Bubbly, beautiful, brainy … this year’s Miss Ballito winner Cikizwa Vilakazi is the full package. We caught up with the Stanger-born screenwriting and directing student to find out a little more about her and her future goals.
“I came into this journey looking for growth and that’s exactly what I found,” says 20-year-old Cikizwa, who grew up spending weekends and holidays on the beaches of Ballito and Salt Rock. Now in her second year at AFDA (school of motion picture and live performance) and living in Umhlanga, Cikizwa tells us about her Miss Ballito journey.
Tell us a bit about your studies and why you chose the film industry?
I always knew I wanted to be in the media industry. During my senior phase of high school my parents noticed how much I loved dramatic arts and bringing productions to life and encouraged me to look into a career that would allow me to follow that passion. I love directing and screenwriting, especially the process of taking a concept, putting it onto paper as literary artwork and then watching it come to life. I’ve always been fascinated by the work that goes into visual storytelling.
What prompted you to enter the Miss Ballito pageant?
I had been in search of a platform that would provide me with the tools to grow as an individual for a long time. After researching Miss Ballito and the journey that the finalists embark on, I decided to enter. The platform focuses on and highlights values and morals that resonate with who I am and the woman I want to be one day.
Tell us about your Miss Ballito experience?
My Miss Ballito journey was a very transformative one. I was hesitant at first about putting myself in the public eye, being subject to criticism and worried about feelings of inadequacy, but that quickly changed as soon as the journey actually began. It was a massive eye-opener for me about the broader issues that different communities face and the way we individually perceive life. We received coaching on how to deal with day-to-day life and having control over our emotions and reactions to different situations. I came into this journey looking for growth and that’s exactly what I found. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the entire experience. The memories I have, from building bonds with all the beautiful finalists and being under the guidance of Heidie and Karen (Miss Ballito coordinators), are memories that will forever be close to my heart.
How did you feel when you were crowned Miss Ballito 2021?
To say I was over the moon is an understatement. I am so excited to start my journey and I really hope to make the North Coast community proud during my reign. Being trusted with this title has opened up so many opportunities for me to actually implement what I had wished for when I entered Miss Ballito. I will now be able to not only continue growing as an individual but also to help the community that raised me grow as well.
What are your goals in terms of giving back to the community as Miss Ballito?
I really want to focus on implementing the next phases of the charity project that I started as a finalist – an all-round educational and entrepreneurship program. I have already started with the pre-school phase, where I donated to and renovated a school in Stanger. Now I want to look at issues affecting primary school goers, like the need for school shoes, stationary and sanitary pads. The major and final phase of this project is implementing a tertiary and entrepreneurship programme in schools that are not fortunate enough to have access to these opportunities. I have also been tasked with starting a new Rotaract Club and working through Rotaract to uplift our community and others around us.
Where do you want to see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully as the owner of a multi-award-winning digital media production house. I also hope to be in the position to start a funding and bursary programme for others who aspire to be in the media industry as there are currently limited institutions that provide financial aid in this sector. I’d also like to be the writer and art director of a Netflix-commissioned series or film and I would also love to have completed, or be in the process of completing, my PhD in Film and Media studies.
What do you hope to find under the Christmas tree this year?
This year I have already been blessed with far more than I would have ever imagined, but the cherry on top would be finding a box with a set of car keys that has my name on the key chain!
Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: INYONI PHOTOGRAPHY | Shoot location: KIJABE LODGE