Johannesburg – Pageant organisers have named the top 30 contestants vying for the coveted title of Miss South Africa 2023.
They come from all of South Africa’s nine provinces with Gauteng leading the field with nine contestants (with two from Tshwane); the Western Cape has five; KwaZulu Natal has four; the Eastern Cape and North West each are represented by three contestants; the Northern Cape and Limpopo each have two while Mpumalanga and Free State have one.
“The 30 hopefuls are an impressive and diverse group and include B Com, science and psychology graduates as well as lawyers, teachers, architectural students, a film creative and a student pilot,” said a statement issued by Ninesquared Communications and Events on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation.
“This year’s rules changes allowed both married women and those with children to enter. Both Jordan van der Vyver and Nicole Eksteen, who placed in this year’s Top 30, are married while Rozelle Bester has a five-year-old son.”
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A number are no strangers to the Miss South Africa pageant stage.
Natasha Joubert represented the country at Miss Universe after she made the Top 3 in 2020.
Previously placed in the top 10 were Van der Vyver (2020), Keaoleboga Nkashe (2022) and Melissa Nayimuli (2020), while Bryoni Govender made the Top 12 in 2018.
The Miss South Africa Top 30 finalists are (in alphabetical order):
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.
Anelisa Nxele (22), from iNanda, Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, is a model and graduated with a Social Sciences degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, majoring in Economics. She defines herself as purposeful, gracious and a powerhouse with a go-getter mindset. She enjoys watching beauty and lifestyle content and would love to meet the first black African billionaire, Patrice Motsepe and have conversations about mitigating poverty through sustainable community development.
Angie Mkwanazi (23), from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, is a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Pretoria. She intends to use her qualification to get into decision-making rooms to be a voice for the many communities that raised her. She is a huge Big Bang Theory fan; believes she is hilarious and enjoys Eskort bacon only.
Anke Rothmann (23) is a pharmacist intern who is 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.
Barbara Moagi (22), from Mahikeng in North West, is a digital content creator and second year digital marketing student at Vega School. She is passionate about using storytelling as a force for good and describes herself as versatile — ready and equal for anything. She loves a good dinner dish for breakfast, particularly “chotlho le ting” and, given the chance, she’d share her meal with Michelle Obama.
Bryoni Govender (26) is from Johannesburg and is a qualified lawyer working as a trainee associate, whilst 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.
Carmen Barnard (24) is representing Gauteng. She is a model, dog lover and has a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of South Africa. Carmen has become known for her critical thinking and passion for fostering diversity and inclusivity and uses her platform to promote female leadership and empowerment. She always makes time for her passions which includes her love of pasta which she would happily eat every day.
Hestie Jooste (25), from Pretoria in Gauteng. Picture this: a spunky financial advisor who’s always surrounded by her loving family and fun friends. She’s confident and charismatic, and never shies away from a challenge. Her main crush is chocolate, but that doesn’t stop her from working hard and striving for success through perseverance. With her expert financial advice and positive outlook on life, she helps her clients reach their financial goals while spreading joy and love wherever she goes.
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.
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.
Karla Pienaar (23) is from the beautiful Harties community in the North West. She is a Social Science and Geography teacher at Hartbeespoort High School. She describes herself as someone who is soft-spoken and passionate. She strives to develop leaders with a radiant inner beauty, credibility that matters and hopes to leave a profound impact on others. Being an authentic and trusted voice, she wants to shape the world for the better.
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.
Khanya Desi (22) From Frankfort Location, Qonce in the Eastern Cape, is a model and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in screenwriting from AFDA Johannesburg. She describes herself as the light that shines through the storm, wind and rain. Humble and simple, she says she would love to collaborate with the ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development to provide ways of bringing support and encouragement for people to help themselves and exposure to the lives of people living in poverty.
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, focussing on youth empowerment and development.
Lerato Maponya (26) is from Johannesburg, Gauteng, but was born in Soweto. She graduated in International Relations from the University of Pretoria and currently works as an HR Manager in the emergency service industry. She has always been passionate about philanthropy and giving back to her community. She’s a MARVEL fan who loves trying different restaurants. If she is not watching MasterChef, she is pretending to be the chef in her own cooking show which she calls “That’s how you cook it”.
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.
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 degrees in Architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand. She considers herself to be very graceful, resilient, ambitious, charismatic and loves to explore her creative side through music.
Malandi Marais (21), is from Citrusdal in the Western Cape. She is a BCom Law graduate and is currently a post-graduate LLB student at Stellenbosch University. She describes herself as hard-working, passionate and joyful. She would be honoured to meet with Justice Madlanga of the Constitutional Court to discuss how to ensure that fundamental human rights are upheld, thereby enhancing social prosperity.
Mbali Mbalu (25) from Mandalay, Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town is a marketing manager and consultant in the hospitality and entertainment industry, as well as an entrepreneur. She hopes to inspire the youth to reach their greatest potential. Her hobbies include traveling and she hopes to visit 30 countries before the age of 30.
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.
Michelle Kruger (28) from Mpumalanga, is a Candidate Attorney and model. She has Bachelor of Laws, and Bachelor of Arts in Law degrees from the University of Pretoria.
If she had the opportunity to have lunch with anyone famous, it would be with Mmusi Maimane because, as an aspiring politician, she would love to pick his brain on politics and ask him what his advice would be to young, aspiring leaders.
Naledi Mara (23), comes from a township called Seshego in Limpopo. She holds a BA degree (criminology and psychology) from the University of Limpopo. She strongly believes in the power of practising true citizenship in the ever-evolving South Africa and aims to model this concept through the implementation of affirmative actions towards young women affected by high unemployment rates and lack of job creation.
Nande Mabala (25), from Zwelethemba, Worcester in Cape Town, 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.
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.
Ndyebo Lurayi (26) is from Midrand, Johannesburg and is the founder of Balleriia and Shot By Yebs. She is also a student pilot. Ndyebo is waiting graduation day to receive her Bachelor of Arts Degree from UNISA. Her passion is child development, and she tutors young children. She’s an avid cook and loves food.
Nicole Eksteen (28) is from the beautiful winelands in the Western Cape. She has an honours degree in fashion design and is currently the project manager for a design and marketing agency. Nicole is an adrenaline junkie who loves to push herself to new heights. She is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys hiking, running and extreme sports like skydiving and bungee jumping. You will seldom find Nicole without a smile on her face.
Oreabetse “Rea” Molefe (23), is from Northam, Limpopo. She is an International Relations student at UNISA and in 2022 completed a Climate Change and Health Certification at Yale University. Rea is an environmentalist, and believes that we can all make a positive impact on the environment, no matter how small our actions may seem. If she could watch one movie for the rest of her life, it would be The Lion King.
Rozelle Bester (27) hails from the Free State and is a single mother working as a sales representative. She is also a model and make-up artist and is studying for her bachelor’s degree in education. She loves listening to podcasts, travelling and drinking coffee. Rozelle is passionate about the education and support for single mothers who suffer from mental disorders.
Sibusisiwe Zwane (20), from Shelly Beach, Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal is a final year architecture student at UKZN and describes herself as a jill-of-all-trades. She’d love to start her own architecture firm and construction company and work with the government to create sustainable and economic housing projects that will eradicate homelessness in South Africa.
Thandolwenkosi Hadebe (22), who hails from Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal, is a filmmaker who graduated in film and live performance at AFDA and recently completed her honours studies in innovation. She describes herself as a playful and light-hearted spirit and says she is a rural girl at heart who loves her culture and prides herself in her background and who she is.
Miss South Africa fans can vote for their favourite on the Miss South Africa App and help advance them in the competition. Voting opens 20h00 on May 24 and closes on 13h00 on May 28. The finalists will be announced in June via the Miss South Africa App which can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play store.
Viewers will get to meet the finalists in Crown Chasers, a full-blown and thrilling reality TV show, revealing the Miss South Africa competition as it’s never been seen
it before. In the 5 x 60-minute series, those competing for the crown will be placed in real life Miss South Africa scenarios that include several challenges, based on the four pillars of Miss South Africa – duty, championship, empowerment and beauty.