Author: Lize Geldenhuis

President Trump’s Team hit by Covid

The  Donald Trump reelection campaign on Sunday sought to brush off another outbreak of the Coronavirus in Trump’s team by focusing its attacks on Joe Biden’s energy levels and accusing him of “47 years of failure”.

Only nine days before the vote, the US has been caught up in a surge of Covid-19 cases, recording a record daily number of new cases of nearly 89,000.   Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, and several aides, tested positive over the weekend, swelling the list of the administration staff to have been infected with the virus.

Campaign Spokesperson Tim Murtaugh spoke to Fox News. “The vice president is going to continue his travel schedule,” he said.  “He takes this very seriously… The folks on his staff are in quarantine, and he relies on the very sound medical advice of the White House medical unit.” Murtaugh then slammed Biden for his light campaign schedule, claiming that the Democratic candidate was “feeling the heat” and took “five out of six days off” before the last presidential debate on Thursday.

“President Trump has accomplished more in 47 months than Joe Biden has in 47 years of failure,” Murtaugh said.  The remarks highlighted the contrast between Trump’s furiously paced campaign and Biden’s  more conservative approach.

Tourism Minister’s Hope on the Festive Season

The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on Monday said she hoped that the country’s borders would be opened to all countries before the December holidays.  According to the minister the list of countries banned from travelling to South Africa is reassessed.  Countries are banned due to high Covid-19 infection rates.  Several European countries are currently battling a spike in the number of infections, a so-called second wave.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane visited Limpopo last week aiming to boost local tourism.

The Palala Boutique Game Lodge and Spa in the Limpopo province was hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and serves as a stark reminder of the crisis the world is currently facing.  With 22 countries still not allowed into South Africa due to their high number of coronavirus infections, the tourism industry is now relying on local tourists for an economic boost.

Kubayi-Ngubane said that even though South Africa desperately needed the international economic boost, it could not risk a second wave of Covid-19 infections.  “The tourism sector would lose a lot of jobs and a lot more businesses would go under. We do believe that we have a second chance to try and recover and anything that can happen can literally take us backwards (sic).”

The travel ban on these countries also adversely affects the hunting season in South Africa said the minister.  Limpopo, which is one of the country’s poorest provinces, relies heavily on the hunting season for a much-needed economic injection.  “They need to get permits now for January so with the uncertainty of their own borders, it is worrying. We are watching closely at what happens there because from our side we are making progress for a number of countries to be able to come but we are worried about us opening 100% – you win that battle at opening 100%, only to find that other countries are closing (sic).”

Sandton NightClub Blackdoor Manager Arrested

The manager of the popular Blackdoor Lifestyle Lounge in Sandton, Johannesburg, has been arrested this weekend for breaking lockdown regulations said police.

The South African Police Service, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, Gauteng Traffic Police and various other law enforcement agencies took part in an operation to bust venues that did not comply with regulations.

More than 300 patrons were allegedly found at the Blackdoor Lifestyle Lounge after the midnight curfew.  Footage taken during the bust shows the venue packed to capacity.  No social distancing regulations were followed and according to minister of police Bheki Cele, not one of the patrons were wearing a mask.  “It tells you that if the second waves comes, not many will survive.”

Lirandzu Themba, the Police Minister’s Spokesperson, confirmed that the manager of Blackdoor had been arrested for operating a business without a liquor licence and breaking the lockdown level one regulations as stipulated by the Corona Command Council and Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

The manager was detained at the Sandton police station.  According to Themba, liquor to the value of R800,000 was seized by law enforcement agencies.

In Midrand, at the well known, or rather infamous,  XO Lounge, formerly known as Teazers, police found employees still on the premises after midnight.  Each employee was fined R1,000 before they could be released.

Man Arrested after Dragging Body in Wolseley

A man was arrested after he was seen dragging a woman’s body in Wolseley.

The suspect was arrested on Monday in Wolseley after a body was found in the area.  It was one of three bodies, two of which were female, discovered in the town over the weekend.  On Saturday night the suspects was arrested and taken into custody at a local informal settlement after he was spotted dragging the body of a young woman through the streets.

Following the discovery, police officers were again called out to a shallow grave on Sunday where the body of another woman had been buried hastily.  A further search of the area led to the discovery of another shallow grave close to the first one, where the remains of another person was found.  The third body has not been identified and the age and gender of the third corpse has not been determined.  Autopsies will be carrier out to determine how the person died and also to determine gender and age, as well as hopefully identifying the victim.

Prophet Bushiri and Co, back in court

The self-proclaimed prophet, Sheperd Bushiri, and his wife Mary will appear in the Pretoria Central Magistrates Court today for the continuation of their bail application.  They have been charged with fraud, money laundering, and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act totalling R102-million.

The Bushiri’s bail application began on Friday with their legal team insisting that they had done nothing wrong.  Their attorney, Anneline van den Heever, argued that keeping them in custody would be unfair.  “The State needs to act independently and exercise its discretion. When it laces fact before the court, they need to be open with the court, place all the facts before the court. They are not there to just follow instructions from the investigating officer about bail.”

The State is expected to explain why the Bushiri’s and their co-accused should not be granted bail.  Meanwhile, the Department of Home Affairs is expected to appeal the judgement that prohibited the State from withdrawing Bushiri’s permanent residency status in South Africa.  The department wants the Bushiri couple to provide clarity on certain alleged discrepancies in their application.

Covid-19 Update: Second hard lockdown warning

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation this week again due to the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise.

“He said it is now long overdue for him to address the nation and it will be coming up this week”  Ramaphosa confirmed when he spoke to Leanne Manas over the weekend.

The daily stats shows a definite increase in positive cases and the concern is that the average daily new cases between 25 September and 1 October was 1,706.  Ramaphosa warned that the return of a hard lockdown was on the cards unless there is a decline in the number of cases.

“Looking at the statistics, we can now safely say that we are definitely going back into a hard lockdown if there is no urgent and drastic change in behaviors” said Zikalala.  According to Zikalala the second wave of Covid-19 will be “stronger and deadlier” – not only in deaths, but also in terms of economic hardship.

He zoned in on the “reckless trading in alcohol” which has the “potential to derail all the progress we have made in preparing our healthcare system for a potential onslaught of Covid-19”

“People have dropped their guard.  They have stopped wearing masks with integrity” he said.

Mmusi Maimane’s open letter to white South Africans

Dear white South Africans

I write this open letter to those of you, the overwhelming majority, who want this country to work. To those who desire to build a united, reconciled South Africa that is an example to the world.

To those who are tired of being blamed for all South Africa’s woes. To those who are incensed by the grand-scale theft and corruption within the government. To those who feel homeless in their country of birth, without a political home and without a progressive voice representing their hope, dreams and ambitions.

To those who want to stay and play their part in bridging our racial, social and cultural divides. To the bridge builders who don’t see themselves in the divisive, racialised politics of today – whether on the side of the ANC and EFF, or the other side of the DA and the VF+. This letter is an invitation to you. An invitation to a dialogue. To a conversation about a new way of bringing about change in this country we call our home.

Fear

This stems out of a time I recently spent with my wife, a white South African woman, who expressed her genuine fears as to what her role is in today’s South Africa. In particular, how our interracial marriage informs this.

You see, our union is an offence to black and white nationalists for different reasons. And each side will tell her a different narrative. On the left, she’s told she is the enemy, yet on the right she’s told she is being targeted and persecuted for simply having a white skin.

Both are of course untrue, yet this is a dilemma many white South Africans face today. And this is being fuelled by politicians – red, blue, green – the whole lot.

The beneficiaries of the race divisions are the extremist politicians and extremist movements, they are able to gain traction and funding from fanning the flames of racial divisions. In truth, it is not in their interests to find pathways to unity rather they are rewarded by the continuation and escalation of conflict.

Let’s begin a new way, one in which we reject this rising trend of division and fearmongering, and roll up our sleeves to build a tolerant and progressive new majority.

First, let me be clear and unambiguous: my honest desire is for each one of us as citizens to be proud of our identity. No one should ever deny any citizen the right to do so. Be that black, white, gay, straight, Christian, atheist, Afrikaans or Zulu.

I believe strongly diversity is South Africa’s great unique strength and the majority of citizens want to work together, despite our innate differences.

This is the continuation of our 1994 miracle that despite our yesterday, we never desired to kill or destroy each other but rather to build one nation. That resolve is being tested today as we speak, but it is one we should never lose or we risk poisoning future generations with fear and miseducation about others.

Let me also be frank, as a white South African you are as much a citizen of this country as any other citizen. Second class citizenry was left behind when we became a democracy in 1994.

However, being part of the nation doesn’t mean you are only part of the good times when the Springboks win or when Jacob Zuma resigns. You are also a citizen in the bad times; you are a citizen when we are faced with our unequal society, one that left many black South Africans disadvantaged.

This is where I plead with you to do more. Sacrifice more. Be more intentional about how you can right the wrongs of the past. Instead of telling people to get over apartheid, help them get over the legacy of apartheid that still holds them and their loved ones back. Now more than ever, we need bridge builders.

This letter is not to condemn you or apportion blame but a genuine invitation to be part of the change. You may feel alienated and not know where to start – I urge you to start wherever you find yourself right now.

Our country has the highest level of unemployment in the world. This is no one’s fault, but everyone’s burden and responsibility. When we started the One South Africa Movement, we wanted to create a platform that breaks down divisions and promotes building a nation that prospers together and lives peacefully. Make no mistake, that will never materialise until we achieve a significant level of economic inclusion and shared prosperity.

The facts are uncomfortable, but that does not change them. Income distribution among black and white is at a six to one ratio. This means income for white South Africans is six times that of black South Africans.

When we reflect on economic inclusion, unemployment among white South Africans is at 6% while it is 40% for black South Africans. Quality of life is equivalent to that of First World countries for most white South Africans, and not because you are white but because of income.

This while the majority of people who are poor happen to be black. We cannot run away from this fact, and more so, we cannot run away from fixing it. That is how we bridge the trust deficit and build a united and inclusive South Africa.  

Education

Educational outcomes mirror this inequality. My children are privileged to go to Quintile 5 public schools that are majority white. But they are not only majority white; they have access to a top-tier education, brilliant teachers who are dedicated, and a safe nurturing environment where they can flourish.

In comparison, my sister’s children attend a Quintile 1 school. Her children have a fundamentally different experience from day one of school. Therefore, we must innovate as to how we create partnerships that build a fair education system for all citizens. We must unite in pursuit of these goals. Otherwise, we simply perpetuate the cycle of poverty based on race which we see now.

Socially, we all need to express the grace required to build our nation. True nation building extends to every facet of our lives. It is what happens in our homes and with the people we work with. Our attitudes must firstly demonstrate our shared interests rather than our demonisation of the other because of race. 

We cannot skip ahead to a non-racial South Africa without doing the hard work required to undo the injustices of apartheid, we have done some of that work but the job is incomplete. Our present goal should be to create a society that is racially cohesive, where there is empathy for injustices of the past, tolerance for difference and a deliberate pursuit of redress for those left behind.

Beyers Naudè’s bold activism against the racial prejudice that existed in his church came at a heavy price and costly sacrifice. His own Afrikaner community isolated, ostracised and painfully victimised him. Needless to say, Oom Bey was a white South African who took a stance against apartheid under unbearable times. I wish to urge white compatriots to follow his gallant example as we fight for a united South Africa today.

As a South African, you are a critical part of the solution to our country’s challenges. And failure to play your part has dire consequences for all 60 million South Africans. We have political parties beset on blaming you for all our problems and political parties who pretend to defend you against these.

Polarisation

Political parties like the EFF/ANC and the DA/FF+ represent a polarisation of races. Indeed, this is the age of swart gevaar versus white monopoly capital. Let’s not fall for it, we are better than this.

There is a new way. I am working to build a Movement for all South Africans. One South Africa, where we can work together and directly elect the best candidates to the government that represent all of us.

I want to tell you that there is hope. We are in the majority; the dividers are in the minority. We can fix the trust deficit between races in South Africa and we can achieve the dream of a united, prosperous and reconciled South Africa.

Because we know who South Africa really is.

South Africa is hope and change. South Africa is expression and action. South Africa is we can and we did.

South Africa is not just fighting, but finding something worth fighting for.

Let’s begin. We have much work ahead.

Yours sincerely,

Mmusi Maimane (OSA chief activist).

Officials MUST Perform Same-Sex Marriages

The presidency signed into law the Civil Union Amendment Bill which prohibits marriage officials to discriminate against same-sex based in personal beliefs.  The Act comes into effect immediately.  The bill was first published and opened to comments by the National Assembly in 2018 and was passed by the National Council of Provinces four months ago.  The amendment repeals section 6 of the Civil Union Act of 2006, which allowed a marriage officer to inform the home affairs minister of their objection to officiate same-sex unions on the grounds of religion, belief, or conscience.

State Marriage Officers and Magistrates are now prohibited from refusing to solemnise a civil union between same-sex couples.  Shahidabibi Shaik, chairperson of the committee, said at the time the law would afford same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

The LGBTQI+ non-governmental organisation, Triangle Project, welcomed the news.  “Such a discriminatory provision has no place in our constitutional democracy. The removal of the clause is a victory for the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of one’s sexual orientation and for every person’s rights to equality and dignity,” the organisation said.

Freedom of Religion SA however, on Friday noted “with dismay” that the president had signed the bill into law.  “The amendment act is draconian in that it gives the state the power to force people to do things that go against their conscience. This when there were many practical alternatives (to violating people’s fundamental rights) available to the state”, said Daniela Ellerbeck, legal advisor to FOR SA. “The Constitutional Court has already ruled that no one should have to choose between obeying their faith (and potentially suffering eternal consequences if they do not), or obeying the law (and potentially losing their job if they do not). It is unconscionable for the state to place its own employees before this choice. This law is an assault on everybody’s right to live in accordance with their sincerely held beliefs.”

TV Personality Katlego Maboe in Trouble

A social media storm erupted around TV Personality and The Expresso Morning Show-presenter Katlego Maboe.  Allegations of infidelity and domestic violence against the popular presented have come to light on social media.  Maboe and his wife Monique are reportedly in the process of a divorce due to his infidelity.  The Expresso Morning Show by Cardova Productions has since removed Maboe as presenter pending an internal investigation.  SABC3 and Cardova have publicly condemned any act of violence and mistreatment, especially against women and children.

“Certain serious allegations have been posted on social media about Katlego Maboe and, last night, a video was leaked showing Katlego Maboe seemingly admitting to cheating on his partner.  We have been informed that a legal process relating to the allegations is currently sub-judice.”

We condemn any acts of violence and mistreatment, especially against women and children, and therefore take such allegations very seriously.  Until such time as the matter has been fully investigated, and pending the outcome, Katlego Maboe will not be appearing on The Expresso Morning Show,” read the statement.

Meanwhile, Outsurance will be removing all advertisements featuring Maboe as ‘soon as is practically possible’.  Outsurance spokesperson, Natasha Kawulesar,  spoke to media: “We are aware of the issue surrounding Katlego Maboe and have engaged with him on this.  We want to provide Katlego and his family the time and space to deal with this private situation.  In the meantime, we will be removing all advertisements featuring Katlego as soon as practically possible.”

Maboe’s publicist, Fabrizia Degli Esposti in a statement to media said: “The allegations made against Katlego Maboe are false and are an attempt by his former partner to harass and victimise him in order to cause emotional harm, as well as reputational and economic damage.  The matter is currently being litigated and is therefore sub-judice, and accordingly he cannot comment further as to do so would potentially be undermining the court’s process.  Katlego Maboe kindly asks for privacy at this time.”

See video here.

WARNING – STRONG LANGUAGE.  VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Maboe admitted to cheating on his partner in an Instagram post after the video went viral on Thursday.   “Truth:  I was unfaithful to my partner during a very important time in our lives – an act I regret to this day.  We are currently undergoing an unfortunate and painful separation which is being resolved through legal proceedings.  As you can imagine, separations are quite a difficult thing to deal with, especially with a child involved.  In light of the comments made against me, I would like to state that I have never abused my partner.  I have always and will always stand up against the abuse of women and children – in fact, the abuse of anyone for that matter.  I had chosen to deal with this matter privately to protect and safeguard our child.  At the end of the day, our child is all that matters to me.  However, I will leave this to the legal system and let the truth have its day.”

Miss South Africa 2020 Top 10 Finalist

This year’s Top 10 Miss South Africa finalists – one of whom will be crowned Miss South Africa 2020 on Saturday, October 24, in a glamorous and entertainment-packed pageant screened live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic and streamed for an international audience – have been announced.

The contestants represent six provinces – Gauteng has four (with three from Tshwane and one from Soweto), followed by the Eastern Cape with two, while Kwa-Zulu Natal, Western Cape, Limpopo and North West each has one entrant. They are an impressive group and include two medical doctors working on the Covid frontline; two full-time international models as well as marketing, education and economics graduates and a food scientist.

For the first time in the history of the Miss South Africa pageant, the contestants who make the Top 3 will represent the country at the world’s three most prestigious pageants. Previously, the Miss South Africa Organisation sent a representative to both Miss Universe and Miss World, but will also now be fielding a candidate at Miss Supranational.

The 10 finalists are (in alphabetical order of their first names):

  • Aphelele Mbiyo (24) who was born in Mthata and raised in Port Elizabeth but currently lives in Johannesburg, holds a BA in Integrated Marketing Communications.
  • Busisiwe Mmotla (27) is from Soweto and is a Senior & FET Phase teacher who graduated from the University of Johannesburg and is currently studying for a diploma in personal training.
  • Chantelle Pretorius (24) from Tshwane, Gauteng, a full-time international model who is also finishing her B.Com Business Management degree through Unisa and has a diploma in nutrition.
  • Jordan van der Vyver (24) comes from Greenpoint, Cape Town, and is an international model who usually spends half the year working overseas.
  • Karishma Ramdev (25) who hails from Chatsworth in KwaZulu Natal, is now based in Joburg working as a medical doctor at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.
  • Lebogang Mahlangu (24) from Soshanguve, Gauteng, is a food scientist working in research and development for a large multi-national.
  • Melissa Nayimuli (24) is from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape but now lives in Sunninghill, Johannesburg where she works as an account manager for a marketing agency.
  • Natasha Joubert (23) who is from Centurion, Tshwane, has a B.Com in Marketing Management and works in PR at a firm of attorneys.
  • Shudufhadzo Musida (24) 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 her BA Honours in International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand.
  • Thato Mosehle (25) hails from Klerksdorp in the North West and is a medical doctor currently completing her internship with the aim of becoming an anaesthesiologist.

The winner of the public vote – where members of the public were invited to vote for their favourite contestant and propel her into the Top 10 – was Shudufhadzo Musida.

Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation: “We have whittled these finalists down from literally thousands of entrants and we honestly believe we have found the 10 women who, right now, represent everything Miss South Africa stands for.

“Any one of these girls could be crowned the winner but only one will take the crown from her predecessor Sasha Lee Olivier, so we can look forward to a very exciting pageant where our judges are going to have the extremely difficult task of choosing Miss South Africa 2020.”

Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with M-Net, Mzansi Magic, Sun International and Brand South Africa.

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.

 How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

I felt so grateful and honoured to be chosen and recognised as a young woman capable of serving our beautiful country and communities. I am very excited for the journey ahead and all the possibilities and opportunities it presents.

Did you celebrate?

Not yet. I video called my parents first and we spoke for a while; celebrating with them over a long conversation meant everything to me.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

I have always been enough, intelligent, strong and capable. The IGTV series I started, called Girl Get Up Sessions taught me more about the duty I have in using my voice, passions and abilities to serve others and to empower someone else within my reach and to lift others as I rise.

What initiatives you will be supporting?

Initiatives that encourage female empowerment, young kids and youth development.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

A teenage girl sent me a direct message on social media about how she was inspired to show up as her best self and chase her dreams due to the IGTV series I started.

What has been your most memorable part of the process so far?

A phone call from Miss South Africa CEO Stephanie Weil when she said “Unfortunately you will have to spend more time with us”; that was the best news ever. The most memorable was a leadership workshop I attended as a Top 15 contestant called Firepower.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

To continue to work on my health holistically and to show up as my best most authentic self. To be present. To build relationships with the rest of the girls and to have fun!

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

To see me evolving and keeping the crown in the Eastern Cape.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

That many are pushing through it, and seeing people’s dreams come true even during the pandemic. For example, the proudly South African brand MaXhosa opening a store at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

The fact that some people lost their loved ones and their livelihoods. Seeing unemployment increase and families losing their daily bread.

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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

I was filled with gratitude. Being part of the Top 10 gives me the courage to bring difficult conversations to the table to inspire change in behaviour and allow everyone to participate in changing their community and the rest of South Africa for future generations. It feels like a reassurance of my childhood dreams that I worked hard for but never thought I would achieve.

Did you celebrate?

I was at work when I received the video call. I couldn’t celebrate at first as I thought it was all a bit of a dream. It only sunk in later when I got home. I am still in a bit of a state of disbelief, but grateful that I have been afforded a chance I never thought I would get.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

That self-doubt is not good. I always thought I was too short for the Miss South Africa pageant but this journey has taught me that it’s not about height but about purpose.

What initiatives you will be supporting?

I am currently working with a rape victims clinic in Soweto called Thuthuzela Clinic. The initiative works with abuse victims who can visit the clinic for medical attention and support as well as counselling. The clinic is so close to my heart because the ordeal that victims go through is so familiar to me as I was once in an abusive relationship. That experience changed my life and the support I received was part of the reason why I pushed through that dark time.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

I have had people inbox me and tell me all kinds of stories or ask for relationship advice. It is so funny because now people view me as an expert in anything and I guess that’s the power of the Miss SA organisation.

What has been your most memorable part of the process so far?

I think the interview process, because I had influential women asking me questions about my passions and experiences, which was amazing and very interesting.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I plan on doing as much charity work as I can while focusing on the title. I say this because being top 10 Miss SA comes with a responsibility and influence and I have always taken each opportunity given to me as a chance to advance my passions and experiences.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

Because this journey is not only for me but for Soweto as well. If I win this title, I will be the first Miss Soweto since Basetsane Kumalo to win and that, on its own (in my opinion) is something to follow.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

Being with family. The pandemic has slowed me down as I was always busy and on the run but now I can spend more time with family and friends just bonding

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

How the economic gap has been widening between the haves and the have nots. Many people have lost jobs which leads to poverty and poverty leads to crime and or mental issues.

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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

Being chosen as a finalist alongside nine other remarkable women made me feel extremely honoured and proud! We are all so unique and each one of us has something different to offer. I am looking forward to learning something from everyone I meet on this journey and

overwhelmed that I get the chance to represent my country and shine my light during this challenging and exciting time.

Did you celebrate?

Of course! I could not wait to share my excitement and celebrate with the people I love most! Unfortunately going to a restaurant and popping champagne was out of the question, but we made a nice dinner, had a glass of lovely red wine and celebrated the good news together as a family.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

One thing that this journey has taught me is that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. We so often underestimate our own potential and the power of our own thoughts. Whether you think you can do something or can’t do something you’re probably right. Adaptability is one of the qualities that helped me a lot through this process and being open minded and willing to learn from everyone is key.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

I recently collaborated with Lifting Dreams Soweto, which was created to give kids the opportunity to engage in sport and strengthen their bodies. Sport teaches discipline and respect and gives kids a sense of purpose through hard work. The increase in gender-based violence has also inspired us to have a programme for the girls and women of our community called #fightlikeagirl. The gym is free and available to all women to strengthen their bodies and learn basic self-defence. Boys also desperately need to be educated about gender-based violence and learn how to treat women with love and respect.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

One of the most touching experiences I’ve had was spending Mandela Day at Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre. It warmed my heart and reminded me once again why I entered Miss SA. We spent the day painting murals with the kids while educating them on gender- based violence in a fun and interactive way. South Africa children need access to more informal education and I believe that Miss SA will create a platform for me to make this a reality.

What has been most memorable part of the process so far?

The top 10 finalist photoshoot day was definitely most memorable. The team was incredible and made us feel super special and helped each one of us to look and feel our best. The love and support I received from the other girls also made the day extra special. We all get along so well and are always encouraging each other. I have made special friends that will be treasured for years to come.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

At the beginning of lockdown, I started a small business making and delivering healthy homemade meals to families in my area. I hope to continue with my new venture as I enjoy cooking and experimenting with new healthy and sustainable recipes.  My Business Management degree studies will also keep me busy before we return for pageant week.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

I would love for South Africa to see me grow and get to know me on a more personal level before the final night. Miss SA still has amazing things planned and I would love to share my journey every step of the way.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

My family! This unsure and challenging time reminded me once again that you can’t put a price tag on building memories and spending quality time with your family. I rediscovered my goals and what I want to achieve as a young woman. We should all strive to keep on creating new opportunities where there seems to be none

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

It breaks my heart to see the current economic struggles that South Africans are facing due to this pandemic. The unemployment rate has risen dramatically and there are so many uncertainties not knowing what this country’s future might look like. South Africans should use this time to uplift one another and support small business ventures wherever they can. Standing together as a nation and opening our hearts is the only way that we will get through this stronger and better.

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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist for Miss South Africa?

I was overcome with emotion; excited, relieved and grateful all at the same time which came out in a flood of tears.

Did you celebrate?

I celebrated with a special dinner and balloons because to me balloons are always reserved for momentous occasions.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

I always thought that I could not relate to people for having not gone through their same experiences but through this journey I have learned that I can relate through emotion because we have all felt joy, we have all felt pain and above all, we are all human.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

I will be supporting anti-gender-based violence initiatives with the focus on educating our youth on the topic as well as behaviours that plant the seeds which result in future gender-based violence. It is close to my heart because I was bullied from a young age and it took me a long time to regain my confidence. I want to empower our young women so they will stand together and protect each other. The young women of our country need to be reminded of their worth and reminded that they have a voice so that they can take back their power and embrace their full potential.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

A touching thing that happened to me since being named a Miss SA contender, was getting many encouraging messages from young women. One young girl told me how I’ve inspired her to be the best version of herself and propelled her to inspire others. I could not ask for anything more because that is exactly what I set out to do. Interactions such as this have been very fulfilling and have touched my heart in a big way.

What has been your most memorable part of the process so far?

My favourite moment of the process was meeting all the other girls. We had been unable to meet for so long, especially with me being in a different province.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I don’t have specific plans for the months leading up to the pageant except to be mindfully present in each and every moment, taking it all in and truly living every experience. This journey happens to very few people and I want to make sure I really appreciate it and don’t forget it.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

Miss SA is breaking barriers and shattering ceilings. I encourage everyone to follow along because there is so much to learn just by watching and listening. I have grown a great deal as a person in this short time and I believe by watching the remainder of my journey, by watching my continued growth, people will be able to learn and grow themselves.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

Seeing people coming together in generosity and opening their hearts to those in need. Especially now since so many people are suffering, those who have the ability to help have done what they can to alleviate that suffering.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

People who act like the rules and restrictions that are put in place to protect us, don’t apply to them. We should all be trying to do our part to stay safe and protect those around us who are vulnerable.

Karishma Ramdev (25) comes from Chatsworth in KwaZulu Natal but lives in Johannesburg where she is a 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!

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

I felt this wave of relief come over me, I was so happy. There were so many thoughts going through my mind all at once and my immediate reaction was to just cover my face and take it all in! I was so emotional that I couldn’t hold back the tears. I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to experience this journey and truly enjoy it all.

Did you celebrate?

I was told that I was in the Miss South Africa Top 10 in the morning so I felt it was only fit to celebrate with a good breakfast! I have been totally enjoying good toasted sandwiches recently so I had one of those to start my day – which was a very bright day for me indeed. This milestone that the other nine girls and I have achieved is no small feat and I believe it was so important to celebrate.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

I’ve learnt that everything that I’ve gone through and experienced in my life has made me who I am today and has led me to this point, on this journey and that where I am right now is exactly where I was meant to be. I am so happy with who I am that I feel a sense of security in myself that allows me to enjoy the entire experience and not compare myself to anyone else.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

I am extremely passionate about helping the women and children of our country. There is so much untapped potential. I want to go around the country using the knowledge I have gained and speaking to them about safe hygiene practices, sexual practices, our hormones and how they play a part in our lives as well as the use of contraception. With the youth I want to go deeper – especially with the underprivileged schools – so that the resources they use are up to date because this will give them a better platform to receive further opportunities.  We can only further develop our nation if we in invest in our youth and their education.

Any touching/funny moments that have happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

I was at the hospital booking a CT scan for a patient in what I call “my spaceman jumpsuit” because it is a white disposable jumpsuit that covers my entire body and hair (I also wear a mask so the only things you can see are my eyes). As I’m waiting in line, one of the patients turns around and looks at me and says “Yes, Miss Karishma Ramdev”. I was SO shocked that I was recognised by just my eyes and eyebrows alone! It just further shows the power of the Miss South Africa platform.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

It would have to be meeting the girls and spending every day getting to know them and bond with them. It really is a sisterhood we are manifesting. I also thoroughly enjoyed shooting our Miss SA 2020 top 10 official photos!

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I want to continue on the journey I’m currently walking, which is to be the best version of myself and always be open to learning new things. I want to keep healthy and fit and work on the initiatives I’m passionate about so that I can reach as many people as possible. It is slightly challenging due to COVID but social media is a powerful tool so I plan to use it to my best ability.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

I want to include you all in the journey so that you get to understand me for who I am and hopefully that answers any questions you might have about me. It’s not easy showing the true and authentic you but that’s exactly what I am doing. The pageant is so much more than just a show, it’s a way to truly make a difference in our nation and I hope that when you see what the organization and I get to do together in the lead up to October, you feel inspired to do the same.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

The fact that people are pulling together to help others in this time of need. The random acts of kindness from so many people have gone a long way – from distributing masks and blankets to people on the streets, to sending care packages to those infected with COVID and donating PPE to healthcare workers. The spirit of togetherness has not faded away.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

Being a healthcare worker, I know the strain it’s put on us all. We are human just like everyone else and our numbers are continuously decreasing at work as more and more of us get infected with COVID. I think we need to remember to take care of ourselves. The hospitals are so busy with infected patients that when the alcohol ban was lifted, it was absolutely manic with trauma. I urge people to be mindful of others during this pandemic and remember that even if it might not affect you, it may affect someone else. Let’s ensure our actions are not only in our best interests but also in the best interests of others.

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!

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10?

I was at work when I found out and had to keep my cool to not give it all away. It really felt unreal! This is a life transforming opportunity and with every step closer to achieving it, the magnitude of the platform leaves me amazed.

Did you celebrate?

I unfortunately was unable to celebrate because of lockdown restrictions and living away from family. I did however have a nice dinner with my little sister and one of my friends.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

Since finding out that I made the top 10 I have gotten an opportunity to spend time with the other finalists and getting to know them has reinforced my passion for forming collaborative relationships with other young people who want to build our communities. I am looking forward to working with them past the pageant.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

I am passionate about social entrepreneurship. I describe it as an idea that says purpose and profit do not have to be mutually exclusive. It allows the youth and women to identify the social issues facing their respective communities and encourages them to come up with self-sustaining solutions to those issues through entrepreneurship. This will allow us to combat social issues and fight poverty and unemployment. This is an idea I practice and advocate for.

Is there anything touching that has happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

I am not the most socially connected person, but this has changed drastically since I entered Miss SA. Having old school mates, distant family and strangers reach out to show their support has been encouraging and uplifting.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

The interview is my most memorable part. It allowed me to share my ideas and passion. The judges got to see who I really am. It was nerve-wracking, but it was the biggest step towards reaching my goals.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

Being part of this journey has reminded me of the importance of always being the best possible version of you myself. I will be working on myself and finding the best way to present myself on pageant day. I have also been reminded of my own potential as an individual so I will be working to create platforms that allow other young people to fulfil their potential and hopefully help them kickstart their ventures.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

Miss SA 2020 will be a brand ambassador for our country so I think it is important for everyone to know her and understand what she stands for. This will also allow everyone to contribute constructively to ensure she represents us all in the best way.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

This pandemic has shown us the compassion we are capable of as human beings. Seeing people sacrifice their freedom for the greater good as been incredible. It brought the truest manifestation of Ubuntu on a global scale.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

Sadly, we have seen how the pandemic and the restrictions it came with have helped raise awareness around the social issues in our communities like racism, femicide, poverty and unemployment. It is sad that we are still addressing the same issues generations before us had to address and on the same scale. I hope the increased awareness will help us take sustainable steps towards eradicating these issues.

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.”

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

I was in complete disbelief! Even now, I keep thinking I am dreaming and someone is going to wake me up. This is such an honour because it is something I have dreamed of, and worked for, for such a long time.

Did you celebrate?

I am not a very good dancer, but when the call ended, I turned on my favourite song Into Ingawe by Ami Faku and started dancing around my apartment.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

I am much braver than I thought I was. Being vocal about controversial societal issues is not an easy thing to do, and it can be terrifying. However, I have found that whether I receive negative, or positive comments, I am able to stand my ground.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

An initiative called Grace Beyond Borders, which was founded by Aurelie Kalenga and Kelly Kabongo, who are on a mission to provide food parcels to foreign nationals living in South Africa, who do not qualify for the COVID-19 relief grant. This particular initiative is very close to my heart, as it is aligned with my campaign of building unity, acceptance and love within the African continent.

Is there anything touching that has happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

Being able to experience this moment with my parents and siblings has been so special. They have celebrated with me and helped calm my anxiety when needed.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

Getting to meet and spend time with the rest of the finalists. They are not only powerful and inspirational women, but they have a great sense of humour too.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I have been really inspired to adopt a healthier diet and exercise routine and leave my favourite meal (ribs and wings) for a while. That is what I will be working on until pageant day.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

There is still so much I want to offer and share with the rest of South Africa. Most people are aware of what my campaign is about and now I would like to also offer and show them who Melissa, the 24-year-old woman from eGcuwa, is.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

I really appreciate how the majority of people are abiding by the social distancing rules. It is not an easy thing to do.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

A lot of people have lost their jobs due to this pandemic, some who are close to me have been unemployed for a few months now and are still struggling to find employment. It is a tough time and my heart goes out to every person who has been retrenched.

Natasha Joubert (23) 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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

It truly felt surreal. I am so honoured to be amongst nine other powerful women and to be a part of this platform, one that changes our lives and make us grow. It felt rewarding, as you truly have to work hard and open yourself up too many challenges.

Did you celebrate?

Of course! It was extremely close to my 23rd birthday so I celebrated and immediately started packing.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

So many things. I learnt that being vulnerable is an asset and not a weakness. You make a much bigger impact showing others your emotions, as it inspires them to also be confident in themselves. It’s okay to express how you feel, because there will always be a person who needed to see it and feel represented. Another thing was that I have a powerful voice and to use it truly feels empowering.

What is the initiative you are supporting?

There are a few charities I volunteer at and I try and assist wherever I can. I’m involved with Initiate Life and Motherkind. During this pandemic I assisted in helping to pack food parcels and other necessities to those who desperately need it during this difficult time. One that I would love to still take on, is getting more educational opportunities to those who can’t afford it. I myself had to get bursaries and pay my own studies to be able to study after school. We need more entrepreneurial leaders, and the first step is a fair and good quality education. Hopefully I can work with my college to assist others who truly need the assistance.

Is there anything touching that has happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

The most incredible thing I have experienced thus far is knowing that I have inspired some young girls.

What has been your most memorable part of the process so far?

We have had numerous workshops on various topics where experts in different fields have shared their knowledge. This includes former Miss South Africa’s sharing their experiences and giving advice that you won’t get elsewhere and that will forever be useful to us. We truly get equipped to help as evolve and grow and get exposed to the necessary tools we will need in future.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I intend to embrace every step of the journey. I want to grow and learn more about myself, push myself to my best limits and build forever relationships. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and for the next few months I want to take it all in, as I know I’ll be able to apply it to my life moving forward.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

Because this is more than just a pageant and more than just about the crowning on the night. Miss South Africa is a women empowerment movement that inspires thousands of South African women to face their potential and that’s exactly what their philosophy is “Face your power, and embrace your future”.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

I would say, entering Miss South Africa. Through an extremely troubling time this has been a platform where I could use my voice. Family has also been such a big part at being optimistic and supporting as much as possible.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

It is disheartening knowing that a lot more people have become unemployed and have no income. I really hope that we can rebuild on the damage that has been done.

Shudufhadzo Musida (24) 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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist for Miss South Africa?

I was in disbelief but also filled with so much excitement because I now have the opportunity to continue following my dream.

Did you celebrate?

I was at a shoot at the time, so I did a happy dance and people around me kept wondering why I was so happy.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

That my voice matters and that the things I thought were my weaknesses are actually my greatest strengths.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

I am passionate about mental health awareness, and the economic and educational empowerment of women and children – especially in disadvantaged communities. In many disadvantaged and rural communities mental health is often overlooked and disregarded. As such, destigmatising mental health will be at the forefront of my social initiatives as it provides a healthy foundation for issues such as economic and educational empowerment to be tackled successfully. It is more important now more than ever because of COVID-19 to check in on mental health, especially in the education sector with children having to adapt to so many changes in their daily lives, and more so in disadvantaged communities where poverty has been exacerbated.

Is there anything touching that has happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

There have been so many, but a few stood out for me. The first, was during our stay at the Radisson Blu in Sandton, we were doing fittings and I started getting messages from my family members after they watched a profile that was done on me on a show called Zwa Maramani on SABC 2. They were all saying how proud they were of the woman I am and am becoming, for always staying true to myself, and making my late grandmother so proud. Another one was when I got a call during a radio interview where a young woman that was bullied for being Venda called and said thank you for making her feel seen and represented in the best possible way.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

Other than the stay at the Radisson with my fellow contestants and getting to know their beautiful souls, it has to be living my dream of living a life of service. It feels amazing to reach my goal, learn more about myself and inspire others to remember the importance of community, humility, and kindness.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I am currently finishing off my post graduate degree, so the plan is to make sure I finish all the work that needs to be done before pageant day so I can just relax and enjoy it.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

This platform is truly about the empowerment of women and not only of the contestants, but of those that follow them too. We are being mentored into becoming our best selves through this platform and following this journey and the growth that each one of us are going through will make the Miss South Africa pageant in October that much more meaningful.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

My faith. There is a peace that surpasses all understanding that I have received through my faith. It reminded that I did not need big victories during this pandemic, but rather small ones. Through this kindness towards myself and the situation we are all in, the big victories had room to come into my life, because I chose positivity even it felt like there was none.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

I think the socio-economic impacts that the pandemic has had, such as job losses, and how the pandemic has exacerbated the poverty that exists in many disadvantaged communities has made me really sad. Many people were suffering before, but now it is even worse.

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.

How did you feel when you were told you were a Top 10 finalist?

It felt incredible! I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had already started building up tears when the Miss South Africa CEO Stephanie Weil sounded like she was saying goodbye, so when she eventually told me that I was a finalist I bawled my eyes out!

Did you celebrate?

I was in the middle of a workday, so I just took a few minutes to sit in my car to cry some more and talk to God.

What have you learnt about yourself since you started this journey?

That I have a contagious and positive vibe that I am able to radiate to other people. I have also learnt that I am able to function well under pressure.

What are the initiatives you will be supporting?

The initiative I’ve been involved in is called Adopt a Grade One Child. I have been involved with it since 2018 where we – all the members of the organisation – each ’adopted’ a child from Thaba Nchu in the Free State from grade 1 to ensure that their school journey is not hindered by issues such as a lack of stationery, uniform or school lunch. It’s close to my heart because I am passionate about our youth being afforded equal education opportunities. I am in a position where I can help people because of my medical degree. I encourage people to get a skill in whatever they are passionate about because it will allow them to share that skill with their communities.

Is there anything touching that has happened since you were named a Miss South Africa contender?

I always get touched by individual stories of young girls that message me on Instagram saying how much I inspire them. It keeps me going and inspires me to do more.

What has been your favourite part of the process so far?

My IGTV take over day. It’s the first time it has ever happened for a Miss SA semi-finalist and I was extremely grateful for the platform. I thoroughly enjoyed my Instagram live session because I was completely myself and people could experience my fun side.

What are your plans up until pageant day?

I’m planning on taking a break from work so that I can fully dedicate my attention to this journey. Something that I’m going to do is host a small workshop that will include career advice, a make-up tutorial and women’s health issues. I’ll also be ensuring that I prepare myself physically emotionally and spiritually so that I am the best version of myself when pageant day arrives.

Why should people follow the remainder of your journey and the Miss South Africa pageant in October?

I’m a person who celebrates and appreciates every moment in life. I’ll be sharing on a lot of the activities that we will be doing. This platform is so empowering that I want people to witness the progression in the woman that I am becoming.

What has lifted your heart during this pandemic?

Video calls with my loved ones. I wasn’t the best at maintaining communication with my friends and family before the lockdown because I knew that I would see them at some point. Now I value those conversations and they really lift my spirit.

What has made you most angry/sad during this pandemic?

I am a healthcare worker in the frontline of the pandemic. Seeing my fellow healthcare worker’s lives being taken away by this virus is an indescribable sadness. It’s like losing a soldier in a war.

About Tame Times

Tame Communications (known as tameTIMES) was established in 1997. This long-established popular community title includes the key shopping centres:  Alberton City, Mall...

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