Shudufhadzo Musida is standing tall and proud after being named Miss South Africa 2020 at the 62nd annual pageant at a socially-distanced, televised event at the Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town on Saturday night.
“It feels amazing,” Musida said. “It feels surreal because during the whole time, all I could think about was ‘Oh my God, everyone in my village is watching! Everyone at home is watching.”
It’s been a dream come true for Musida who grew up watching past pageants.
“All I could think about was the time when I used to watch this show at my grandfather’s house in Venda and I’d think ‘Would I ever get there?’ So I took the plunge and the first thing I said before I entered was ‘What do I have to lose?’”
Musida was flanked by first princess Thato Mosehle and second princess Natasha Joubert as she received the crown passed on from Miss South Africa 2019, Sasha-Lee Olivier.
The 23-year-old from Limpopo was one of ten contestants from across the country battling it out for the top honour, with an event that marks an end to a journey that started with online applications in May.
“The journey was amazing because there was so much growth,” she said. “You get to learn so much about yourself. I cried so many times because I kept finding myself. I loved every single second of it.
“The highlight for me was when, on our last Cape Town trip, we would sit around the dinner table and all of us would just discuss our lives, tell each other about our adventures. And I looked around the table at every single face and I wanted to memorize them. In that moment, I was so happy. I feel immense joy just because I get to experience all these people and that’s what this pageant is about.”
A resident of Johannesburg, Musida graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE), and is currently completing a BA Honours in International Relations at the University of Witwatersrand.
With the newfound platform, one of Musida’s priorities is to highlight and raise awareness around mental health, as well as promoting the country on the global stage.
“I hope to achieve change,” she said. “I want to be representative of the beauty, diversity, and resilience that exists in this country. I want every child from every village who looks at the TV and sees this moment to know it is possible for them. I didn’t think it was possible for me and now I am sitting here with a crown on my head. Your dreams are valid.”
Highlights of the event included a showcase filmed at the Foreshore freeway bridge, a Q&A led by the judges, and final statements from the final three finalists.
Western Cape finalist Jordan Van der Vyver was named a Motherkind Fitness Ambassador following the Miss South Africa swimsuit photoshoot showcase, which took place at Clifton Beach.
The other contestants were Aphelele Mbiyo, Busisiwe Mmotla, Chantelle Pretorius, Jordan van der Vyver, Karishma Ramdev, Lebogang Mahlangu, and Melissa Nayimuli.
The judges who gave Musida the final nod were former Miss South Africa title holder Peggy-Sue Khumalo, TV personality Anele Mdoda, actress and entrepreneur Leandie du Randt, actress Kim Engelbrecht, and former 2019 title holder and Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi.
Hosted by Nomzamo Mbatha and Lalla Hirayama, the event featured recorded performances by top local artists including Mi Casa, Sho Madjozi, Jimmy Nevis, Ami Faku, and Sun El-Musician.
Along with the title of Miss SA, Musida walks away with prizes and sponsorships worth up to R3 million. She will receive a R1 million cash prize from the Miss South Africa Organisation and for the year of her reign, use of a fully furnished and serviced apartment in Central Square in Sandton with interior decor by Enza Home, and a Mercedes-Benz C200 Cabriolet.
The 62nd annual event marked the first time the pageant had been held in Cape Town.