Miss South Africa 2018 finalists Back from left to right: Noxolo Ndebele, Margo Fargo, Anzelle van Staden, Tamaryn Green, Tharina Botes and Akile Khoza. Front row left to right: Bryoni Govender, Thandokazi Mfundisi, Karishma Ramdev, Thulisa Keyi, Tamarin Bensch and Danielle de Jager.

It’s that time of the year again! As previous Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters continues her reign as Miss Universe, it’s time for the next Miss South Africa to take centre stage and after an exciting reveal event in Pretoria this morning, we finally have the Top 12 who will be competing for the coveted spot at the top.

The competition also announced quite a shocking change to the way the competition is held. Traditionally, during the final on pageant night, the top 12 finalists are reduced to five, from which a second princess is announced, followed by a first princess and then the winner. This year, following the cut to the top five finalists, the organisers will go straight to a top two announcement. One of the pair will be named Miss World South Africa and one will receive the title of Miss Universe South Africa. Both will go on to represent South Africa on the global stage in each respective competition. However, as there can be only one reigning Miss South Africa, the two winners will be asked one final question by the judges as the pageant draws to a close. Their answers will determine who is crowned as the official Miss South Africa 2018.

Here is a list, in alphabetical order, of the girls who are in the running for the title this year:

Akile Khoza
Akile Khoza – from Thulamahashe, Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga – is a 23-year-old Master’s student in neuroscience at the University of Stellenbosch. Although she’s one of the tallest contestants this year (1,85m to be exact) she is scared of heights and has set herself a challenge to overcome this by hiking up a mountain. She lists her teacher mother, who only started studying later in life and who recently obtained her PHD degree at Stellenbosch University, as her role model. She loves being active and plays netball (she played SA Under 21) and basketball. Her favourite meal is pap and braaied chicken or meat and chakalaka.

Anzelle von Staden
Anzelle von Staden is a 25-year-old full-time model from Centurion in Pretoria. She lost a person close to her from breast cancer and if she won the Miss SA title she would use the brand to raise awareness and sponsorship. She comes from a large close-knit family and is the youngest of 15 grandchildren. Close to her heart are her three furry children, two Pekinese and a golden retriever called Leo. She’s an outdoors person who keeps active. For her nothing beats a traditional home-cooked meal with family and friends – and don’t forget the braai broodjie! She would love to meet tennis legend Billie Jean King.

Bryoni Govender
Bryoni Govender is a 21-year-old LLB Law student at the University of Johannesburg who comes from Kempton Park in Gauteng. Bryoni, who started modelling at the age of 14, entered the Miss South Africa competition to fulfil a childhood dream of hers. She is a tap dancer who also loves reading and baking and lists Aishwarya Rai as one of her role models and the one person she would like to meet. Her message to other young women: “Love everything about yourself and be willing to try new things, face challenges, work harder and excel beyond your expectations.” Her favourite meal is lamb curry and rice.

Daniellé de Jager
Twenty-year-old Daniellé de Jager (called Dan by her friends) is studying BHSc Biokinetics with Honours at Nelson Mandela University although her hometown is Benoni in Gauteng. She has entered a host of pageants and was named Model of the Year five times. She has three brothers and spends her spare time cheerleading for her university, going to the gym, rowing, road running and – her latest challenge – learning how to surf. What would people be surprised to learn about her? “My hyper elasticity! You’d be surprised at the way I can turn my elbows inside out!”. Food wise she loves fettucine Alfredo.

Karishma Ramdev
Karishma Ramdev (23) is a fifth-year medical student at the University of Pretoria who comes from Chatsworth in KwaZulu Natal. She enjoys horse riding, reading, going to gym and hiking. However, she has yet to brave an overnight camping adventure. One day she would like to make travelling one of her permanent hobbies! She loves mutton curry and dhal gosht and is addicted to the TV series Games of Thrones. Medicine runs in the family blood – her father is an optometrist; her mother is a radiographer and her youngest brother is studying veterinary science.

Margo Fargo
Margo Fargo is a 25-year-old co-director of a non-profit organisation and part-time model who comes from Heidedal near Bloemfontein in the Free State. In 2014 she was ambassador for Miss Earth South Africa and in 2016 was made first princess at Miss Mamelodi Sundowns. She comes from a “beautiful, crazy and multi-cultural family” and has six siblings. Says Margo: “I grew up playing with my brother’s cars, climbing trees and chasing cattle. I only started wearing shoes when I started Grade 1. I was never the pageant girl. I was the nerd who only worried about homework!” #MargoForMissSA

Noxolo Ndebele
Noxolo Ndebele (25) from KwaNongoma in KZN, is a part time model who used to work as a project financial controller. She enjoys going to gym and writes for an online magazine called Growth. Her culinary favourite is traditional food and she doesn’t drink any alcohol (and never has!) She considers her family her biggest blessing and has two sisters who are both studying, and a younger brother who is still at school. She will soon be launching her own clothing brand. Her message: “Do good even if nobody is watching. Do everything to the best of your ability.”

Tamarin Bensch
Tamarin Bensch (25) hails from Bedfordview, works in property management and interior renovations and lives in Somerset West. She has a national diploma in clothing manufacturing technology and also runs an online fashion and beauty store. Tamarin enjoys park runs and loves spending time with friends and family including her parents and three brothers. This pizza-eating lover of ‘80s music also has the Sesotho name, Mathabo. “I use the quote ‘Everything happens for a reason’ almost every day, she says,” Don’t regret anything because the storm will pass and might leave you with an amazing rainbow.”

Tamaryn Green
Tamaryn Green (23) is a final year medical student at the University of Cape Town and lives in Paarl. It has always been a lifelong dream of hers to enter the Miss SA pageant and lists Miss World title holder Rolene Strauss as her inspiration. Her role models are her parents and she is close to her sister and brother. She is a nature lover who enjoys hiking, swimming and spending time with friends. Another goal this year is to complete as many hikes as possible. She loves eating her mom’s traditional Sunday lunch as well as a braai with braai broodjie, and sushi. She doesn’t like chocolate and eats popcorn morning, noon and night.

Thandokazi Mfundisi
Thandokazi Mfundisi (24) is a final year LLB Law student at the University of Fort Hare who comes from East London. Thando – who has five siblings – plays netball, enjoys athletics (high jump, javelin, long jump) and kayaking. She also loves reading, dancing and listening to music. At varsity, she is an active member of the Black Management Forum and a member of Students for Law and Social Justice. She loves eating Pad Thai, listening to the music of Bruno Mars and would like to meet Michelle Obama. Since the age of four – when she started Grade 1 – she has wanted to enter the Miss South Africa pageant.

Tharina Botes
Twenty-one-year-old Tharina Botes, from Roodepoort in Gauteng, is a BComm marketing and business student at Damelin and a part time model. She spends her spare time with those who are closest to her including her cherished grandmother, father and mother as well as her 19-year-old sister and 11-year-old brother. She likes dressing up her chihuahuas, reading good books, arts and drawing. She is a sporty person and was first team league in high school for tennis and got her swimming colours. Her favourite meal is sushi but she never says no to chocolate – in fact, it has always been her fantasy to one day own a chocolate factory.

Thulisa Keyi
Thulisa Keyi graduated from the University of Cape Town with a BComm Accounting and PGDA and is doing her articles to qualify as a chartered accountant. The 26-year-old lives in Fourways but is originally from Mdantsane in East London in the Eastern Cape. She is one of four children and says her mother has been her pillar of strength since her father was killed when she was 17. She loves exploring new restaurants and markets in Johannesburg, reads and keeps fit at the gym. When she was younger, she used to do karate and can still count from one to 10 in Japanese. She loves pasta but her payday spoil is lobster thermidor.

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