KwaZulu-Natal beauty Zabelo Hlabisa was crowned Miss Earth 2023 at Southern Sun Sandton on September 9.
Hlabisa stood out and impressed the judging panel, which included Zizo Tshwete, JJ Tabane, Abigail Visagie and Leanne Manas.
Hlabisa said being on Miss Earth SA helped her build relationships that will benefit her purpose of saving the environment.
“Miss Earth means being an ambassador of change, an agent of change and understanding that you are one with an environment, so you need to take care of it so that it also takes care of you.
“My highlight for Miss Earth 2023 has been the relationships I’ve made out of this competition and the sisterhood. I believe that I am always faced with so many challenges because I’m one person who is a hard worker,” said Hlabisa.
Her passion for saving the environment and wanting to teach people how to take care of their environment is what scored her most points.
“We have so many environmental issues, and many people don’t know about that. And if there’s anyone out there who can use their voice to encourage people to be part of this wonderful programme,” she said in an interview with eNCA.
Hlabisa said she would use her platform to educate people about the impact of climate change.
“I want to embark on roadshows introducing green infrastructure solutions, especially to schools and low-income communities, on the impact of climate change.
“Also, Miss Earth South Africa is an organisation that focuses more on empowering young women and taking care of the environment and its people because you cannot just take care of the environment and forget the people who live in it.”
Hlabisa will work with the first runner-up Belindé Schreuder from Centurion in Pretoria, whose objective is to promote tree plantings, conservation and clean air policies.
Duduzile Mbobo and Zama Mbatha, who are the second and third runners-up, respectively, will also play their part in saving the environment.