Mpumalanga-born medical student Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss SA 2014 at a glittering extravaganza held at the Sun City Superbowl on Sunday.

Strauss was crowned by Miss SA 2012, Marilyn Ramos, and is the first to wear the sparkling new Miss SA ‘Palesa’ crown. The magnificent and modern platinum crown was created for the pageant by Jack Friedman Jewellers.

In her acceptance speech, the 21-year-old said: “Oh, how I love South Africa! I can live, speak, learn and love freely . . . this will be a year of giving back, giving thanks and being a true example of the potential women and all South Africans can have in our country.”

Strauss won a prize package valued at R1,3 million. It includes a Volvo V40 T3, the use of a fully furnished, serviced apartment for her reign, beauty treatments, makeup, spa treatments and getaways.

One of the judges on the night, DESTINY Man Editor, Kojo Baffoe said that what impressed him the most about Strauss was her determination.

“She worked hard for this. Rolene had entered before and she took the disappointment of not making it then and turned it around.

“She is also a medical student and women’s health is very important to her – that’s another thing that impressed me,” Baffoe said.

Radio personality Anele Mdoda says she found Strauss to be a thoughtful person. “What stood out for me in particular about Rolene is that she makes you feel important as a person and remembers the conversations you’ve had with her,” she said.

Strauss’ focus on women’s health also impressed Mdoda.

“It’s exciting that we now have someone who can champion those projects because there are a lot of young girls who need to be educated on health issues.”

Ziphozakhe Zokufa, from the Eastern Cape, was crowned First Princess, while Limpopo’s Matlala Mokoko was crowned Second Princess.

The prestigious event was attended by over 2 000 people, including actors Vusi Kunene, Baby Cele and Sophie Ndaba.

The audience was treated to the urban, lounge-soul sounds of Micasa and singing sensation Bucie.

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