Name: Sihle Makhanya
Region: Panorama, Empangeni, KZN
Occupation: I work fulltime for Makhanya’s Services as a junior quantity surveyor technician intern. I’m also completing my quantity surveyor diploma on a part-time basis and since I’ve already done my training, I’m two modules away from completion and I can’t wait!
Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I have a passion for my country. The opportunities it has afforded me as a young woman have been endless and now I want to say thank you through giving back. I’m excited to work with the different charities that the Miss South Africa organisation deals with, but I’d also like to use this platform as a voice for the community. I would really love to focus on being the voice for those who do not have one.
Who is a previous Miss South Africa who has inspired you and why? Tatum Keshwar, Miss SA 2008. I met her during my matric year when I was at a low point in my life. She spoke about positivity which changed how I looked at myself as a woman and as a South African. She empowered me and that is how a Miss South Africa should be. I doubt she remembers this incident, but I do and that’s the impact I’d like to have on young girls and on Miss South Africa.
Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why? My parents. My dad is in construction and my mom is a recently retired teacher. Using their skills, they have worked hand in hand King Nkosi Mzimela of Eshowe, Kwa-Zulu Natal, to help build a school for primary school children in the rural area. Their actions have shown me that you do not need a lot to make a difference in a person’s life. You can invest in helping people without expecting anything in return, and you can make a difference.
Tell us a bit more about your family: There’s my dad, my mom and my older sister, Nomqhele ‘Q’, who runs an NGO that helps in rural development. She has three children, Lizo, Langa and Sandza. I have an older brother who is 30 and works as a stockbroker and entertainer. I lost a sister, Zandi. Growing up as the youngest was interesting and fun because I was a tomboy and often got into trouble.
What do you do in your spare time? When I’m not jogging or doing sporting activities, I’m soaking in a nice warm bath or simply relaxing. I work hard so I try my best to stay healthy through sports, but also give my body a break now and then.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? We need to start believing that we are more than beautiful. We are smart, we are driven and we are world changers. The potential we have is unbelievable and our beautiful South Africa has opened every door for us to dream and achieve beyond our wildest imagination. Let’s take this opportunity and use it to show the world that we can do it without losing our femininity.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I love maths! I used to do people’s assignments in my maths high school class and they would pay me. I was a boarder and some girls were day scholars, so if our lunch for the day in the kitchen wasn’t nice, I’d do assignments for sandwiches and sometimes money. I’d use that money to pay for my swimming classes as I was a good swimmer in those days.
What are you reading? Why “A” Students Work For “C” Students by Robert Kiyosaki. I’m a very business minded person and this book is opening up my eyes to making financial decisions for my future.
What is on your iPod? Dietrick Haddon, Enya, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Drake, Joyous Celebration, TD Jakes, Hillsong, Donnie McClurkin and Khaya Mthethwa.
Your favourite TV show? CSI, The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Beverly Hills, New York and Miami.
Your favourite meal? I’m a Zulu girl through and through so anything traditional such as tripe with amadombolo (dumplings) or my mom’s jeqe (traditional Zulu bread).
Anything else you would like to add? I was really sporty and enjoyed interacting with other young girls when growing up. I found that sports did not only give me discipline but also confidence. This helped me see my potential. If I were to become Miss South Africa I’d love to use sport and the arts as tools to empower young woman to not only dream but also see their true potential.