This year’s Top 12 Miss South Africa 2023 finalists have been announced
The countdown to this year’s Miss South Africa has began, where the new titleholder will be crowned at Sun International’s flagship venue, the SunBet Arena at Time Square, Pretoria, on August 13. Gauteng tops the list with five contestants, including Lungo Katete from Midrand, a master’s degree graduate who won the People’s Vote.
The Miss South Africa Top 12 finalists are:
- Ané Oosthuysen (25), from Vanderbijlpark, Vaal Triangle in Gauteng, is a primary school teacher and a four-time graduate with degrees in Psychology and Medical Sociology. She is a multifaceted woman with a big passion to bring about change in her community. Working with the youth has shown her that issues related to bullying and living up to expectations of society are so prevalent in our society today and there is a real need to empower and educate the youth. She hopes to be this vessel for change.
“Making the Top 12 has been life changing to say the least. I have always dreamt about this moment and to finally have the opportunity to live it out is so surreal. It reaffirms my belief in myself and my advocacy. I am excited to see how this journey will unfold and, even though it has been a bit stressful and challenging, it’s been so rewarding. Meeting and spending time with my fellow contestants has been incredible. I have been able to cultivate deep bonds with many of them and I am very grateful for that. I am really so ready for what is to come next!”
- Anke Rothmann (23) is a pharmacist intern representing the Northern Cape. She obtained her bachelor of pharmacy degree from the North West University in Potchefstroom. She loves being spontaneous and going on adventures, watching Friends and listening to Taylor Swift. Anke aspires to be someone who can help others redefine what is important and meaningful in life and inspire them to attach worth to more than just what is external.
“When it was announced that I was part of the Top 12 for Miss South Africa 2023, it was the biggest moment of disbelief I have ever experienced in my life. I will never get used to this constant feeling of gratitude that I have in my heart. The fact that this journey has given me the chance to get to know women with such beautiful characters is something that will always be remembered.”
- Bryoni Govender (26) is from Kempton Park in Gauteng and is a qualified lawyer working as a trainee associate while awaiting admission to become an attorney. She describes herself as graceful, ambitious and courageous, and loves a good mutton curry on the weekend. She adores animals but dogs are her favourite. She also loves travelling and would like to have a conversation with Angelina Jolie because of the way she uses her platform as an actress for women empowerment by shining light on women and girls’ rights around the world.
“When I was told that I made the Top 12, I felt a feeling of relief because I worked extremely hard to make sure I was prepared for the judging. I am excited and determined to continue with my Miss South Africa journey because I have found confidence in my authentic self and now, more than ever, I am ready to become an ambassador for South Africa. Making the Top 12 is just one step closer to reaching my goal.”
- Homba Mazaleni (23), from Gonubie, East London in the Eastern Cape, is a qualified sport scientist and student intern at the University of the Western Cape. She pursued biokinetics to help people recover from injuries and sickness, and it gives her great satisfaction to help them gain the tools they need to pursue their own goals and passions. She also loves to binge-watch a good series.
“To being the square peg in the round hole! I am overwhelmed with joy and pure gratitude. Growing up, I’d always wonder how it would feel to walk through the doors of the Miss South Africa family and now I can proudly say to that younger version of myself that I have a place and proudly belong to this ground-breaking family. None of this would be possible without the incredible support I have received from my family, friends and loved ones. Your belief in me and your unwavering support have been my driving force. I am deeply grateful for each and every one of you. The journey ahead promises to be an incredible adventure, full of personal growth, empowerment and leadership development. I am ready to embrace every moment, to truly learn, to grow, and to use my voice to help actively transform the landscape of what we have deemed to be equal accessibility to health and wellness. What an amazing feeling knowing you are destined to break boundaries.”
- Jordan van der Vyver (27), from Durbanville, Western Cape, is a model and businesswoman who recently embarked on an entrepreneurial journey as the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of an online pioneering platform. She aims to provide aspiring individuals with invaluable insights, expert advice and comprehensive resources. Her prime concern is cultivating an inclusive society.
“As the first married contestant, I am immensely grateful and overwhelmed with excitement for making it into the Top 12. Being here is ground-breaking and a huge honour. I am thrilled to represent women who were once excluded from pursuing and realising their dreams due to societal norms. The Miss South Africa platform stands as a trailblazer in the pageant industry, and the opportunity to be a part of this process again is truly invaluable. It ignites a renewed sense of purpose and fuels my determination to make a meaningful impact.”
- Keaoleboga Nkashe (27), from Itsoseng in the North West, is an educator, student and model. She describes herself as a lifelong learner with a great sense of humour that connects people. She is an inclusion activist who is passionate about the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community and the rights of children. Her lifelong dream is to head up kindergartens across the African continent that focus on Steam education.
“Coming back to do Miss South Africa was way harder than it was the first time. This time around I truly wanted the judges to see that alongside this fun, courageous and humorous person that there’s a woman who is extremely smart, focused and who refuses to give up until her purpose is realised. Miss South Africa is a destiny thing and being given the opportunity to walk the stage once again is a testament on its own to how life changing and incredible this organisation is. I am more than excited to be a part of the Top 12 and work alongside building and fostering new relationships and I cannot wait to share my heart with the rest of South Africa and truly show how capable I am for this role.”
- Lebohang Raputsoe (24) is from Sharpeville, Vereeniging in Gauteng, and works as an HR practitioner. She is registered as an HR professional with SABPP and holds a master’s degree in human resources management and degrees in Industrial psychology and labour relations management. She stands for the progression of youth, focusing on youth empowerment and development.
“I can almost feel the excitement all over again when were told we have made it into the Top 12. The feeling of being chosen amongst a group of an incredible women testifies to the reality that dreams do come true. The journey so far has stretched my potential and the sisterhood is a bond that keeps deepening. I am truly grateful to be part of the Top 12.”
- Levern “Donnatella” José (23), from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, is a candidate property practitioner, a BCom law student at Eduvos Pretoria and an entrepreneur. She is a woman of resolve, grace and learning. She would love to collaborate with the Minister of Small Business Development and Minister of Employment and Labour to explore the economic viability of women and youth in South Africa.
“My journey was not easy and that is what makes it so worth it. I was overwhelmed by a wave of emotions when I found out I made it to the Top 12. I am extremely proud of myself for being vulnerable and honest in my interview. The Miss South Africa Organisation has amazed me so much by the support offered and simply creating a safe and comfortable space for me to be my authentic self.”
- Lungo Katete (26) from Midrand in Johannesburg, Gauteng, is a creative at heart with a flair for all things design. This led her to achieve her bachelors, honours and master’s degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand. She was the People’s Vote winner. She considers herself to be very graceful, resilient, ambitious, charismatic and loves to explore her creative side through music.
“Ever since I was a little girl, entering Miss South Africa has been my ultimate dream. When I was told that I had been selected to be a part of the Top 12, I couldn’t contain my emotions and burst into tears. In that moment, I realised that the little girl who had spent her entire life yearning to be among the Miss South Africa Top 12 and wear the crown was now living in that very reality. The word ‘ecstatic’ falls short of capturing my overwhelming happiness because at this moment, I am truly living in the dream I have always longed for.”
- Melissa Nayimuli (27) from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape, was born in a multi-cultural home to a Xhosa mother and Ugandan father. She is a passionate storyteller and currently works as a television and film creative producer in Johannesburg. Melissa is passionate about finding solutions to unify Africans, break the stereotypes and celebrate diversity, as she believes there is more power and strength in unity.
“A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has happened again for me. To say I am grateful for being selected as a Top 12 finalist for Miss South Africa 2023 is an understatement. This year’s Top 30 was incredible. Being surrounded by such intelligent, powerful and purposeful women has been an uplifting experience. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from them and I look forward to what the next chapter of this journey has in store for me and the 11 other women I have the pleasure of working with. Thank you to everyone who has lent me their time. Thank you to everyone who voted, showered me with words of love, encouragement and most importantly, their kindness. I love our beautiful nation; that is why I remain confident and committed in my message of unity and finding strength in our diversity.
- Nande Mabala (25), from Zwelethemba, Worcester in the Western Cape, is a model, micro-influencer, philanthropist and a triple major BA Arts graduate. She believes her courage, tenacity and drive have moulded her into the woman she is today. She values having pride in her story and where she comes from because it is what helps build community with people from all walks of life.
“Making it to the Top 12 has been an affirmation that my dreams are valid and they are attainable. My standout moment has to be when I was told that I had made it in to the Top 12. I cried tears of victory. I am so proud of myself; I was able to show the judges my heart and they saw something in me. They believed in my advocacy and my capabilities. I am surrounded by incredible women from whom I can learn. The journey so far has been nothing short of amazing, I have learned a lot about myself and my capabilities already. It has taken me out of my comfort zone in the best way.”
- Natasha Joubert (25), from Tshwane in Gauteng, is a BCom Marketing Management graduate and is the owner and fashion designer of Natalia Jefferys, a company she started when she was 19. She has never let her circumstances define her future and wants to enable others to also learn independence and creating their own narrative. She enjoys spending time in nature, hiking and being with loved ones.
“It feels surreal being back and being granted a second chance! I know this is a testimony I need to share and an incredible message: ‘You’re never a product of your circumstances, you’re a product of your choices.’ I felt incredible when I walked out of my interview knowing I wore my heart on my sleeve. I want to fully take on these new challenges, grow and evolve even more as a women, but at the same time letting go and enjoy every second! Our group of finalists are fierce! Let me tell you that! I will be forever grateful for this second chance!”
The selection panel who selected the Top 12 are former Miss South Africa title holder Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala (2010), who has served before as a judge; Nobukhosi Nkosi, the award-winning fashion designer and stylist who is the brains behind the brand Khosi Nkosi and CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation, Stephanie Weil.
Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International.