Three University of Pretoria (UP) women are among 15 semi-finalists in the Miss South Africa pageant. They are: Sithole, a fourth-year Law student, Musida, a UP Social Sciences graduate, and Dr Ramdev, a MBChB graduate.
Matsepo Sithole (21) – voting number 8.
Sithole is in her fourth year of studying law, and her dream is to elevate South Africa’s creative industries using her law degree. She is from Pietermaritzburg and is passionate about the arts and is inspired by current Miss SA, Sasha-Lee Olivier to be comfortable in her own skin. She plans to use her platform as Miss South Africa to share her passion about how the creative industries in South Africa affect every one of us through the entertainment we like to consume, but not always pay for, with all South Africans. She says that “creatives often lack legal expertise” and she hopes to be able change that and show creatives how the law can protect them.
Shudufhadzo Musida (23) – voting number 14.
Musida is a powerful woman from Limpopo looking to empower other women and girls. She completed her Bachelor of Social Sciences in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at UP and is currently doing her honours degree in International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand. She believes that pageants like Miss South Africa empower women through representation and providing a platform for women to make a difference in South Africa. She hopes to use her platform to help alleviate period poverty, food insecurity, and the barriers that many women face when seeking help for their mental health. She says that “reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi inspired [her] to enter [Miss South Africa] because of her grace and her ability to make a statement without straining her voice”.
Dr Karishma Ramdev (25) – voting number 6.
Dr Ramdev is currently a medical intern at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, donning PPE and helping people during the current pandemic. She is a “total dog-lover” and has two German shepherds and a golden retriever, but she is also driven woman who sees herself as a reconstructive plastic surgeon by 2030. She hopes to be able to help children who need reconstructive surgery. She has been dreaming about being Miss South Africa since she was a little girl who saw Joanne Strauss on the cover of a You magazine. This is not the first time she has entered the competition, and she says it is a once in a life-time opportunity to be a finalist that leaves you with friends for life. Asked about the relevance of beauty pageants, she says that “beauty pageants are more relevant than ever […][and they] focus on how a woman can use her strength and knowledge to uplift […] her community”.
All three of these inspiring women are in the top 15 finalists of Miss South Africa. Voting is closed, but the top 10 finalists for Miss SA 2020 will be announced soon. You can find out more online (www.misssa.co.za), including a short bio on each of the contestants.
Photos: Willem Botha