Sharpeville’s Lebohang Raputsoe became the first Miss South Africa finalist to be voted out of Crown Chasers, the behind-the-scenes Miss South Africa television series which debuted today on SABC 3.


In the first episode viewers got to meet the finalists in the running for the title of Miss South Africa 2023 and learn why they believe they should take the crown. The finalists were presented with their official sashes by Miss South Africa and Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi (who is also the series’ host) and current Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri.


Judges Bonang Matheba and Leandie du Randt, along with guest judge Dr Tamaryn Green Nxumalo, evaluated their performances at a networking event as well as during their first official photoshoot, with Raputsoe leaving at the end of the episode.


Reveals Raputsoe: “Crown Chasers was a roller coaster of emotions; intimidating, fun, sad, exhausting and liberating. The crew was amazing to work with, and while some of the content was difficult to film, it helped strengthen my character.


“I found the challenges on the day of the elimination the hardest as I am a heavy planner and doing things spontaneously has never been one of my strengths. I am a very honest and realistic person and believe that I could have done better. However, I also do not want to be too harsh on myself because I did my best. But I am always on a journey of self-development and will definitely work on the skills I need to polish,” she says.


Raputsoe, a 24-year-old HR professional with a Master’s degree in Human Resources management and degrees in Industrial Psychology and Labour Relations Management, describes her Miss South Africa journey: “It was full of surprises and a huge step out of my comfort zone. I was nervous and in a constant state of disbelief. One day I was just Lebohang and the next day I was a Miss South Africa 2023 finalist; what a dream. I met the most amazing ladies who I now call my friends. It was short lived but inspirational.


“The best part of the journey was getting to meet all those who entered and forming relationships with the crew, the finalists, the Miss South Africa team, sponsors and all the Miss South Africa supporters. The hardest part was getting sick and trying to maintain my energy while having early mornings and late evenings.”

Would she do it all over again? “At first I thought not. The disappointment that came with knowing I was eliminated was hard. However, after careful thought, I can say that I am content with ‘God’s timing’. I see how the journey has strengthened my character and, yes, I would do it all over again. The whole experience has taught me that I am extremely resilient and firm in my character as I do not allow any situation or circumstance to break or alter the person that I am.”


What now for Lebohang?


“I am looking to be an author and to realise and optimise more of my potential through taking on many other opportunities and to obtain my PHD. I will continue to pursue the vision that I stand for, which is the holistic progression of youth focusing on empowerment, development and sustainability.”


Her message for her fellow contestants:


“You are exactly where God wants you to be. Remember to continue to be the best version of yourself. We will always find ourselves in rooms full of opportunity and what’s yours will find you; only if you remain true to who you are. Don’t lose yourself, because it is that very true and genuine version that got you this far. I love you all so much and thank you for showing me so much love and support in return. It’s not a goodbye but see you later.”


Her message to her supporters:


“To everyone who supported me, I would like to say thank you. I am truly grateful to have represented everyone who believed in my dream just as much as I did. I would not be where I am without your love and support. You know me and my heart, and our journey does not end here. I will carry your love into the next opportunity that awaits me.”


The second episode of Crown Chasers will be broadcast on Sunday, July 16, at 16h00 on SABC3. The remaining contestants fly to Mauritius where they are tasked with creating a travel vlog of their experience in travelling internationally, some for the first time. The finalists are given a fun beach challenge followed by a photo shoot with swimwear from Imbe by former Miss South Africa Shudufhadzo Musida. The importance of protecting the oceans from climate change is showcased and the finalists meet Miss Universe Mauritius. Guest judge is Miss South Africa 2001 Vanessa Carreira Coutroulis.


Crown Chasers viewers and Miss South Africa fans are encouraged to vote for their favourite Crown Chaser via the official Miss South Africa App which can also be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Voting is open from now until August 7 at 10h00.


Miss South Africa 2023 will be crowned at the SunBet Arena at Time Square in Pretoria on Sunday, August 13.


Miss South Africa is presented by Weil Entertainment in association with Sun International. SABC3 is the official broadcast partner.