She may have spent a month living on the pristine Miami coastline but after the hustle and bustle of competing in Miss Universe all Ziphozakhe Zokufa wants is to hit the beach in her hometown of Port Elizabeth.
The bubbly 22-year-old beauty arrived back in South Africa this week but says she won’t feel like she is back home until she visits Port Elizabeth.
“I’ve already contacted my mother and the Miss SA organisers to make sure a visit home is on top of my to-do list,” she said.
For now, though, Zokufa is settling into her plush new home – the Miss South Africa house in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The former PE schoolgirl stepped into her new role as Miss South Africa 2014 just two months ago after Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World on December 14.
As the Miss South Africa runner-up Zokufa took up the title and headed off for Miss Universe in Miami.
The pageant, held on January 25, saw Miss Columbia Paulina Vega crowned.
And while Zokufa did not win she rates the pageant, and having her family in the audience, as one of the highlights of her life. Zokufa said she had fulfilled her decision to meet every other contestant and had become good friends with Miss Singapore, Rathi Menon.
Zokufa and her new-found friends were involved in a multitude of events while competing, with not all aspects of the competition glitz and glam.
“We were honoured to be involved in charitable endeavours like packaging 15 000 food parcels in 45 minutes,” she said. “It was an amazing experience. It’s not every day that you meet Donald Trump or have photo shoots on a Miami beach, so no matter what happens from here, I already feel blessed.”
While a date has not yet been set for a visit home, Zokufa says when she is back she plans on making stops at her former alma maters – Lorraine Primary School and Hill College.
“Rodney Pettitt, the principal at Hill College, has always motivated me and I often fall back on his words in times of crisis.
“I have teachers who still call me to check up so it wouldn’t be going home without seeing them.”
The self-confessed “water baby” says a dip in the ocean is also on the cards.
“I’ve missed it so much and being in Johannesburg I need to take these beach breaks when I can,” the TV production student said.