It’s been an exciting past 24 hours for Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss…and in the last few minutes she has made her countrymen around the nation and the world so proud. Forty years after Anneline Kriel was crowned Miss World, and 56 years after Penny Rey (nee Coelen) won the title, Rolene has taken the crown for South Africa again.
Nineteen hours ago Rolene said thank you to all her fans on Facebook and wrote “I will do my best to make all of you proud!”. She succeeded.
In the words of one SAPeople facebook user Busie Chelsy Mnengi “you don’t even know how much I screamed! She won for us all.”
About one billion viewers watched the event in which Miss Hungary, Edina Kulcsar was crowned runner-up and Miss United States Elizabeth Safrit came third.
Rolene, originally from Mpumalanga, is a fourth year medical student at the University of the Free State who now lives in Bloemfontein and believes “we are all made with a purpose, a dream that has been planted in our hearts.” Of the Miss World competition, she says “it is such a privilege to receive opportunities to live towards a purpose, a dream. This purpose is a journey and not a destination.”
When she won Miss South Africa, Rolene saw her Miss SA role and medical studies as a way of combining her two passions because “Miss South Africa is all about giving. One of the greatest gifts anyone can receive is the gift of a healthy life. With my passion for giving, people and health, I will be able to contribute to one of the most important things any country desires: health for all.”
While inspiring others, Rolene herself finds inspiration from the University’s rector Professor Jonathan Jansen who “is not afraid to stand for what he believes in, he loves what he does and gives of himself to his students.”
Rolene also credits her family for making her who she is today. According to the Miss World website, she is grateful to her father for initiating her interest in medicine, her mother for teaching her the power of the mind and her brother for teaching her compassion and patience.
Just four days ago Rolene posted a photo of herself with her mom and the message “With the woman who taught me how to be a lady. I love you so much Mammie. Thank you for being my biggest supporter and also critic (at the right and perfect times. I am so grateful for you. Love Xx.”
The 22-year-old is most interested in focusing on women’s health (and has started a breast cancer campaign). Like many South Africans she’s also sports crazy and enjoys golf, netball and cycling. She’s also musically talented, and able to play the flute, piano and guitar. (And her favourite foods are her mother’s oxtail and ‘stampmielies’ “cooked on our coal oven at home”.)
Rolene also mentioned to the Miss World organisation that “South Africa is celebrating 20 years of democracy this year and I am a proud, born free citizen.”
This morning, the beautiful born free South African woke up in London (where the competition was held this evening) and posted a photo of herself getting ready with the comment “good morning all! At our final rehearsal before the show…”
A little later she posted the inspirational and famous quote by Marianne Williamson, dedicated to her “fellow #MissWorld2014 sisters” who came from 121 countries:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
“You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – By Marianne Williamson.”
Rolene then wrote “now let us go on that stage and shine for our countries!!!”
And just a few hours later, after being crowned Miss World, she said the words that have made so many happy: “South Africa, this is for you!”
Congratulations Rolene. And thank you for shining so brightly for your country, South Africa.