Pretoria - This year's top 12 Miss South Africa finalists, one of whom will be crowned Miss South Africa 2018 on May 27, have been announced as the pageant proudly celebrates its 60th anniversary with a dramatic and exciting change to its format.
The brand-new changes were announced at a glamorous event hosted at The Maslow in Pretoria on Thursday.
Traditionally, during the final on pageant night, the top 12 finalists are reduced to five, from which a second princess is announced, followed by a first princess and then the winner.
But this year, the pageant has made some drastic changes to the format of the Miss South Africa crowning.
THE NEW FORMAT
Following the cut to the top 5 finalists, the organisers will go straight to a top 2 announcement. One of the pair will be named Miss World South Africa and one will receive the title of Miss Universe South Africa. Both will go on to represent South Africa on the global stage in each respective competition.
However, as there can be only one reigning Miss South Africa, the two winners will be asked one final question by the judges as the pageant draws to a close. Their answers will determine who is crowned as the official Miss South Africa 2018.
The top 12 finalists, who each receive a prize package valued at R180 000, come from six of the country's provinces. They are an impressive group and include several medical, science and law students and a number of BComm and BSc graduates.
WHY ALL THE CHANGES?
Traditionally, the reigning Miss South Africa competed in both these international competitions.
However, if Miss South Africa won on the international stage, as Rolene Strauss did with Miss World in 2014 or there was a conflict with dates that overlapped, which happened last year when Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters lifted the Miss Universe title,the first runner-up was called upon to represent South Africa.
Says Suzette van der Merwe from Cell C on behalf of the Miss South Africa Organisation: "In 2018, we're adopting international best practice in terms of our finalist judging in order to ensure that our contestants are given a bigger share of the global spotlight by strengthening our pageantry presence internationally.
"We are delighted that this new format will give two finalists the opportunity to represent South Africa and enable them to prepare thoroughly in advance."
Miss South Africa 2018, the Diamond Jubilee spectacular with host Bonang Matheba, will take place on Sunday, May 27, at Sun International's new flagship venue, the Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria.