Being named Miss South Africa is most women’s dream and some lucky ones actually get to hold that title – if even for a year. But what happens after the year is over, when a new queen wears the crown? We spoke to Ziphozakhe ‘Zina’ Zokufa who held the title in 2014 and represented South Africa in the Miss Universe pageant.
When Rolene Strauss won Miss World 2014, the first princess Zina, who was the first princess at the time, took on the crown and represented South Africa at the Miss Universe pageant in Miami, Florida in 2015. Zina remembers the event affectionately, even though she only two weeks to prepare for the pageant.
One of the highlights of the pageant world is the sisterhood and camaraderie, even though they are competing against each other. Zina tells us that she’s made good friends in both pageants who she still spends time with this to the day. The Miss South Africa pageant gives smart and successful women around the country a chance to meet up and forge friendships which they might not have made.
When asked what the best lesson she learnt from Miss South Africa journey, she said it was the importance of following her dreams. Zina started her pageant career in 2009 when she was crowned Teen Miss Port Elizabeth. When we asked her if it was tough handed over the crown after a year, she laughed. Being used to pageant-life she knew that that was part of the deal, she comments, ‘I had no problem at all, plus I was so happy for Liesl.’ Liesl Laurie succeeded Zina by becoming Miss South Africa 2015.
Since handing the crown over, Zina has made a name for herself as a pageant judge, a model and humanitarian. Zina went back to university after her reign was over and graduated with a degree in film. She has a passion for documentary filmmaking and has already written, produced and directed a documentary about the practice of Ukuthwala (forced child marriage) in the Eastern Cape.
Zina hopes that other young women would learn from her that if you work hard and focus on where you want to be in life, you can achieve it. She said that even though it was a lot of work, not all glitz and glamour, she doesn’t regret a thing, she felt that she become stronger and more confident in herself while in the role.
About her career, she said that Miss South Africa gave her the determination and confidence to tackle any goal or dream that she aims for, and for that she will always be grateful.
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