To usher in Women’s Month in August, five of the Miss SA hopefuls shared a few of their kitchen secrets and cooking tips with Food For Mzansi.
This year the Top 30 also includes two medical doctors, an attorney, a commercial pilot, and environmental specialist, students, and graduates.
Among finalists competing in the annual pageant is North West’s Lehlogonolo Machaba (24), who makes history gracing the stage as the first transgender woman to openly compete in the pageant.
1. Sisterly love for the kitchen
Miss SA hopeful Zimi Mabunzi (26) credits her sister Yolisa for her culinary passions. She would often take the role of “guinea pig” while her sister cooked up a storm in their Qonce, Eastern Cape home.
“When I was young, I barely spent any time cooking. My job was to taste and wash the dishes. However, when my sister went to varsity, I had to step it up. I suddenly remembered all those times watching her make dishes for the family and all the tasting I did.
“My sister could and still makes the heartiest meals out of the least ingredients, that’s what I love most about cooking. She taught me so much and puts so much fun into cooking. I always look forward to cooking for the family and one day hosting dinner parties at my own place.”
Umphokoqo and umngqusho are without a doubt a local favourite she cherishes.
Mabunzi is a final year student studying toward her B.Com Law degree at the Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha.
Despite adversity and the challenges of being a woman in Mzansi, Mabunzi encourages women to continue to remain hopeful.
“I pray that our hope for better stays alive. There is no society that thrives without the heart of women. Conditions may not always be favourable for us, but all of us, in all our differences, are necessary.”
2. Is there a doctor in the kitchen?
For qualified doctor and Miss SA contender Ferini Dayal (26) nothing beats changing out of her scrubs and tying her apron around her waist as she gears up to whip up something scrumptious in her kitchen.
“I love cooking. After a hard day’s work at the hospital, there’s nothing more relaxing for me than pottering around in the kitchen and coming up with something wholesome and delicious for dinner,” says the Johannesburger.
Ferini attained her Bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of Witwatersand in 2014 and later graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBcH) in 2018.
After completing her two-year internship at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital she is now a community service doctor in Vosloorus’ Thelle Mogoerane Hospital.
As we gear up to celebrate Women’s Month, she urges women to value their independence and to infiltrate spaces.
Ferini says, “Generations before us were not provided with this opportunity. Enrich your knowledge, bloom in society, create an impact and don’t apologise for who you are in your independence.”
3. You are worthy
A guilty pleasure for Ané Oosthuysen is watching chefs battle it out on MasterChef Australia. It came as no surprise that the 23-year-old Gauteng resident would be keen on exploring the kitchen.
Oosthuysen has been working as an assistant teacher at a primary school while also being a full-time student studying for her PGCE teaching qualification. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology with Honour’s degrees in psychology and medical sociology, from North-West University.
Ultimately, she hopes to become a qualified educational psychologist, but until then she is happy teaching, playing netball, spending quality time with her family and baking apple pies.
Oosthuysen has a friendly reminder for the women who tend to forget that they are of high value. “You are enough. We are often so focused on being what the world tells us to be that we forget we already have everything within us to achieve greatness.”
4. The seven colours of Sunday
Top 30 Miss SA contender Andile Mazibuko (23) loves nothing more than a plate of creamy samp and oxtail, especially when sitting around the table for a lazy Sunday lunch with family and friends.
The KwaZulu-Natal native is a final year homeopathy student at the Durban University of Technology. She says nothing beats her mother Sibongile’s beef stew and steamed bread.
Mazibuko hails from eMabedlane in Ulundi, but she relocated to Durban.
She firmly believes, “Sundays are not Sundays for me without what we call ‘seven colours’ and is a reflection of every African home.”
Her message of hope to South African women is, “No-one can hold your crown up high better than you can. Rise against adversity and prove to the world just how much of a superpower being a woman is.”
5. Dessert is a food group
When asked what her favourite meal was, Miss SA hopeful Danielle Marais (24) had no hesitation, quickly saying “dessert.”
“I am more of a ‘will wash up for food’ type of person. My family cooks and I clean the kitchen. But there are two things that I can cook – eggs on toast and crème brûlée.
“Everyone has this misconception that crème brûlée is impossibly hard to make and reserved for top chefs in five-star restaurants. But I promise you, if the eggs-on-toast girl can make it, so can you!” says the Randburg, Gauteng resident.
Marais adds: “Crème brûlée is usually eaten when cold, but in these chilly winter times its okay if you dig into it while it is still warm. Here’s where some chefs may disagree with me, but you can decide for yourself.”
Amid the scourge of violence against female bodies, she says, “Keep standing up for your worth. You do not deserve to be living in fear. Never settle. Let your voices be heard.”