Claudia Henkel – who was crowned Miss SA in 2004 and is now Sun International’s public relations manager – said today that “the judges had a difficult task choosing the top 12 from the 24 semi-finalists.“We believe we have a very strong top 12, a group of young women who are passionate about competing and who have the intelligence, dedication and attitude to be a winner.” She added.Here are the 12 finalists:1. Busi Mahlangu (23)KwaMhlanga, MpumalangaOccupation: “I am an economics student at the University of South Africa doing my third year.“Women and youth empowerment has always been a topic close to my heart. I have so much faith in the influential role of women in society and the nation at large.“I would like to be the agent of change to help uplift the overall life of women in society which can be achieved through the Miss South Africa brand.”2. Chanelle Sardinha (23)Fourways, JohannesburgOccupation: “I am an actress and model. Having recently completed my honours degree in BA dramatic arts at the University of the Witwatersrand.“I would love to be Miss South Africa because I know who I am and what my country stands for. I pride myself in being approachable, compassionate, humble and enthusiastic.“If I am blessed with the opportunity, I will employ a one-on-one approach, offering my time to anyone in need."3. Danelle de Wet (21)Kuilsriver, Cape TownOccupation: “I am a first-year BCom marketing student at the IMM Graduate School of Marketing.“I would love to meet Thuli Madonsela, of course, and soak up all the wisdom and knowledge she has.“She has learnt how to remain neutral, humble and how to stay determined and driven no matter how difficult things may get.”4. Gugulethu Banda (21)Spruitview, EkurhuleniOccupation: “I am currently studying towards a BA in tourism development at the University of Johannesburg and I am in my first year.“I would want to meet the woman who inspires me, Basetsana Kumalo. I would like to sit down with her and take notes as to how she got to where she is today. She inspires me to work harder in order to be the woman I want to be.”5. Kim Wentzel (24)Roodepoort, GautengOccupation: “I am an assistant fashion buyer for Edcon. I am also currently studying for an advanced diploma in marketing management at the South Africa Institute of Marketing Management.“Oprah Winfrey is one of the most successful women in the working world and is also an exemplary example in all spheres of her life. The topics aired on her show are packed with valuable information and cover many subjects.“She sets an extremely high standard.”6. Liesl Laurie (23)Eldorado Park, JohannesburgOccupation: “I graduated with a BCom general degree from the University of Johannesburg (Soweto Campus) in April. After graduating, I decided to take the rest of the year off from university to pursue a full time career in modelling and also to embark on my journey of giving back to my community and my country.“My motto is: I will never fit in because I was born to stand out!”7. Nicole Lamberts (24)Stellenbosch, Western CapeOccupation: “I’m currently going into my final, honours year of B Occupational Therapy at the Tygerberg Medical Campus, a division of Stellenbosch University.“My father Hilton is my biggest role model. I am lucky to be able to speak to him on a daily basis when I need advice.“He is also a man who is passionate about change and enjoys thinking big and outside the box. He inspired me when I was growing up and taught me the beauty of little things in life such as trust and respect, working hard and playing hard.“He told me to let go of grudges and never be held back by things of the past.”8. Ntsiki Mkhize (23)Kliprivier, MidvaalOccupation: “I hold a BCom in marketing management and a BCom honours degree in logistics management from the University of Johannesburg. After obtaining my undergraduate degree I began working in sales as a client executive at 21st Century Pay Solutions Group. This was prior to my recent appointment as partnerships and events manager for Small Business Connect.“Basetsana Kumalo is a previous Miss South Africa who has inspired me. I believe she embodies the essence of a Miss South Africa and is an example of beauty with substance.“She is a philanthropist, a shrewd business woman and a proud South African. I am inspired by her resilience and staying power.”9. Refilwe Mthimunye (22)Bronkhorstspruit, TshwaneOccupation: “I’m currently doing my third year in LLB law at the University of South Africa.“I’m doing my degree part time as I am pursuing my modelling career with the help of Alushi Models Management.“As young women of today we have many opportunities to make our mark in the universe. I say we take advantage of these opportunities so we can raise future leaders.“We need to stand together and should not allow society to dictate our roles. Everything we do we should put God first and the rest will follow.”10. Shané Naidoo (22)Farrarmere, BenoniOccupation: “I am a third-year student studying towards a degree in industrial engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand.“Melinda Bam is a previous Miss SA who has inspired me. I believe she fits in with the youth of today. She used the Miss South Africa platform so well to make a name for herself, thereby reaching so many people across the country and beyond our borders.“I admire how fearless she is with regards to embracing her feminism.”11. Sihle Makhanya (23)Panorama, EmpangeniOccupation: “I work full-time for Makhanya’s Services as a junior quantity surveyor technician intern. I’m also completing my quantity surveyor diploma on a part-time basis.“I have a passion for my country. The opportunities it has afforded me as a young woman have been endless and now I want to say thank you through giving back.“I’m excited to work with the different charities that the Miss South Africa organisation deals with, but I would also like to use this platform as a voice for the community. I would really love to focus on being the voice for those who do not have one.”12. Taryn Morris (25)Camps Bay, Cape TownOccupation: “I studied BCom marketing at Varsity College through Unisa.“My message to young girls and women would be to always believe in yourself, follow your heart and never let anyone take advantage of you.“We are all worthy and deserve to be treated that way.”
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