Chanelle catches judges’ eye

Winter Fest Winner- Chanelle Venter 1st Princess- Thabile Mnyandu 2nd Princess- Melissa Brown

Beauty, brains, and plenty of spirit — just a few of the fine qualities on abundant display at the Miss Umhlanga Winter Festival pageant on Friday, 5 July.

The judges were looking for an attractive young woman to represent Umhlanga Tourism and they were spoilt for choice as 24 hopefuls lined up at a Main Beach stage on what was a blustery afternoon.

“The way they look, the way they stand,” event coordinator Kevin Ellis told the audience, “They look unbelievable… everyone’s a winner.” 

Danielle Visser. Picture: Herman Botes

‘Don’t be sad’

Of course it can never quite work that way and the exuberant Ellis, dressed in Union Jack socks and a loud shirt, also reminded the girls “not to be sad”.

In the end, the panel of judges that included Umhlanga Tourism chairman Peter Rose, picked  Chanelle Venter as Miss Umhlanga Winter Festival 2019.

Venter, 19, of Queensburgh, took home R3000 in cash plus R14 000 worth of prizes and was clearly delighted.


“I’m so stoked. I am really excited about it,” she said of the role she will be playing for the tourism association.

The fresh-faced beauty, who attended Werda Skool, is studying to become a teacher, while pursuing modelling.

Second place and R2000 in cash plus prizes went to Sthabile Mnyandu. 

The 22-year-old Ridgeview stunner studied chemical engineering and is doing a chemical operation learnership with Unico.

Melissa Brown, a pretty 19-year-old with a winning smile and braids, took third prize: R1000 plus vouchers and other prizes. Brown, from Inanda, is studying teaching at Embury.

Leighshé van Biljon. Picture: Herman Botes

Sweet consolation

To sweeten what is the highlight of the Umhlanga Winter Festival further, the organisers awarded a number of prizes to other contestants who caught their eye.

Beauty comes in many shapes and forms and Ellis singled out Phindile Mkhungo, who he called a “warrior… you are amazing”. Mkhungo received a R1000 Dupe voucher and a Coca-Cola goodie bag among other prizes.

Queen of the Day went to Smangile Jilli, 26; Most Potential to Laika Singh, 16; and Miss Personality to Samkelisiwe Luthuli, 22.

Fifteen-year-old Rachel Daley was named Miss Photogenic.

What a Daley!

It proved to be quite a day for the Daley family, of Durban North. 

Earlier at the pageant Rachel’s mother, Karen Daley, won the moms’ competition and later revealed it was also her husband’s birthday.

Karen, in a short interview while she was watching Rachel in the main event from the beach, said her daughter was wearing a bikini she had brought back from Brazil recently.

Karen, 49, runs her own clothing label, Juste Moi, and goes abroad looking for new designs that her team of 22 can manufacture for the local market.

Miss Umhlanga Festival co-ordinator Keven Ellis, judge Megan Lamb, Sthabile Mnyandu, Chanelle Venter, Melissa Brown, Denya du Plessis, and Peter Rose.
Picture: Herman Botes
Phindile Mkhungo and Amahle Mgenge. Picture: Herman Botes
EVERYONE’S A WINNER: The Umhlanga Winter Festival pageant contestants, organisers and judges. Picture: Herman Botes

Umhlanga Tourism