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

The Miss South Africa 2020 Top 15 represent seven provinces – Gauteng has six semi-finalists (with three from Tshwane and one from Soweto), followed by the Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu 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) from Crown Gardens in Johannesburg has a BA Strategic Communication in Marketing from the University of Johannesburg and says 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.

She says: “It is an absolute honour to be a part of the Top 15 for Miss South Africa 2020 and be amongst a beautiful and strong group of ladies. I pinch myself every morning and cannot believe this is my reality. The journey so far has been so rewarding and exciting. Since everything is mostly virtual this year, the Miss South Africa Organisation has gone above and beyond to make the experience fun and memorable. I cannot wait for what is yet to come.”

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.

She says:” I feel incredibly honoured to be a part of the Top 15 for Miss South Africa. I am grateful to have been selected from more than 2000 entrants for the Top 35 and thrilled to make further progress. So far, the journey has been a range of mixed emotions – excitement, nervousness and anxiety – but I remain focused and I am ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and have an impact on society”

Voting number: 2

Busisiwe Mmotla (27) hails from Soweto and is a Senior & 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.

She says: “I feel very proud of myself as this is another step closer to the title of my dreams. It is so unbelievable at the same time; I pinch myself every morning. The journey is very eye opening because the Miss South Africa Organisation and the judges  asked me about my dreams, desires and thoughts. This was very new to me as no-one has really looked at me and asked me about my dreams or how I will achieve them.”

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.

She says: “I am extremely excited and overwhelmed that I get to continue with the Miss South Africa journey and cannot wait to share my heart with the country! I am ready for South Africa to get to know me better. The process has been very enjoyable so far and I’ve had the opportunity to push myself to new limits. The Miss South Africa Organisation has been amazing at managing the contest, despite the current logistic hurdles. I am excited for the road ahead.”

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.

She says: “I am truly overjoyed at being chosen as one of the Top 15! I am thankful for the opportunity to further join the Miss South Africa Organisation in facilitating positive change. My journey has been informative, gratifying and exciting. I have enjoyed all the tasks, videos and interviews, as well as virtually meeting everyone involved. During such a complex time in our world, this pageant has been a beacon of hope in my life. Continuing this journey, I could not be happier!”

Voting number: 5

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

She says: “Grateful is an understatement. I feel honoured to have been selected as one of the Top 15. Each girl has such amazing qualities and I am so happy to stand beside all of them representing strong women in South Africa; women who are ready to make a difference. The journey has been nerve-wracking but so wonderful. South Africa has been incredible and encouraging to me and I do not take it for granted. I cannot wait for the ride of a lifetime!

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 says 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!

She says: “It has been inspiring to see how my presence in the Top 35 has encouraged people to reach for their goals and fulfil their potential. Being part of Miss SA Top 15 will not only change my life, but I believe it will inspire the young women in my community to dream again. I am excited and hope that this shows everyone that they can achieve anything if they truly believe and put in the effort to make it happen.”

Voting number: 7

Matsepo Sithole (21) is from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal and is a full-time 4th year law student at the University of Pretoria. Her goal in getting her degree is transformation and justice in South Africa. She says 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.

She says: “I feel powerful because I have been given the opportunity to be a mouthpiece for the creative industry. Moreover, excited and thankful for such an amazing achievement. The journey has been both wonderful and challenging. I have had to operate under the notion of ‘against all odds’.”

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.”

She says: “This is my third time entering Miss South Africa, but my first time making it through any round. I entered in 2016 and 2018, and both times, I did not make it past the first judging round. Getting rejected was really disappointing, so coming back this year took a lot of courage. But I am so happy I took that brave step because here I am now, part of the Top 15. This journey has been nothing short of amazing.”

Voting number: 9

Natasha Joubert (22),from Centurion, Tshwane, Gauteng is a Public Relations Officer at RFJ Inc. Attorneys and founder and owner of Natalia Jefferys (Pty) Ltd. She has a B.Com Marketing Management Graduate from Boston City Campus. She says 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 says her guilty pleasure is salted caramel Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

She says: “What a humbling experience thus far. I feel truly honoured to be one of the Top 15 semi-finalists. In this time I have experienced self-growth, vulnerability and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Miss South Africa is now, more than ever, a platform to empower women and it’s something I’ve experienced first-hand. I have learnt how to use my voice to add value, to lead by example and will continue my efforts to do so in every opportunity that comes my way.”

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.

She says: “I am grateful to be a part of the Top 15. It is quite an achievement. I’m glad I can continue to look within, own my story and be another step closer to an opportunity of a lifetime. And I’m excited for what the future holds. What I will share, the people I will meet and of course working with the Miss South Africa  Organisation. The journey thus far has been rewarding and all the messages of support and encouragement means the world to me.”

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.

She says: “I don’t think it has fully sunk in that I am in the Top 15. I have been working towards this dream for years and I am grateful that I get to be part of this strong group of women. The support I have received thus far has once again reinstated the fact that this journey is not only for me, but for every single person rooting for me. This is by far the most exciting time of my life.”

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.

She says: “I am so honored to be part of Miss SA Top 15. I am beyond excited and grateful. I started this as a learning experience that freed me up to be myself; open to learning and not trying to be perfect. I cannot say this has been my own doing; God has blessed me with opportunities which I never thought were possible, which allows me to enjoy the journey of learning more about myself in a new world.”

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 says 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.She says:“I feel so blessed and excited to be a part of the Top 15, as the journey to this point alone has introduced me to myself and helped me refine my dreams through the opportunities it has presented me with. I find myself embracing myself more and embracing my voice every single day. I am truly excited for the journey that lies ahead.”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.

She says: “’What an honour. I’m overwhelmed with joy! I had already made my community proud by being part of the top 35, and now to be a top 15 semi-finalist is amazing!  I’m here because it’s simply my time.She says: “The journey has been exciting, a little challenging, but overall a course of self-discovery and realising what I can contribute to my country. I’m especially moved by how people, the majority being women, have cheered me on in pursuing my dreams.”

Voting number: 15

Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “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 continues: “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.”

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 09h00 and closes on July 16 at 23h00. 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.

Those who want to vote can go to the Miss South Africa website; the Computicket website (by making payment via their credit card) or go to the money market counter at any Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Shoprite or Usave and cast their votes on the Computicket system making a cash payment.

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.

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