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Meet the Girls…

The biggest fundraising event on Zimbali Rotary Club’s calendar is the annual Miss Ballito competition. This year’s top 13 contestants are currently undergoing various mentorship programmes in the build-up to the crowning evening in September. Here they are!

Who is Miss Ballito? She is a young lady, between the ages of 17 and 24 years old, who has a passion for the community and strong desire to make a difference. She is an ambassador for the North Coast and a voice for those less-fortunate. Meet the finalists for this year’s Miss Ballito pageant, sponsored by CMH Motor City Ballito.

BONGEKILE SLIZIWE MPATHANE, 17, GLENHILLS KWADUKUZA

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Bongekile is doing a secretarial course and also working towards getting her learner’s license. Motivated to enter Miss Ballito after seeing previous winners on social media, Bongekile says she was inspired by the charity work the finalists took part in. She also hopes to become a successful model one day.
A few things people might not know about me are:
I have a soft spot for people living with Albinism. Although I am young, I am looking forward to being an independent woman one day. If I do get married, I would like to marry someone from a completely different culture to mine.

BWALYA GUMEDE, 21, DURBAN

A student doing a diploma in information technology, Bwalya’s motivation for entering Miss Ballito is to grow her confidence and skills and give back to the community.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I always wear a smile, even when I’ve been hurt. I did, however, hide my smile for about five years after a friend said something hurtful about my mouth and teeth. I have a normal appetite and am just naturally skinny (people always ask if I eat enough or if I’m on a diet)!”

CHANÉ BADENHORST, 21, RICHARD’S BAY

Currently working at Hooters Umhlanga, Chané is completing various laser technology courses. She studied skin aesthetics and body therapy for two years, and says she entered Miss Ballito to raise awareness for causes close to her heart and push herself out of her comfort zone.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy at age two and began a campaign to raise as much awareness about epilepsy as possible. I like to sing and write songs, and I’m obsessed with butterflies!”

 

CHANTELLE SOUCHON, 20, SALT ROCK

Chantelle is studying foundation phase teaching and works as an au pair and babysitter. She also runs social media pages for various local businesses. Chantelle believes the Miss Ballito pageant is a fantastic way to meet more people and get involved with the community.
My favourite places to hang out on the North Coast are:
“The beach! I have recently started learning to surf with the Salt Rock Surf Shop, which has been filled with plenty of laughter. Mi Acai is great for a break from our studies and getting a healthy smoothie, and Salt Café is a win for a pizza and ice coffee! My heart is the happiest when I get to explore nature and keep fit on a cycle at Holla Trails. “

 

KI-YANO SCHOONRAAD, 23, BALLITO

A young entrepreneur, Ki-Yano owns a small Ballito business called Lipo Tan Lab. Her motivation for entering Miss Ballito is her love for the Miss Ballito organisation and what they stand for. Having lived in Ballito for three years, she’s seen previous finalists making a difference in the community and is excited to be a part of it.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I’m a very strong human being, especially having lost my mom at eight years old. I advocate for young women empowerment and love food way too much (although I do compete in ladies’ fitness competitions). My favourite place on the North Coast is Christmas Bay beach.”

 

MELISSA LANDMAN, 19, BALLITO

Melissa is studying cybercrime and security through IBM and loves anything technology-related. She hopes to succeed in the field of ethical hacking. She also works part-time for a marketing company and teaches modelling. Having grown up watching many girls enjoy the Miss Ballito journey, she is excited to finally enter herself.
My favourite places to hang out on the North Coast are:
“The beach for sunset walks or picnics with family and friends, and I enjoy spending time at Lifestyle Centre with my friends, grabbing lunch and doing window shopping.”

MICHELINE SOUCHON, 20, SALT ROCK

Micheline is studying foundation phase teaching and works as an au pair. She loves being surrounded by kids and says she entered Miss Ballito to grow herself as a person, interact with the community, make friends and have fun!
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I am one of four kids and love being part of a big family. I am passionate about baking and cooking and, although many people know I am a twin, not many know that we are mirror twins. Mirror twins develop when the split occurs late, leading us to develop reverse asymmetric features. The motto I live by is, ‘if you don’t try, you’ll never know.’”

 

MIRESHA DHANI, 18, SHAKASKRAAL

Miresha is studying air and ground services and cabin crew through the Sky Aviation Academy. She has been following the Miss Ballito page for the past few years, waiting for her opportunity to participate. She hopes to build her self-confidence, get to know new people and help serve the community
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I am compassionate, shy, but also ambitious. I love hanging out on the beach and the motto I live by is ‘do not let the perceptions of others define you.’”

 

NATARIYA MURUGAN, 18, UMHLANGA

Natariya is a first-year BCom accounting student at UKZN Westville. She entered Miss Ballito as a way to build her self-confidence and learn life lessons. She loves giving back and believes this platform is a great way to network with organisations and spread awareness.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“Besides being a student, I am also a YouTuber. I post travel blogs, challenges, family content and movie reviews. I launched my ‘Break the Silence’ campaign to raise awareness about mental health in 2018. I love singing and acting. I participated in many school productions and I write scripts for fun.”

 

NOKULUNGA ZIKHALI, 22, DORINGKOP, KWADUKUZA

Unable to further her studies owing to financial constraints, Nkulunga is currently on the hunt for a job while also helping her older sister with babysitting. She was motivated to enter Miss Ballito to grow herself and become an inspiration to other young girls in her community.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I am very scared of large audiences and heights … and I cannot dance! When I’m not at home I enjoy hanging out at the Ballito Junction mall and Blythedale beach. The motto I live by is, ‘never give up’.”

 

SENAMISILE NKWANYANA, 20, TONGAAT

A makeup artist working in a salon, Senamisile says she entered Miss Ballito because she enjoys helping people in the community and wants to inspire other young people to do good.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I’m a down-to-earth and generous person and I’m open and kind. I believe that there is beauty in everything. My favourite places to hang out on the North Coast are Fifth Avenue in Salt Rock and Hops in Ballito.

 

SHANNON-GRACE THOMAS, 17, ZULULAND

Currently completing her last year in high school, Shannon-Grace says her main reason for entering Miss Ballito is because the platform has the same vision and goals that she does. She loves helping the less fortunate, working in the community and empowering women.
My favourite places to hang out on the North Coast are:
“I love going to the small cafés around Ballito – and there is quite a big variety now! I also love going to the beaches. Thompson’s Bay is a lovely place to be!”

 

ZOË THEUNISSEN, 20, SHEFFIELD

Currently working as an au pair, babysitter and house-sitter, Zoe says she was intrigued by the idea of Miss Ballito, meeting new people her age and reigniting her confidence. She hopes to be a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.
A few things people might not know about me are:
“I love animals and enjoy art, hiking and horse riding. I also value those who value me. My favourite places to hang out on the North Coast include the Umhlanga beach and promenade, Gateway, the Market at Lifestyle Centre Ballito and Sugar Rush Park.

Details: Keep an eye on social media: @missballito for details about upcoming cocktail events and the crowning evening. If you would like sponsor prizes contact Heidie on: [email protected]

Photos: Chelsea Maloney from Poppy and Poet
Swimwear: Beach & beyond / Dresses: Leahnova
Shoot location: Zululami Clubhouse

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