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Aphelele Mbiyo. Pic by Garreth Barclay.

One-on-one with Miss South Africa 2020 Top 10 finalist Aphelele Mbiyo

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The 24-year-old Mthatha-born finalists shares why she decided to take part in this year’s pageant, the lessons she’s learnt thus far and the causes she will support if she gets crowned.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

I felt so grateful and honoured to be chosen and recognised as a young woman capable of serving our beautiful country and communities. I am very excited for the journey ahead and all the possibilities and opportunities it presents.

 

Did you celebrate?

Not yet. I video called my parents first and we spoke for a while; celebrating with them over a long conversation meant everything to me.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

I have always been enough, intelligent, strong and capable. The IGTV series I started, called Girl Get Up Sessions taught me more about the duty I have in using my voice, passions and abilities to serve others and to empower someone else within my reach and to lift others as I rise.

What initiatives will you be supporting?

Initiatives that encourage female empowerment, young kids and youth development.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

A teenage girl sent me a direct message on social media about how she was inspired to show up as her best self and chase her dreams due to the IGTV series I started.

What has been your most memorable part of the process so far?

A phone call from Miss South Africa CEO Stephanie Weil when she said “Unfortunately you will have to spend more time with us”; that was the best news ever. The most memorable was a leadership workshop I attended as a Top 15 contestant called Firepower.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

To continue to work on my health holistically and to show up as my best most authentic self. To be present. To build relationships with the rest of the girls and to have fun!

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

To see me evolving and keeping the crown in the Eastern Cape.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

That many are pushing through it, and seeing people’s dreams come true even during the pandemic. For example, the proudly South African brand MaXhosa opening a store at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

The fact that some people lost their loved ones and their livelihoods. Seeing unemployment increase and families losing their daily bread.

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