This year’s Top 10 Miss South Africa 2022 finalists, who represent five provinces, were announced on Monday.
Miss South Africa goes out of its way to show that there is more to South African women than beauty. This year’s contestants are an impressive group who include a candidate attorney, law, performing arts and dietetics students, a psychology honours graduate, entrepreneurs and small business owners and models. They are:
Anarzade Omar (23) is from Crown Gardens, Johannesburg, Gauteng. She has a BA in strategic communication in marketing from the University of Johannesburg and works as a social media manager at a digital marketing agency. She also runs a small online sushi business, which she launched during the Covid-19 lockdown. “This has always been my goal and I was determined to get my spot in the final. I honestly believe this is my purpose and that it is worth fighting for. I believe I am a different person to who I was when I first entered. It has made me stronger and I have grown as a person. It made me go back into the drawing board and focus on what I truly want to do with the Miss South Africa platform and what my purpose with it is. If I can motivate just one person to fight for their dreams, then I know that my job here has been successful.”
Ayanda Thabethe (22) is from Maritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. She is currently pursuing a degree in dietetics and human nutrition. Thabethe is delighted that both the KZN Top 10 finalists come from Maritzburg: “I think our home town will be thrilled that both Luyanda (Zuma) and I have made it. Interestingly enough people think that there is a rivalry between the two of us because we come from the same place but it simply isn’t true – we are supportive of each other as are all the wonderful 30 contestants I have got to meet on this journey. The Miss South Africa journey to date has been incredible and not what I expected at all and I mean that in the best possible way. I have entered other pageants and somehow they are ‘robotic’ and you are meant to answer questions in a specific way. This is not the case with Miss South Africa. They want to hear you and for you to be authentic and the best person you can be.”
Itumeleng Parage (22) comes from Central Western Jabavu in Soweto, Gauteng, and is a bachelor of law student with a bachelor of arts (law major) degree from the University of Witwatersrand. Parage is delighted to be representing Soweto: “It’s such a dynamic place and deserves representation. It has always been my dream to be part of the Miss South Africa pageant. I would dream about it and had a vision board. However, it’s still surreal to have made Top 10 and it hasn’t yet sunk in. The calibre of contestants during the Top 30 journey was incredible and I have grown so much to date.”
Keaoleboga Nkashe (26) is from Itsoseng, in the Ngaka Modiri Molema district in the North West province and is a post-graduate student, freelance model and kindergarten teacher. Nkashe relinquished a teaching job in China to return to South Africa when she was named in the Top 30: “When I was told I had made Top 10 I was overwhelmed but incredibly grateful and proud. Leaving China and my young students was sad because I had so much invested in them. I told them I was leaving to chase my dreams and I hope that they are inspired by that. The knowledge that I have gained through the Miss South Africa process to date has been invaluable and none of this would have happened if I hadn’t taken a leap of faith. I now want to focus 100 percent on this journey until the finale and enjoy every minute of it.”
Lebogang Mahlangu (26) is from Soshanguve in Tshwane, Gauteng, and works for a multinational FMCG company as a procurement specialist. She has a BSc food science degree from Stellenbosch University. Mahlangu is the contestant who best understands the pressure of making Top 10 having been in the same position in 2020: “I entered again because I believe that I have both the heart and the spirit to take the crown. I have a corporate job but am only really happy when I am doing something that has an impact on someone else. I believe I am more prepared this time around and I am putting everything I have into it. Meeting all the contestants does solidify what this platform achieves.”
Luvé Meyer (25) comes from Brackenfell in Cape Town in the Western Cape. She has a bachelor of health science and social services degree and an honours degree in psychology from the University of South Africa. She is a full-time model and small business co-owner. “I was truly shocked when my name was announced as a Top 10 finalist this year. It was a validation of entering again. I always knew I would regret it if I didn’t try once more. I have grown so much as a person and have so much more confidence.”
Luyanda Zuma (20) is from Maritzburg KwaZulu-Natal and is an international model, entrepreneur and a final year bachelor of live performance student at AFDA. Zuma explains: “I am thrilled to have made the Top 10. I struggled with self-acceptance when I grew up and being put into a certain category that I didn’t want to be in. It took a lot for me to love myself and show others that it is possible to follow your dreams and chase your heart. There must be something in the water in Maritzburg. I am thrilled to be continuing on this journey with Ayanda (Thabethe). We don’t regard each other as competition but rather as pillars to strengthen each other because we are working towards the same goal.”
Ndavi Nokeri (23) comes from Tzaneen in Limpopo. She has a BCom investment management degree from the University of Pretoria and is currently working for an asset management firm. Nokeri was overwhelmed to be voted the People’s Choice: “Having the support of my province and its people means so much to me. They are the shoulders I am standing on today. I am grateful for the growth that I’ve experienced throughout the Top 30 journey; I didn’t realise I would learn so much in such a short space of time. The workshops were empowering and have really helped us all become the best versions of ourselves. I know that I have to show up 100 percent every time. I am proof that even someone from a small village and humble beginnings can achieve their ambitions and show that their dreams are valid.”
Pearl Ntshehi (25) was born and raised in Mamelodi but currently lives in Centurion in Tshwane, Gauteng. She is a candidate attorney and has BCom law, BCom honours and LLB degrees. Ntshehi explains that she made Top 30 last year and is ecstatic to make Top 10 this time around: “I realise now that I wasn’t ready last year and this time I have a different sense of self. I decided I was resilient, had grown as a person and that it was right to enter again. I would like to be a representative of the whole of South Africa and touch as many lives as I can.”
Tamsyn Jack (25), from Somerset West in the Western Cape, is an entrepreneur working with some of South Africa’s leading start-ups and small businesses. She graduated with a food science degree from the University of Stellenbosch. Says Jack: “When I finished my final interview with the judges, I walked out hoping that they had got my essence and understood who I was as a person. Making it into the Top 10 is confirmation that they did. I am over the moon and grateful to be on this journey. I have always been a fan of Miss South Africa but only when I got engaged last year did I realise that I didn’t want to start this new phase of my life without entering into the pageant. I am at my happiest when I am serving others and this is an incredible leadership platform to do just that. I am looking forward to the finale and, although I don’t know exactly what to expect, I just want to stay true to myself and be authentic.”
The Miss South Africa pageant is back in Gauteng this year with the 2022 winner set to be crowned at Sun International’s flagship venue, the SunBet Arena at Time Square, Pretoria. It is scheduled to take place on August 13.