THE glitz and glamour of the annual The Herald Spec-Savers Miss Port Elizabeth pageant culminated in Nandipa Mnuna being crowned Nelson Mandela Bay’s newest ambassador last night. The 20-year-old accounting student from Kwazakhele snatched the title from a bevy of 11 other beauties at the sold-out gala event at the Opera House.
The first runner-up is office administrator Elze Vermaak, 22, and marketing student Nicola van der Merwe, also 22, was second runner-up.
The five judges for the evening had a tough night selecting the city’s new ambassador but finally decided on Nandipa, who said the reality of being The Herald Spec-Savers Miss PE 2011 had not yet sunk in.
“Maybe it will hit me tomorrow. I don’t even know why I’m so calm. I really did not think that I would win this. Everything is just happening so quickly, it’s quite surreal,” she said minutes after being crowned.
Nandipa impressed the judges and the audience with her answer when asked who her role-model was, and why.
“I really have to say that it is my mom. She has raised me to believe in God and she gave me the most powerful gift which is education. She is a single mother and there is nothing that I have ever asked of her that she has not fulfilled.”
Nandipa listed a love for dancing and socialising in her pre-judging phase, and chose the Masinyusane Development Organisation, a group which empowers through education and entrepreneurship, as her charity for her reign.
“My first responsibility is to the charity and the work that we have to do starts now. We have to get Masinyusane into the public eye,” she said.
Internationally acclaimed dance troupe Uphondo Lwe Africa kept the audience entertained.
The new darling of the Bay walks away the lion’s share of prizes worth R600,000, including the use of a Mini Cooper convertible from Continental Cars, a luxurious travel prize courtesy of Uniglobe Bay Travel for her and a friend to visit Club Med Bali, evening gowns from Don Marco, jewellery from Francarlo Designer Goldsmith and a year’s free membership at Profiles gym.