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Miss World SA

In celebration of Heritage Day on the 24 September, what does being proudly South African mean to you?

Alyssa Smith

to me, being proudly South African means embracing my inheritance, that is heritage, knowledge and the rich history of struggle and resilience that underpins the importance we place on Ubuntu. Yes, heritage is where we come from but it also speaks to the wealth of who we are. It is vast and intertwined, the expanse of cultural abundance and tapestry of stories, from which we define ourselves. It is too, specific, in that it speaks to identity and the power with which understanding our identity holds. Today we see that power expressed through joy as we unite and celebrate as a nation. We celebrate not only a culture that is our own but a culture that is shared amongst us. We celebrate who we are as a South African people. United in our diversity, colourful, joyful - proud!

Dr. Moratwe Masima

Heritage Day symbolizes the continued foundation and identity of who we are as South Africans.
It allows us to embrace our grassroots with the goal of social cohesion at our fore-front.
I am proudly South African because I represent my ancestors wildest dreams. I am a proud Sotho girl from Matatiele in the Eastern Cape who represents the compassion and humility of people. Being South African means embodying the spirit of Ubuntu and resilience.
We have come a long way as a nation however we have a lot we still have to overcome to reach our fullest potential and I am beholden to be part of the youth contributing to our nation.

Zoe Naidu

Being proudly South African to me means commemorating each other's differences. In order to unite, we need to amalgamate in our diversity, and heritage day reminds us of what makes South Africa unique. Being proudly South African is to be proudly divergent.

Munei Tswanani

My name is Munei Tsanwani and being proudly South African for me means embracing the rich tapestry of our diverse culture, celebrating our unique heritage, and standing tall with a heart full of love for our beautiful land.
It's about unity, resilience, and a deep sense of community that transcends borders. Being proudly South African is like holding a rainbow in your hands, each color representing a different aspect of our extraordinary nation.
It’s the rhythm of our music, the warmth of our people, and the belief that together, we can create a brighter future.

Motheo Mokoto

In South Africa life takes on a new sense of freedom and with endless possibilities. Being proudly South African means living in my truest essence; unafraid of diversity and differences in others, leading a life of respect, being courageous and having a great sense of humour!

Sasha-Lee Taylor

Heritage Day holds a special place in my heart. 🇿🇦 To me, it's a day of reflection, celebration, and unity. It's a day to revel in the vibrant rhythms and melodies of our music and dance. It's a chance to appreciate the incredible talent and creativity that our artists and musicians bring to the world stage. 🤝 Most importantly, Heritage Day is a day to recommit to the principles of Ubuntu, the idea that we are all interconnected and that our humanity is bound up in one another's. It's a day to extend a hand of friendship and support to our fellow South Africans, no matter their background. So, to me, Heritage Day is a day to cherish our past, celebrate our present, and look forward to a future where we continue to build a diverse, inclusive, and united South Africa. 🌈❤️🇿🇦 #HeritageDay #SouthAfrica #UnityInDiversity

Dr. Claude Mashego

Being proudly South African means I am standing on the shoulders of a resilient nation. One that though oppressed, refused to give up. A nation of people who are willing to fight against injustice, fight for what they know is right, not just for themselves, but for those who come after them, even if it costs them their lives. We have also shown the world that people of different cultures and ethnicities can live together harmoniously, regardless of an unjust and painful past. We are South African, the Rainbow Nation, forged in fire.

Mphoentle Plaatjie

We are a nation defined by resilience and hope. Our predecessors persevered in the face of a race war which inspired little hope. We are the kind of people that rise to a challenge and rewrite the the kind of future we envision for ourselves. That makes me proudly South African. Because of where we come from and who we are I know that the current energy and unemployment crises that we face will be overcome. My generation will be at the forefront of yet another victory for our people.

Luyanda Mbhamali

Being proudly South African means savouring the diversity that is served in our nation. More than anything, up every mountain and down every valley we boast a spirit of resilience and ubuntu!

Bonolo Motau

Being proudly South African to me means I am built on the foundation of robust resilience through heroic sacrifices that commands respect and progress without instilling hatred , resentment nor prejudice. I have grown up in awe of the humility of our people that garnish the nation from CEOs, Presidents all through to front line workforce and service personnel. I truly am proud to be a part of a nation that is colorful in nature, diverse and yet unified through a divine purpose of a fulfilled life. A life that allows the African sun not only to shine only onto our faces but shine through our hearts as we ploughing back into the soul that grounds us.

Asande Mchunu

As we celebrate Heritage Day, I sit in awe of all the diverse people we have and I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible privilege it is to have been born in this country.
In mind appears the colours of our land that could never be matched, our beautiful sky and the moon that is ever present, and the striped black and white hide of the African zebra that we adore so much.
I can almost smell the perfume of rain on African soil, the tang of the ocean on the sea side, and I can hear a lions roar quite literally making the air reverberate.
Being proudly South African gives me a sense of being alive that is unexplainable. Our warmth and vibrance can never be replicated elsewhere and all this is my reason as to why I, at my very core, am a proud South African.

Zoalize Jansen Van Rensburg

Being a proud South African to me resembles ongoing unity. Throughout all our country's trials and tribulations, we are always able to unite and offer a smile. There is nothing in this world that compares to the warmth of South Africans. The greatest attributes of our country are the people, and the pride and love that South Africans share are what make us a nation filled with united pride.

Miss World SA

What Miss World South Africa means for the 12 finalists?

Alyssa Smith

Alyssa Smith

Hello South Africa. My name is Alyssa Smith and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents endless possibilities of service to our country. It is a platform carrying the voice of a nation, proudly reflecting our inherent diversity and strength. From South Africa to the World. She is a beacon of hope, personified.

Dr. Moratwe Masima

Dr. Moratwe Masima

Hello South Africa. My name is Moratwe Masima and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents being a catalyst for social change. I believe a Miss World South Africa is a woman that is unapologetically herself and has a burning desire to make impact in her community. The title provides young women the opportunity to shift the paradigm of our society by being leaders, taking up spaces that were previously prohibited and being a voice for the most vulnerable.

Zoe Naidu

Zoe Naidu

Hello South Africa. My name is Zoë Magdalene Naidu and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents accelerated opportunity. As individuals, we all want to participate in change in our communities. We don't want to just enrich our own lives but also the lives of others. The beauty of Miss World South Africa is that your purpose is propelled internationally whereas you may have only been able to reach a limited amount of people. I believe that our viewpoint needs to change in terms of the legacy we leave in this world. It should not be about what we do or what name we leave behind but instead about how we meet the needs of our people. "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile". - Albert Einstein

Munei Tswanani

Munei Tswanani

Hello South Africa. My name is Munei Tsanwani and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

Miss World South Africa represents acts of service.

Motheo Mokoto

Motheo Mokoto

The Miss World South Africa title represents young women leaders who are catalysing urgent change through gender responsive interventions in issues such as, but not limited to health, education, and inclusion. The title recognises the dynamic and meaningful role young women have to play in challenging the status quo, and provides them with an opportunity to have an impactful seat at the decision-making table. These change-makers are able to enforce and implement solutions that address the different social ills within their communities as well as scale those solutions nationally and ultimately globally. Furthermore, it allows these global ambassadors to leverage off of each other to ensure holistic advancement when addressing women and children’s issues

Sasha-Lee Taylor

Sasha-Lee Taylor

Hello, South Africa! My name is Sasha-Lee Taylor and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents far more than just a competition. It embodies grace, strength, and the commitment to make a meaningful impact on our communities. It's a platform for change, a chance to uplift voices, and an opportunity to serve with passion and purpose. Together, let's embrace the journey ahead and work towards a brighter, more inclusive future for all. 💫👑 #MissWorldSA2023 #EmpowerChange #SouthAfrica

Dr. Claude Mashego

Dr. Claude Mashego

Hello South Africa. My name is Claude Mashego and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents a leadership platform and an opportunity to inspire quality and effective leadership in our country, continent and worldwide.

Mphoentle Plaatjie

Mphoentle Plaatjie

Hello South Africa. My name is Mphoentle Plaatjie and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents a unique opportunity for the young women of this generation to pick up their baton and contribute to their nation just as our Matriarchs did. The journey to the title also allows the innate greatness within each and every finalist to emerge and inspires the women around them to do the same or even more.

Luyanda Mbhamali

Luyanda Mbhamali

Hello South Africa. My name is Luyanda Mbhamali and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents authentic leadership and beauty while serving the nation with grace.

Bonolo Motau

Bonolo Motau

Hello South Africa. My name is Bonolo Motau aged 22 and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents a pageantry revolution. Shifting the paradigm and narrative of shallow beauty to beauty with purposeful progression. The magnitude of an individual’s impact here on earth is measured generationally by what they can do or share with others to encourage revolutionary change. In the South African context, “Motho ke motho ka batho” a Setswana slogan translating to “A person is a person through others”, and this is beautifully articulated through this particular pageant’s ethos and I am honored to be a pioneer in it’s founding class of 2023, to begin the race and pass on the baton.

Asande Mchunu

Asande Mchunu

Hello South Africa. My name is Asande Mchunu and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents purpose re-ignited. It is an agent of remarkable impact through beauty and service.

Zoalize Jansen Van Rensburg

Zoalize Jansen Van Rensburg

Hello, South Africa. My name is Zoalize Jansen Van Rensburg, and I am a finalist in Miss World South Africa 2023.

The Miss World South Africa title represents a woman who is brave enough to show the world her heart. It represents a woman who wants to uplift and inspire people to achieve their ultimates despite the doubts of others, but most importantly, it represents a beacon of light and hope. Miss World South Africa is a vessel that promotes and strives for unity, love, and kindness. The essence of the world flows through each and every one of us, and I am honoured to invest that essence back into the people of our country.

Top 12
ALYSSA SMITH
ASANDE MCHUNU
BONOLO MOTAU
CLAUDE MMAKGAKA MASHEGO
LUYANDA MBHAMALI
MORATWE MASIMA
MOTHEO MOKOTO
MPHOENTLE PLAATJIE
MUNEI TSANWANI
SASHA-LEE TAYLOR
ZOË NAIDU
ZOALIZE JANSEN VAN RENSBURG
ALYSSA SMITH | KwaZulu-Natal

Alyssa, 26, from KwaZulu-Natal, an admitted attorney of the High Court, is a passionate volunteer, and an advocate of Community Social Investment (CSI) projects.

She believes if she wins the Miss World South Africa pageant, she will be able to represent the wealth of who we are as a people to the world.

“We are united in our diversity. And, through my service, I plan to inspire an ambition that builds not only ourselves but those around us, our communities and our nation, in order for us to realise our strength and embrace what it means to be truly South African,” said the University of the Free State graduate who specialises in Corporate law and investment fund formation.

She has a fervent wish to impact the lives of others. Some of the volunteer work Alyssa has done includes serving on the CSI Committee, working with Habitat for Humanity, Rise Against Hunger and providing pro bono legal training to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

She founded the Webber Wentzel Leadership Programme which focuses on youth empowerment, through direct engagement and mentorship. She also serves on the diversity & inclusion and employment equity committees and is a member of the ESG Committee, which she joined with the objective of contributing toward reforming society, by assisting businesses to align their operations with transformative sustainable development goals.

“The work I have been able to do and continue through these initiatives, has allowed me to align the skills I have acquired through law with my core values and seize opportunities in a way that builds our country and its community from a unique perspective,” says Alyssa.

Alyssa’s  “Beauty with a purpose” project is called Catalyst, and it stands on three foundational pillars, dignity, engagement and empowerment. “It encapsulates my vision for change, birthed by realising the harsh realities faced by people in my community. Project Catalyst aims to facilitate collaboration with grass root organisations, multinationals and governments, to leverage available knowledge and resources and mobilise support in areas of need.”

Her wish for South Africa: “My hope for South Africa is that we as a people begin to reawaken to the reality of who we are, that we may be able to build together, speak as one and rise up as a nation, for South Africa to emerge as the powerhouse that it has always been!”

ASANDE MCHUNU | Eastern Cape

“I have always had a love for the development, upliftment, and evolution of others. My passion lies in the development and upliftment of the youth – specifically adolescent girls and young women,” says Asande.

The 24 year old, who is based in Qqeberha, is currently studying towards an Honours degree in Integrated Communication Science.

Asande says she was “born to serve” and this can be seen with her work at a local modelling development school, where she has volunteered as a teacher for the last decade. She also devotes her time to hosting weekly classes for females between the ages of 16 and 30 and has helped to empower over 500 adolescent girls and young women over the years.

Asande also gets involved in her local community every weekend by volunteering for the Grab & Go Foundation – an organisation that hands out sandwiches, clothing and sanitary towels to homeless people. She also works with organisations such as Sinethemba Children’s Home, Cheshire Home for the differently abled, to name a few.

“When I think of a Miss World South Africa, I think of an empowered woman who leads with authenticity and is both inspiring and compassionate. I think of a woman who is bold yet vulnerable enough to wear her heart on her sleeve. I believe I am that woman, and now more than ever, I am ready to serve my country South Africa,” she says.

BONOLO MOTAU | Gauteng

Bonolo, a 22 year old Bachelor of Commerce Graduate from Johannesburg believes in the social, academic and economic emancipation of women globally.

Bonolo – meaning gentle in Setswana, believes in being kind, loving, hard working and has dedicated her life to being a catalyst for radical academic, economic and social emancipation of women and the youth.

“I believe that our forefathers fought the battle of segregation and now it is our generation’s time to fight the battle of access to education and high unemployment,” she says.

“I plan to use the title to assist government in using my initiative to provide access, information and guidance for underprivileged youths to tertiary education. I also plan to do my bit in addressing the issue of low income to middle class youth who do not qualify for national financial aid, through creating bursaries to assist them in gaining access to higher learning institutions and a chance at debt-free completion,” says Bonolo.

“I dream of a nation where prosperity is shared by all, where educational opportunities abound, and where every individual can access the tools they need to flourish. In this vision, the resilience of the South African people shines as a beacon of hope for a united and prosperous future,” she says

CLAUDE MMAKGAKA MASHEGO | Mpumalanga

If she wins Miss World, Claude’s goal is to build a network of young leaders and community builders in South Africa and across the African continent through her non-profit company, the Young Leaders Network.

“There will be communities I can never reach for geographical reasons and because I am just one person. But can you imagine what we could achieve if young people across this country and continent came together with the common goal of building Africa into the powerhouse we know it can be,” says the 24-year old medical doctor.

“For me, pageants have always been about finding a platform that gives one an opportunity and resources to be a community builder, finding my corner and brightening so much that my light inspires the next person to the same in their corner,” says the University of Pretoria Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery graduate.

What does the young girl from Acornhoek, Bushbuckridge, like most about herself? “I’m real. I have been quite intentional about incorporating authenticity into my DNA because I believe that is what makes one relatable. Relatability allows people to connect with you human to human and that’s what amplifies the impact of everything you do,” she says.

Claude is working with the Maripi-Orhovelani Alumni Organization (MOAO), a non- profit organisation founded by the former learners of Orhovelani High School, where she matriculated.

They work on various projects to rebuild the school to higher than its former glory and to empower the learners and communities surrounding the school.

Her wish is to see the inequality gap narrowed and poverty completely eradicated, equal quality educational opportunities and equal quality healthcare services provided for all the citizens of this country.

LUYANDA MBHAMALI | KwaZulu-Natal

Luyanda, 26, from Durban, describes herself as, “a woman whose passion burns brighter than her fears”.

“I believe that I was raised for a time such as this, where I can use my voice and exercise that power to stand up and command change,” says Luyanda.

A holder of a BCom in Supply Chain & Operations Management and a Supply Chain and Ethical Compliance specialist for one of SA’s retail giants by day, Michelle is also the founder of a social outreach campaign called, A Little More, whose core aim is to empower underprivileged youth. To date, A Little More has implemented a number of successful projects including a successful stationary drive and has an ambitious goal of helping a school start a library.

“My passion deeply lies within the social and economic welfare of our country. I’m ready to accept the responsibility that comes beyond the prestigious title itself. I’m passionate about seeking opportunities that will yield economic growth and simultaneously bring social cohesion,” she says.

MORATWE MASIMA | Gauteng

Moratwe, 26, a medical doctor from Gauteng has a penchant for healthcare and people that extends beyond the walls of any hospital or clinic.

“I am deeply passionate about advancing reproductive healthcare as well as women’s health,” says Moratwe.

Currently completing her Post Graduate Diploma in Mental Health, while completing community service at a public hospital, Moratwe has also started her own foundation called, Your Health, Your Dignity, and also worked with numerous organisations including Dream Girls Academy where she mentored girls from underprivileged areas with an interest in becoming doctors or going into the health sciences industry. Moratwe is also an ambassador for Toys4Africa which focuses on the wellbeing and development of young children and offers support for those in need, and is currently working with Marotholi Outreach which provides healthcare services in the community through mobile clinics.

“I am a young woman who has chosen to dedicate her life and skills to be of service to her community and her country through my career. I believe that it is imperative that the focus is put back on good role models for the youth, and I believe that Miss World South Africa epitomises what it means to utilise Beauty for a Purpose,” she says.

MOTHEO MOKOTO | North West

“I intend to use this platform for the betterment of women and girls in vulnerable communities through education and advocacy,” says Motheo, 24, a User Experience Designer who is passionate about ending period poverty.

Hailing from Mahikeng in the North West, Motheo holds a BCom Honours in Strategic Brand Management and is driven by her desire to empower young people.

“I want to change behaviours, attitudes as well as shift social norms around period poverty and sexual education by increasing awareness and knowledge. I have been driving this initiative through the development and facilitation of menstrual workshops in communities in and around Mahikeng. I believe the Miss World South Africa title will amplify my efforts

Motheo is an active member of her community who plays her part by tutoring youth at her local church, facilitating menstrual hygiene workshops and donating school

MPHOENTLE PLAATJIE | Gauteng

“This country was built on the shoulders of women like my matriarchs. Now it is my turn to pick up the baton, play my part and contribute to our country,” says Mphoentle, 26 year-old, Master of Law holder from Vereeniging.

Inspired from a young age by a trip to the United Nations, Mphoentle is dedicated to improving the lives of South Africans though her work as an Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) & Sustainable Business Specialist, as well as her ongoing efforts with organisations in her community.

As an official SDG Young Innovator for 2023 as well as a member of the Vodacom Youth Council in 2022, Mphoentle is passionate about providing innovation and tangible solutions for a better future.

“When we hear sustainability, we think that it is the problem of government and big corporate. I want to challenge society to reimagine sustainability as a way of life and an enabler of UBUNTU and raise awareness around the SDGs and how they can be practically implemented in our day to day lives. My initiatives will speak directly to them and I will call on young people to innovate towards the SDGs just as I am,” she explains.

Mphoentle is also dedicated to serving her community. Not only has she volunteered for over 9 years for the Tshepong Care Centre – an orphanage in Sebokeng, she also volunteers for other organisations such as the Vodacom Foundation and Connect for Good to contribute towards initiatives such as packing meals, building wheelchairs and sanitary pad drives.

“My top priorities are empowering my community and planting seeds of growth wherever I set foot. I want to leave a legacy of love,” says Mphoentle. “My passion for young people and the sustainable development of my community are the driving forces behind my campaign to becoming Miss World South Africa,” she continues.

MUNEI TSANWANI | Limpopo

Munei, 25, from Limpopo, is a Clinical Data Analyst with a mission to make a difference to the scourge of unemployment.

“My dream is to empower as many young people as possible by providing them with the right education, employment opportunities, and fostering an entrepreneurial mind-set,” says Munei.

“My experiences have taught me to be more empathetic, and my education has given me tools to advocate for the issues closest to our hearts, like unemployment,” she continues.

Munei, who holds a B.Sc. Honors Degree in Biochemistry, is also the co-founder of the Alfred Kutama Foundation, which previously assisted disadvantaged families in the remote rural areas of Venda through the donation of groceries during the holiday season.

‘I aspire to be a woman of impact. I believe that we have been given different gifts in order to make a difference in the places we have been placed. I call it brightening the corner where you are,” says Munei.

“I have a deep commitment to using this platform for positive change. Winning this title is not about personal recognition but also using that recognition to help create opportunities for young people that have no one helping them to become better versions of themselves and provide for their families. I am ready to serve, inspire, and lead by example,” she says.

SASHA-LEE TAYLOR | Gauteng

Sasha-Lee, 26, from Gauteng is a business owner, published author and philanthropist with a passion for education and youth development.

Her deep-seated desire to make a difference in people’s lives started from a very young age and she has been actively involved in helping others since she was in high school. Driven by a commitment to humanity, youth well-being, and mental health, she pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences with dual majors in Psychology and Marketing.

Sasha-Lee’s Learn to Read, Learn to Lead campaign aims to create a literate nation by providing valuable learning materials to areas and schools that lack resources.

This was a collaborative effort between Sasha-Lee and her sister – who wrote and illustrated the educational books, as well as organisations such as the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, and Child Welfare Tshwane Fund, who helped bring this vision to life.

Sasha-Lee’s Beauty with a Purpose campaign focuses on providing quality education and resources to underserved communities and she believes education is the foundation for positive change and equitable opportunities, enabling individuals to break the cycle of poverty and contribute meaningfully to society.

“Together let us create a future where beauty transcends physical appearance and transforms lives,” says Sasha-Lee.

ZOË NAIDU | KwaZulu-Natal

“Seizing issues of disparity, takes a nation. With my country behind me, we can accelerate inclusivity, representation, and equality,” says Zoë, 23 from Durban.

As a student currently studying towards a Bachelor of Health Science in Chiropractic, Zoë wants to use this platform to empower others.

“Everyone deserves to be heard. Any platform afforded to me, allows me to step into being the voice to the voiceless,” she says.

Zoë is passionate about getting involved in local communities and serves by facilitating food and clothing donations as well as orphanage and frail-care visitations. She is also currently working on a project that focuses on inclusivity.

ZOALIZE JANSEN VAN RENSBURG | Gauteng

Zoalize’s dreams of being a world leader who can uplift South Africa and the world and she believes the Miss World pageant is a beacon of hope, light, to realise her dreams.

“If I were to win the prestigious Miss World title, it would act as a testament that the only person who can kill your dream is yourself. I want to encourage our youth to believe in their capabilities, dare to dream, and be loud about the causes close to their hearts, says Zoalize, from Pretoria, Gauteng.

“For us to be the leaders of tomorrow, we need someone to invest in us today. I am investing in myself now, and I would be so honoured to take hands with the world to invest in others because our future looks brighter together,” she says.

The 17- year old aspiring political scientist who holds an IGCSE level Cambridge certificate, said by entering the Miss World South Africa pageant, she is living her dream and goal of promoting young leadership.

She believes an important issue facing the youth is access to equal education, which is why she started her NPO called Never Too Young to Advocate. “Education is a basic human right, yet our government officials are not doing enough to offer accessible education to our citizens. A nation without knowledge is a nation without power because knowledge is the stepping stone to greatness, and we need to start making it accessible to all

She has supported, learned from, and worked alongside many non-profit social activist organisations such as POWA, CANSA, Arms of Mercy, Joburg Child Welfare, Eclatant Tolle, Bracelets of Hope, Beyoutifulbefly, PWRUP, as well as Power to You Foundation.

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