Meet the Miss South Africa top 15

The top 15 competing for the Miss South Africa 2020 crown has been announced.

Miss South Africa top 15 for 2020: Top row left to right: Anarzade Omar (Gauteng), Busisiwe Mmotla (Gauteng), Melissa Nayimuli (Eastern Cape), Savannah Schutzler (Western Cape) and Karishma Ramdev (KZN). Middle row left to right: Matsepo Sithole (KZN), Natasha Joubert (Gauteng), Shudufhadzo Musida (Limpopo), Olin-Shae De La Cruz (Gauteng) and Jordan van der Vyver (Western Cape). Bottom row left to right: Thato Mosehle (North West), Palesa Keswa (Free State), Chantelle Pretorius (Gauteng), Lebogang Mahlangu (Gauteng) and Aphelele Mbiyo (Eastern Cape). Photographs by Willem Botha, Yuveer Karunchund, SJ Van Zyl and Will Brown. All edited by Willem Botha. Image: MissSA

The contestants represent seven provinces- Gauteng has six semi-finalists (with three from Tshwane and one from Soweto), followed by the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape with two each while the Free State, Limpopo and North West each has one entrant.

They were introduced by the reigning Miss South Africa, Sasha-Lee Olivier, in a virtual public reveal. The public now has the chance to vote to ensure that their favourite contestant progresses to the finale which is scheduled to take place in the last quarter of the year.

The semi-finalists are an impressive group of women and include two medical doctors, marketing specialists, international models, a food scientist, an actress and business, economic and law students.

The top 15 are (in alphabetical order):

Anazarde Omar (21) is from Crown Gardens in Johannesburg and has a BA Strategic Communication in Marketing from the University of Johannesburg. She enjoys cooking and recently taught herself how to make sushi because the craving was real during lockdown. She admires Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé and would love to meet Trevor Noah.
Voting number: 1


Aphelele Mbiyo (24) was born in Mthata and raised in Port Elizabeth but currently lives in Lonehill, Johannesburg. She holds a BA in Integrated Marketing Communications and describes herself as calm, positive and ambitious. She loves to host dinners parties as she enjoys bringing people together over good food and says people would be surprised to hear that she plays the trombone.
Voting number: 2


Busisiwe Mmotla (27) hails from Soweto and is a Senior and FET Phase teacher, who graduated from the University of Johannesburg in 2017 with a Bachelor of Education degree. She is currently studying towards a Diploma in Personal Training at Trifocus Fitness Academy with the goal of becoming a wellness coach. She was previously crowned Miss Soweto in 2017 and won USN Face of Fitness 2019. Her favourite meal is spaghetti bolognaise and her dream destination is Paris, France.
Voting number: 3


Chantelle Pretorius (24) from Tshwane, Gauteng, is a full-time model and spends six to nine months a year working in Europe. She is also finishing her B.Com Business Management degree through Unisa and completed a diploma in nutrition at the Blackford Centre in the UK. If she won the Miss South Africa crown and was able to meet one person, it would be Nataniël because of his sense of humour, his cooking and the way he is always unapologetically himself.
Voting number: 4


Jordan van der Vyver (24) comes from Greenpoint in Cape Town and is an international model, who usually spends half the year working in the US. The lockdown has taught her to appreciate the meaningful things in life. She is inspired by her mother, who is currently finishing her honours in psychology and has an older sister. Her role model is the late Audrey Hepburn and it was because of meeting Jo-Ann Strauss that she entered the pageant.
Voting number: 5


Karishma Ramdev (25) comes from Chatsworth in KwaZulu Natal but lives in Johannesburg where she is a qualified medical doctor working at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. She shared that she is blessed to have had her family as her support structure during this time as working on the frontline has been stressful as they are one of the main COVID hospitals dealing with the coronavirus. If she wins Miss SA, she stated that she would like to meet Queen Elizabeth II so that she could ask her advice on how to keep her crown shiny!
Voting number: 6


Lebogang Mahlangu (24) from Soshanguve, Gauteng, is a food scientist working in research and development for a large multi-national. She is also a social entrepreneur and owns a community bakery in Soshanguve. She loves the feeling of adrenalin and adventure and enjoys exploring new hiking routes, running and exercising. She shared that people would be surprised to learn that she was once an aspiring professional soccer player, represented Gauteng and went to a sports school in hopes of playing for Banyana Banyana!
Voting number: 7


Matsepo Sithole (21) is from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal and is a full-time fourth-year law student at the University of Pretoria. Her goal in getting her degree is transformation and justice in South Africa. She noted that current Miss SA, Sasha-Lee Olivier has inspired her to remind her why it is so important to be comfortable in your own skin and that every shape and size that women come in are nothing but beautiful. She describes herself as an introvert but also optimistic, caring and assertive.
Voting number: 8


Melissa Nayimuli (24) from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape now lives in Sunninghill, Joburg where she works as an account manager for a marketing agency. She has a BA in Motion Picture Medium from AFDA and majored in television writing. Her role models are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, because she is not afraid to speak the truth no matter the cost and Ava DuVerney, whose commitment to writing stories that challenge the way one sees the world and thinks is inspiring.
Voting number: 9


Natasha Joubert from Centurion, Tshwane, Gauteng is a Public Relations Officer at RFJ Inc Attorneys and founder and owner of Natalia Jefferys (Pty) Ltd. The 22-year-old has a B.Com Marketing Management Graduate from Boston City Campus. She was a tomboy as a little girl and would much rather play outside with boys and was the only girl in her karate class. She describes herself as unwavering, compassionate and ambitious and revealed that her guilty pleasure is salted caramel Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Voting number: 10


Olin-Shae De La Cruz (26) comes from Bryanston, Gauteng and is in her final year of a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Media Operations Management at Boston Media House. She co-founded her own marketing company called Swish EP, works as an account manager for a media and advertising company, is a netball coach on weekends with ActionKidzSA and is also a model represented by Pace Model Management. Her celebrity crush is Ricky Whittle.
Voting number: 11


Palesa Keswa (23) is from Sasolburg in the Free State and has an undergraduate degree in economics and risk management. She is currently doing her honours in economics at the North West University. She has spent lockdown conducting research for her dissertation, attending online classes and completing assignments. She’d love to meet Siya Kholisi, is a sucker for lamb chops and mash and has crushes on Maps Maponyane and Michael B Jordan.
Voting number: 12


Savannah Schutzler (24), from Rondebosch in the Western Cape, is an actress, who graduated with a BA Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Stellenbosch University. She then went to AFDA and graduated with honours in live performance. She has also completed a diploma in media makeup and styling. Her family live in Swaziland and she has one brother. She is an accomplished equestrian who doesn’t have a coccyx following a horse-riding accident.
Voting number: 13


Shudufhadzo Musida (23) comes from Ha-Masia in Limpopo and has a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Pretoria. She is currently doing a BA Honours in International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand. Musida told organisers that her role models include Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Toni Morrison, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Gcuka and Amina J Mohammed. In her spare time, she reads, sings and practices the keyboard.
Voting number: 14


Thato Mosehle (25) from Klerksdorp in the North West is a medical doctor currently completing her internship with the aim of becoming an anaesthesiologist. She has won numerous pageants which she started entering after a knee injury halted her ambition to be a Protea netball player. She loves burgers, enjoys knitting scarves, trying new recipes, watching make-up tutorials and perfecting her make-up skills on herself and friends. S
Voting number: 15


Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation, said, “We were delighted with the calibre of entries and the judges, broadcaster, Anele Mdoda and former Miss South Africa title holders, Bokang Montjane-Tshabalala, Liesl Laurie and Adè van Heerden, had an incredibly tough job. This top 15 is an impressive group and I think South Africa is going to fall in love with them.”

She went on to explain the process of running a pageant in the middle of a pandemic. “To take the official pictures of the top 15, we used the services of four photographers (Willem Botha, Yuveer Karunchund, SJ van Zyl and Will Brown) in two countries as Savannah has been in Swaziland, visiting her parents for the lockdown period. Willem Botha then edited the results to ensure that the pictures look as if they were taken at one photographic shoot by one photographer,” she added.

The public has embraced meeting the top 15 virtually.  “In fact, they’ve had more interaction with the pageant and the contestants in this time of Covid than before,” she revealed.

The public will now be able to vote for their favourite semi-finalists and determine who moves forward to the next round as a top 10 finalist. Voting for Miss South Africa opens on Thursday, June 25, at 9am and closes on July 16 at 11pm. The public votes will be audited along with the judges’ votes and the top 10 will be selected from here and announced at the end of July.

The Miss South Africa 2020 pageant finale will take place in the last quarter of the year and will be screened live on M-Net and Mzanzi Magic.

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with M-Net, Mzansi Magic, Sun International and Brand South Africa. Visit the Miss SA website more information.

Read original story on risingsunoverport.co.za