Johannesburg – Miss SA Ndavi Nokeri has been hailed for making it to the last 16 of the 2023 Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans, which was won by 28-year-old Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, a fashion designer, model, and sewing instructor from Texas.
Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel, and Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez were second and third respectively.
Miss South made it to the top 16 out of 84 most beautiful women in the world who competed in the 71st annual Miss Universe pageant.
Speaking after the crowning of the new Miss Universe, Limpopo Sport, Arts and Culture MEC Nakedi Kekana said Ndavi was “still our pride” and Ambassador.
“Reaching the top 16 of this world pageant is not a small achievement by any chance,” Kekana said, adding that Ndavi had made “South Africa, in particular Limpopo, proud of such a feat”.
“You could see she held her head and the South African flag high on that stage illustrated with not less than 84 beauties from across the globe.”
Ndavi, who hails from Gavaza village near Tzaneen in Limpopo is the third Miss Limpopo to wear the Miss SA crown in six years.
Commenting on her achievement, Ndavi said: “I know that I gave it my all and the Miss Universe experience will be something I will never forget. I am looking forward to returning to South Africa to complete my reign and my advocacy campaign Ed-Unite”.
“I would like to congratulate R’Bonney who is a worthy winner and is going to be a wonderful Miss Universe, I want to thank everyone for their wonderful support, and I am proud of what I have accomplished.”
Being one of the older contestants, R’Bonney candidly spoke about age in the top five round saying: “For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old.”
She added: “And that is the oldest age to compete. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is ‘if not now, then when?’ Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday – but it’s now. The time is now.”
Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete this year.