Durban – After years of indifference from the public, Miss South Africa is once again an interesting event and this is due to the international success and popularity of Miss SA 2011 and now pageant director, Melinda Bam and South Africa’s first Miss World in 40 years, Rolene Strauss.
The reigning Miss South Africa, Liesl Laurie and her runner-up, Refilwe Mthimunye have also done well, with Top 10 and Top 15 placements in Miss World and Miss Universe 2015, respectively.
With the pressure to emulate or do even better than their predecessors, this year’s finalists are just as good as the 2011 and 2014 years, which were won by Bam and Strauss, respectively.
To put it into perspective, it was easier to predict who would win in those two years than it is to predict who will walk away with the Miss South Africa 2016 crown on Saturday. But there are five ladies who are frontrunners for the crown and have the potential to take it all.
I roped in the Shanghai based Andre Sleigh, who is one of the most respected experts and commentators in the pageant world and whose website, Eye For Beauty is widely read by pageant fans.
From the twelve, we identified five contestants who are likely to make it to the top five.
Winner: Reabetswe Sechoaro, 22 from Pretoria East
Reabetswe is an absolute bombshell and she is my favourite for the crown. She reminds me of a young Naomi Campbell and I think she has a versatile look that would suit her well at both Miss Universe and Miss World. Most important, she’d bring a look to the Miss SA title that we haven’t had in a while: the supermodel type.
Rambi has a huge social media following and is getting a lot of buzz internationally, so I would say the judges would let a gem slip through their fingers if they do not crown her. She might not be the most confident speaker in the group, but she is humble, sweet and sincere. I believe this could be the start of a beautiful journey for her and I believe a year as Miss SA will help her to blossom and reach full potential.
Runner-Up: Sharon-Rose Khumalo, 25 from Pretoria
Sharon is so vivacious and has impressed me so much. I just love the new look the Miss SA Organisation has given her. She can go from sweet to diva in just a few poses. I think Sharon–Rose will impress the judges with her social work and dedication to what she believes in. I think she would be an excellent contender at Miss World. A lack of pageant experience might stand in her way though, but if the judges are looking for someone fresh and interesting, she could be the winner.
Runner-Up: Tayla Skye Robinson, 22 from Johannesburg
Tayla is a classic blonde beauty and has quite a few pageant titles under her belt. Although this makes her come across as too rehearsed at times, there’s no denying that she will know what to do when she steps out on an international stage. I think she would be a safe choice if the judges are looking for someone who is well-prepared for the role. If she wins, she should opt for Miss Universe.
Tayla held the Miss Teen World 2010 title, but the organiser of that pageant was sued by the Miss World Organisation for infringing on their trademark.
Finalist: Elizabeth Molapo, 23, from Bloemfontein
Elizabeth has a lot of potential and I believe that she is a force to be reckoned with, but I do have concerns about her styling.
I don’t think she has found just the right style for her as I do find her look slightly inconsistent at times. Should the judges crown her, it would be interesting to follow her journey to see how she evolved as her year of reign progresses. I think she could do well at Miss Universe or Miss World, but I do feel that she needs a bit more experience and has to come back and try again.
Finalist: Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, 23 from Mkhondo, Mpumalanga
Ntando ticks all the boxes. She is pretty, charming, bubbly, intelligent, well-spoken, humble… the list goes on. If the judges are looking for someone who will be ready to step in and fly, she might take the title.
Ntando would be a great Miss South Africa and ambassador for the brand and the title, but internationally she might struggle a bit. She would probably do better at Miss World than Miss Universe if she were to win.