The evening was hosted by young up and coming South African comedian, the gorgeous Lihle Msimang who added her comic flavour to the evening which was also a glittering affair with a very impressive guest list including UN dignitaries, South African actresses, such as Kgomotso Christopher, Khabonina, no stranger to the social scene, Maps Maponyane and Yvonne Chaka Chaka to name a few. Ambassadors were dressed by Authenticate Collection and had upcycled garments made by the students of the Generation Earth council at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Behind the scenes the young women were taken care of by Bijan Boutique Hairdressing and The Make Up Issue with jewellery by Jenni Gault with Fairtrade wine for the event from Enaleni Wines in partnership with Stellenbosch Wines.
With a passion for people, planet and health, it is no surprise that Nozipho Magagula was announced as the 2016 Miss Earth South Africa at a gala dinner at Montecasino, that honoured the finalists and ambassadors for the environmental and community work done over this year.
The 4th year Medicine student has been hard at work balancing her studies and responsibilities as a finalist and has proven that if you want something done, giving it to a busy person, is a good idea. Announced as the 2016 ambassador, she will go on to represent South Africa at the international Miss Earth next month in the Philippines as the focus turns to Eco Tourism. The gala evening was attended by Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom who has been an avid supporter of the community work done by this leadership programme.
This young woman is set for an exciting year of work and community engagement across the country and globe. Born in Atteridgeville, West of Pretoria, Magagula is determined to use the year that lies ahead to make an impact not only on schools and communities but within the medical sphere as well. She says that her long term plan is to go into public health and family healthcare as these have a deep sense of community and the social impact that can be made is huge and she is resolute on using her love for medicine and her platform as Miss Earth South Africa 2016, to leave a legacy.
Ella Bella Constantinides Leite, Director of the programme said; “It’s rewarding to see the growth and influence of the Miss Earth South Africa programme, over a period of more than twelve years. We aim to continue to empower young women with the knowledge and platform to create a sustainable difference in our plight to combat the destruction of our natural heritage.”
It has been an intense few months for the finalists who have been hard at work, with a mission to change the perception and understanding of waste through the 2016 campaign #WasteStopsWithME which was launched earlier this year with partners Pikitup and the City of Johannesburg. #WasteStopsWithME was executed through many different kinds of projects, campaigns and events. Not only did these young women take to the streets of Johannesburg to create awareness on keeping our city clean, but they organised themselves across the country to arrange community clean up’s, beach clean up’s and again extensive educational programmes at a grass roots level in communities, townships and rural areas. These young women met with pickers in their communities, the staff working at landfill sites and those that depend on sorting recyclables from landfills just to survive. The challenges we face on waste are immense and these young women took up the challenge and working closely with the Pikitup teams on the ground they moved across the breadth and width of this sprawling city of Johannesburg to talk to people, influence behaviour change and to start conversations and discussions with corporate partners and stakeholders alike.
Finalists have been staying at the Tsogo Sun, Palazzo Hotel, in Johannesburg for the past week where they got to share their community work with an esteemed panel of judges, unpacking their commitment and hunger to leave green footprints in their cities across the country. Finalists were joined by the Tsogo Sun team in Diepsloot last week as they installed a Vegetable Tunnel with Nedbank, for student at Muzomuhle Primary School and did a clean up around the school as part of their #WasteStopsWithME campaign.
Ella Bella also said, “The finalists demonstrated clear leadership qualities, creative thinking, strength of mind and of character, and most importantly, a passion for making a sustainable difference in their communities. The programme has been exciting and challenging and whilst ensuring that these young women have made an impact on the communities around them, they have also delivered a service and compassion. The participants made an effort to inspire and educate individuals, schools, communities, corporate South Africa and policymakers to consider the environment and the challenges that we face as a nation and indeed as a continent.”
The group of winners include a power packed team including Jeanine Keet, first runner up who is a Draftsman in Johannesburg and comes from Newclare, second runner up is Bloemfontein’s Elne Coller who is doing her final year in Occupational Therapy, and third runner up is Civil Engineer Mireesha Narsai of Kloof in KZN, she is currently completing her Masters Degree in Biofluid Mechanics. These four winners are joined by their official ambassadors for the year, Mandisa Mqolombeni, Hasesha Naidu and Annie Kirsten.
The organisation is endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Tourism with Minister Molewa stating that; “Through your work locally and internationally, you continue to make our country proud. I wish you success in the future and thank you for partnering with government and business, to make a better world.”
Executive Director of Miss Earth South Africa, Catherine Constantinides says; “Climate Change will be the biggest challenge we face in our lifetimes, and it’s up to us to realize that we will be the catalysts for change that will push our countries towards a greener tomorrow. Planting a tree might seem like a simple act, but in effect it’s about being part of a global movement to secure a future for the generations to come.”
SA’s green girl goes home with a very special prize package including a fully paid for international trip to the Philippines next month where she will represent the country and the work of the organisation. Winners will also receive prizes from David Green Eyewear, gifts from Healing Earth, Crystal Forum and Jenni Gault. Her hair treatments and styling will be sponsored by leading Sandton-based salon, Bijan Boutique Hair, a long-time partner of the organisation. Coupled with dental care from Sandton Dental Studio, will ensure that Miss Earth SA will cater for her smile, with Camelot taking care of all her beauty needs. Earth Pro-Biotics and Eco Monkey will equip her for a greener lifestyle in her day-to-day living, while Samsonite will ensure that she travels in style both locally and internationally. Cadbury, Body Twenty, Matsimela, Sorbet Fourways and Parco Bags have also given special gifts for the winners and finalists.
The programme is proud to work throughout the year with Pikitup and the City of Johannesburg alongside Tsogo Sun, the official home and venue partner of Miss Earth South Africa and strategic partners SAPPI and Newsclip Media Monitoring.