when he got his Golden Ticket at the Cape Town auditions in February.
Shenay O’Brien(25) is making history as the competition’s first drag queen in the voting rounds. Prior to Idols, Shenay shared a home in Roodepoort with her creator, former Tshwane University of Technology drama student and performer Thiart Li.
Siphelele Ngcobo (24) from Durban has been making his living as a singer since 2012. He studied classical singing in school and since matriculating he’s been focusing on gospel and jazz in his hometown of Inanda, near Durban, where he lives with his mother and siblings.
Thami Shobede (27) hails from Mthubathuba but is currently based in Johannesburg, where he worked for Transnet before making it into the Top 16 of Idols SA 11. He also plays the bagpipes – a skill he learned while being in the Defence Force.
Catch Idols every Sunday on M-Net and Mzansi Magic at 17:00.
BUSI MAHLANGU – KWA-MHLANGA KWA-NDEBELE, MPUMALANGA
Name: Busi Mahlangu
Region: Kwa-Mhlanga Kwa-Ndebele Mpumalanga
Occupation: I am an economics student at the University of South Africa doing my 3rd year. I always wanted to see a dramatic change in my country and economic development is one of the prominent factors that determine the well-being of a country. For me to be in that field meant accomplishing my goal of giving back to my country through my career.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won? Miss Spring Edendale 2007.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? Women and youth empowerment has always been a topic close to my heart. I have so much faith in the influential role of women in society and the nation at large. Research has shown that women have the primary role of bringing up children in our society and with the necessary resources we as women can help break the cycle of poverty. I would like to be the agent of change to help uplift the overall life of women in society which can be achieved through the Miss South Africa brand. Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you and why? Basetsana Kumalo inspires me because she has shown that she was not limited in her endeavours by winning Miss South Africa, showing people that this breakthrough did not define her life. She has continually been successful since her crowning and has built an empire through the platform of being a Miss South Africa. That’s my goal. Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why? Gill Marcus. Nothing inspires me more than a powerful yet humble leader and woman.
Tell us a bit more about your family? My mother works for a direct selling company called Table Charm, my dad is a principal at a local school in Mpumalanga. I am the eldest of four, my brother is in matric and my twin sisters are still in primary school.
What do you do in your spare time? I like watching the news, reading informative books or just being with friends and family.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? You are not born to merely get by. Find your call, give back through that call and leave an incorruptible footprint. The biggest tragedy is not death but a life without purpose.
If you won the Miss SA crown and were able to meet one person, who would it be and why? Gill Marcus and Thuli Madonsela. They are both powerhouses and are women in the frontlines. They have broken the confines of the role of women in South Africa as they occupy positions which were previously held by men. They have so much power and influence yet they maintain their meekness. I absolutely commend and look up to that. What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I’m an adventure junkie. What are you reading? I always read a book which relates to my current circumstances in order to get insight. A friend gave me a handbook on modelling and pageants by former Miss South Africa, Cindy Nell. I am also reading a book on the character of a leader by Myles Munroe.
What is on your iPod? The new Hillsong and Tamar Braxton. Your favourite TV show? The news and Top Billing. Your favourite meal? Anything with chicken. Anything else you would like to add? I am honoured to be part of the semi-finalists. I can’t wait to continue doing what I know I was born to do, which is to be a humanitarian and a woman activist. It’s great to know that there are people that have faith in you, Thank you Sun International and the Miss South Africa committee for the opportunity.
CHANELLE SARDINHA – FOURWAYS, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG
Name: Chanelle Sardinha
Region: Fourways, Johannesburg, Gauteng
Occupation: I am an actress and model. Having recently completed my Honours degree in BA Dramatic Arts at Wits University, this is my first year attempting to break into this industry. Growing up, I enjoyed performing in lead roles in musicals such as Annie, Grease and Little Shop of Horrors, which allowed me to fuel my passion for acting, singing and dancing. I have also developed a love for acting and modelling in front of the camera and want to gain as much experience and exposure as I can in this field. It will also enhance my skills and self-belief. I featured in a number of local and international TV commercials and campaigns such as Dove Hair Care, ABSA, Barclay’s Bank, Oronamin C, American Tourister and Monte Norte.
Previous beauty competitions/pageants won? I was spotted at the age of six by a ‘tuck-shop mom’ at my school, who insisted that my mom enter me into the ‘Little Miss Fourways Mall’ pageant which I won. I was crowned by former Miss South Africa, Bernelee Daniel, and awarded a one-year modelling contract which led to me winning a number of other titles, including Miss Reach for a Dream, Miss UCPA, Miss Cameo Legs, Miss Junior RSA and Miss Sandton Model of the Year, at which I was crowned by yet another Miss South Africa, Yolanda Kloppers.
Why do you want to be Miss SA and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I would love to be Miss South Africa because I know who I am and what my country stands for. I pride myself in being approachable, compassionate, humble and enthusiastic. If I am blessed with the opportunity, I will employ a one-on-one approach. I will offer my time to anyone in need. I believe my involvement in the arts will equip me for the Miss South Africa pageant. As a Miss South Africa, you are on display to the world as a global representative of your country. Having studied the art of being in front of an audience on stage and in front of a camera crew, I have honed my energy into being confident in my own skin and ensuring that I remain poised and true to myself in every situation. Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you and why? Every former Miss South Africa has inspired our nation and left a mark in their unique way. The two Miss South Africa titleholders who connect with me because of their careers are Basetsana Kumalo and Jo-Ann Strauss who both used the platform to create their own legacies. Basetsana is inspiring, having attained the position of President of the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa, as well as through her television production company, Tswelopele Productions. Jo-Ann, on the other hand, has become a familiar TV face who epitomises class and poise. Melinda Bam and Rolene Strauss also exemplify the compassionate and nurturing spirit of Miss South Africa, which I truly admire. Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why? My role model is my mom. She is never without a smile on her face and always greets people with a warm embrace. She has a love for people and compassion for others, qualities which I strive to emulate.
Tell us a bit more about your family? I come from a family of four consisting of my dad Sidney, my mom Teresa, my older brother Shaun, and me. We are your typical close-knit South African family with a Portuguese heritage who cheer each other on in all of our endeavours. My family mean the world to me and I thank God every day for the love and happiness they constantly show me. My dad is an entrepreneur who specialises in retail. I am “daddy’s girl” and look up to my dad with respect and admiration for his bravery, perseverance and his ability to always put a smile on my face. My mom is a qualified Treasury Dealer but is currently working as a PA to a Director of a company. My friends and I always call her “Mother Teresa” because of her kind and caring nature. She is always helping people wherever she goes. My mom is not only the first person I go to for advice but she is also my best friend. My older brother is a chartered accountant at Deloittes. We are only 19 months apart and therefore have a bond so close that we often consider ourselves to be twins. What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I further my knowledge and passion for health and fitness. I am currently doing a Personal Training Certificate to educate myself and others about living a happy and healthy lifestyle. The easiest way for me to unwind and think clearly is by running. I enjoy long distance running and losing myself in my thoughts and returning home with my favourite “endorphin rush”.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? My message is there is nothing more beautiful and empowering than a woman who knows her self-worth. Treasure yourself, motivate yourself and believe that you are only capable of greatness.
If you won the Miss SA crown and were able to meet one person, who would it be and why? I would love to meet as many people in need as possible. I want to walk in their shoes, hear their stories, make them laugh, see them smile and leave with them understanding their full potential.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? Although I am extremely feminine in the way I present myself, people might be surprised to know that there is a tomboy side to me. I love learning about cars and engines and thoroughly enjoy all adrenaline-junkie activities. I recently bungee jumped off the Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee jump in the world. It was the craziest yet most exhilarating thing I have ever done! What are you reading? I am currently indulging in the book Lean In by COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg. It is proving to be an extremely fascinating and empowering read. Sandberg writes about gender inequality in the workplace and how we as women, and a nation, can promote equality through focusing on our strengths and rights as women instead of our pre-conceived ‘weaknesses’.
What is on your iPod? I use my iPod while running and at gym and play mostly upbeat dance music. I particularly enjoy songs with one-liners of motivation which encourage and linger with me. Your favourite TV show? My favourite TV show is Suits. I find law extremely fascinating and particularly love the lead character, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres), as she is the senior partner of a highly successful law firm and is not only an extremely talented actress but a vision of female power and strength onscreen. Your favourite meal? My favourite food is Asian food, in particular sushi. Having travelled to Thailand a year ago, I developed a new-found appreciation for Asian culture, food and its people.
DANELLE DE WET – KUILS RIVER, CAPE TOWN, WESTERN CAPE
Name: Danelle de Wet
Region: Kuils River, Cape Town, Western Cape.
Occupation: I am a first year BCom Marketing student at the IMM Graduate School of Marketing. Once I have obtained my degree I would like to study further and work towards getting my MBA and then start up my own PR company.
Who is a previous Miss South Africa who has inspired you and why? Melinda Bam, Miss South Africa 2011, who changed the game by making Miss South Africa more relevant to modern times and leaving a legacy, which she predicted at the start of her reign. Then there is Nicole Flint, Miss South Africa 2009, who, on each occasion I’ve bumped into her, was kind, friendly and humble. She has left her mark on the Miss South Africa Pageant. These women also did respectable charity work, which one could see was real and came from the heart. I aspire to become a Miss South Africa that is the perfect blend of all these amazing qualities. Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why? Someone who has inspired me and continues to do so is Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela. She is a woman of integrity and perseverance and puts all her focus on the future of South Africa and the dignity of its citizens. Neutral to all political parties, she has become the country’s top fighter in eradicating corruption, and has never stopped sacrificing her time and energy for what she believes is right. I wouldn’t say I have just one role model; I have a handful of people to whom I look up to. Each of these people has one or two personality and characteristic traits that I admire and try to implement into my own life as I mature. Tell us a bit more about your family: My father and mother are my pillars of strength. My mother is a self-employed estate agent and my father runs his own construction company. My sisters, regardless of how distant we are in ages, remain close. My eldest sister is 34 and works at an Information Technology firm. My middle sister is 27 and is a qualified physiotherapist. What do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I model and train hard at gym, where I do a bit of Muaythai and I recently began doing yoga. Other things I enjoy doing is hiking, travelling the world and snorkelling. What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? You are more powerful than you know. This mostly applies to the young women in the world but can be a message to all. Young women in this country, regardless of their background, need to realise their worth and their potential. They need to fight for a better future and for their education. You can’t sit back and wait for things to come to you, you have to go out there and get it. I don’t come from the wealthiest of communities but I never let that determine my success and my dreams. If you want something, you are the only thing holding yourself back. If you don’t get it right the first time, keep trying! I am the perfect example of that – this is my third entry into Miss South Africa. It is what I want, and it’s something I can feel deep inside. If I did not pick myself up and try again, how would I ever be able to show people that with passion, determination and hard work, all your dreams will transpire?
If you won the Miss South Africa crown and were able to meet one person, who would it be and why? I would love to me meet Thuli Madonsela, of course, and soak up all the wisdom and knowledge she has. She has learnt how to remain neutral, humble and how to stay determined and driven no matter how difficult things may get. If the crown was a time travel machine – Nelson Mandela (while he was president) – just to get insight into the mind of someone who changed an entire nation for the better. What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? That I am an ex-dancer and have been for 10 years. What are you reading? Well the last book I read was Donald Trump’s Think Big. What is on your iPod? Goodluck – Trickery (And it’s on repeat!) Your favourite TV show? Modern Family and CSI Your favourite meal? Basil-pesto baked snapper fillet. It’s yummy. Anything else you would like to add? If you work really hard, and you are kind – success is inevitable.