Durban - The Miss South Africa Organisation has announced its top 30 contestants, with four among these representing KwaZulu-Natal.
The KZN contestants are Luyanda Zuma, 20, Lisanne Lazarus, 26, Ayanda Thabethe, 22, and Alyssa Smith, 24.
Zuma is from Pietermaritzburg and is an international model, entrepreneur and a final-year bachelor of live performance student at AFDA, a school for creatives.
Zuma, who describes herself as unapologetic, determined and resilient, said what she loved most about KZN was how united the people living there were and how deep-rooted everyone was. She believed what made her unique was her ability to inspire and motivate others without being physically present.
She added that the diversity of culture in South Africa fascinated her and she wished to remove as many homeless women as possible off the streets and provide better living conditions for them.
Smith, also from Pietermaritzburg, said she grew up in a household led by women. She said she was sure that she would make it through as she held a spirit of excellence inside her.
Smith is a corporate lawyer, specialising in private equity fund formation. She studied at the University of the Free State and Varsity College and obtained her degree with summa cum laude. She said her aim in entering the pageant was to inspire more people and to let them know that dreams were possible.
“I am representing the little girls from across the road, neighbours and friends that became family, women of colour, as well as the elders of my community,” said Smith. She said she enjoyed travelling and poetry.
Thabethe, also from Pietermaritzburg, said she got her strength from her parents who always reminded her that she could achieve anything. She is pursuing a degree in dietetics and human nutrition at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
She said she always pictured herself as a role model for young girls. She recently started a campaign called Nyakazani, which helps the community get involved in issues happening around them.
The last contestant from KZN is Lazarus, who said she was passionate about South Africa, its people and its potential. She defined success as an act of taking active steps in the right direction to achieve the goals one wants. Lazarus said she overcame all her fears when she entered the pageant.
She is from eManzimtoti and holds a degree in broadcast journalism which she obtained from the Durban University of Technology, where she graduated cum laude.