Johannesburg - Two Gauteng Miss South Africa hopefuls are one step closer to the coveted crown as they this week celebrated making the prestigious national beauty pageant’s Top 12.
And Lebohang Raputsoe from Sharpeville, Vereeniging as well as Bryoni Govender from Kempton Park, are now counting down the days to the grand finale which is set to take place later this year.
“The feeling of being chosen amongst a group of incredible women testifies to the reality that dreams do come true,” 24-year-old Human Resources (HR) practitioner Raputsoe said.
Govender shared similar sentiments and added that making the Top 12 is one step closer to reaching her ultimate goal.
“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,” the 26-year-old qualified lawyer added.
And while both are eager to take on the esteemed role, they insist that they also hope to Miss the SA platform to advance the betterment of the nation’s citizens.
“Being crowned will render me a platform to communicate widely with the youth as well as for women to have confidence in themselves in working hard to achieve their goals,” Raputsoe told The Saturday Star.
“It will further open up doors to create sustainable partnerships and collaborations that will assist in better influencing, motivating and capacitating youth and to help them optimise their full potential.”
The 24-year-old, who recently started an NPO called the ABC Community which stands for Articulation, Branding, and Confidence, which aligns with the community vision to promote sustainable development and self-development of youth, added that her Miss SA approach to lead is sustainable.
“It would focus on the holistic progression and development of youth through promoting quality education, access to resources and the workplace and to address the issues of importance that pertain to the outcome of their futures.
“I will advocate for the provision of opportunities for youth to be accommodated in early programmes dealing with avoidance in any activities that may enable social deviation,” she said.
“It is also important to note that education starts at home, encouraging youth developing emotional connections to their overall learning experience and supporting them to finish what they start is also part of what I advocate and all that is said above is what I would like to be remembered for.”
Meanwhile, Govender, who made the competition’s top12 in 2018, added that being crowned Miss SA would mean that her story would be heard.
“I would hope to inspire every South African woman out there who is chasing a dream and if I were to win Miss South Africa, I want to be remembered for creating my own narrative and for never giving up on myself.”
“If my journey could inspire just one woman to never give up on themself and their dream for their life, I would be the happiest.”
Raputsoe and Govender also believe that their careers have already prepared them for the Miss SA title.
Raputsoe explained that she decided to pursue a career in HR in order to contribute to human capital effectiveness and this has enabled her to understand the criteria needed for progress.
“I believe that I can use this knowledge to help with providing vital information and assist with skills development, possible future job opportunities and to guide youth through a holistic developmental perspective to ease their transition into the workplace.”
Govender, a qualified lawyer who is currently working as a trainee associate while waiting for admission to become an attorney, said her profession can also assist her in the Miss SA role.
“I have always enjoyed solving problems, and studied law because I saw myself fit into the category of being a lawyer,” she said.
“Being a lawyer taught me interpersonal skills, which I think is vital as a future Miss South Africa.”
And while the Gauteng Miss SA top 12 finalists are thrilled about using the beauty pageant’s platform to advance the nation, taking the crown is something they both dreamt of.
“I entered Miss SA because I will never give up on myself, especially my dreams,” Govender said.
“This is the story which I want to use the platform to convey and I would advise aspiring entrants to do the same, and refuse to allow their circumstances to define their destinations.”
Raputsoe believes that Miss SA is an intellectually driven woman who serves with conviction, intention and dignity.
"Humble by nature and a powerhouse of note, which speaks to the kind of individual I am. I have entered this year because I believe in progress and see change and I have already taken steps to start the ABC community and will use the platform to continue my duty to champion youth development and empowerment.”
Raputsoe and Govender are joined by three other Gauteng Miss SA top 12 finalists. The others include Ané Oosthuysen, Natasha Joubert and Lungo Katete, who was the People's Choice winner.
The remainder of the Top 12 represent four other provinces. This includes the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape with two each while the North West boasts one finalist. Together, they are an impressive group and include a lawyer, a sport scientist, a pharmacist and a four time graduate who has degrees in psychology and medical sociology.
The 2023 winner will be crowned at Sun International’s flagship venue, the SunBet Arena at Time Square, Pretoria on August 13. It promises to be a spectacular and entertainment-packed show and will fittingly take place during Women’s Month.
Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International. And for the first time in the history of the beauty pageant, rules changes allowed both married women and those with children to enter:. This meant that 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.
Meanwhile, 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 before. In the five-part 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.