Hailing from Tzaneen in Limpopo, twenty-three-year-old Miss SA Top 10 finalist Ndavi Nokeri believes women are multifaceted, and their femininity oozes strength. Embodying compassion, courage, and resilience, Ndavi is passionate about seeking plausible solutions to produce equal opportunities for all. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Investment Management from the University of Pretoria and works as a consultant at an asset management firm in Cape Town.
Ndavi’s fearless take on life is to have the courage to step outside your comfort zone because that is where your power lies. “I strive to constantly put myself in positions that challenge me to dig into the infinite potential within me,” shares Ndavi. Being an advocate for equal access to quality education, Ndavi believes South Africa can build empowered and innovative leaders by equipping underprivileged learners with the necessary resources.
Moziak caught up with Ndavi to discuss all things Miss SA, her journey in pageantry, and her passion for bridging the country’s literacy gap.
Congratulations on making it to the Top 10. How do you feel about reaching this milestone?
Ndavi: I am overwhelmed with so many emotions of joy and excitement! I’m so grateful to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I also feel a great sense of accomplishment, as this is something I’ve worked hard and prayed for. It feels so surreal to be living in a moment that I’ve dreamt of. Dreams really do come true.
What drew you to the world of pageantry?
Ndavi: There are not many platforms that showcase the holistic strength of a woman. I think pageantry is leading the way in showing society that women cannot be boxed. We are multifaceted in the sense that we are powerful yet nurturing and compassionate yet impactful, which I believe is why we need more women in leadership. Pageants have highlighted that our femininity is a strength and not a weakness. And it is through pageantry that I’ve gained a higher level of self-awareness that has enabled me to be of better service to my community. I have grown as a leader and gained more resources to give back.
How has your journey in this awe-inspiring competition been thus far?
Ndavi: This journey has been life-changing. It has been filled with many memorable moments, invaluable lessons, and endless opportunities. It’s so empowering to be surrounded by other women who are also deeply passionate about making a difference. I’m excited to build long-lasting relationships because when women come together, we are an unstoppable force.
What has been the most memorable moment of your journey in the pageant?
Ndavi: The moment when I found out that I had won the public vote was one of my biggest highlights. I was filled with so much gratitude! It takes a lot of courage to declare such a big dream, like wanting to become Miss South Africa publicly; knowing that my country believes in this dream with me and that so many people see themselves reflected in me was so reassuring. It does take a village, and I appreciate my village for showing up for me.
South Africa has various socio-economic issues. Which of these are you most passionate about tackling?
Ndavi: When you look at the socio-economic issues of South Africa, it can easily get overwhelming, but we all have a role to play in creating the South Africa of our dreams, and I will play my part by tackling the educational inequality gap in our country. I aim to work towards reducing the information barriers that exist, increasing computer literacy in underdeveloped schools, and fairly distributing the necessary resources learners need to become successful in their academic and professional careers. All young South Africans should be given a quality education.
We celebrated Youth Month a few weeks ago. What lessons do you think the youth of today can learn from the resilient youth of 1976?
I think what we can all learn from the youth of 1976 is that we need to stop waiting for someone to bring about the change we want for our country and that we should understand and own up to the fact that we have the power to change our nation if we stand in unity! Their bravery and courage have taught me to always live from a place of passion and love for my country and that our education is worth fighting for. The future of our country is in our hands.
The Miss South Africa pageant is set to take place in August. What are your plans from now until then?
Ndavi: This is the final stretch before the finish line, so I want to maximise this time by continuing the work that I have started in my community and implementing initiatives that will improve the educational landscape in rural areas. I will also be focussing on my final preparations for the finale. Being Miss SA is a big responsibility, so I want to ensure I am prepared mentally, emotionally, and physically to be the best version of myself for myself and South Africa.
In partnership with the Miss SA organisation, Ndavi hopes to make impactful strides toward reducing inequality and unemployment in South Africa. She believes this will unleash the greatness within our nation and empower every individual with the freedom and the tools to carve out their future.