Pretoria’s Natasha Joubert, 23, is hoping to inherit the Miss Universe crown from fellow South African Zozibini Tunzi during the pageant’s glam finale in the US on Sunday.
If Joubert clinches the title, it’ll be only the second time in the pageant’s 69-year history that a country has secured back-to-back wins.
That said, if anyone can do it, it’s this inspirational beauty queen from Pretoria, who describes herself as “unwavering, compassionate and ambitious”.
Here are some interesting facts about her:
1. MISS UNIVERSE 2020 NOT 2021
Last year’s Miss Universe pageant was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so should Joubert win, she’ll be crowned Miss Universe 2020 not 2021.
2. FOURTH SOUTH AFRICAN TO WIN
If Joubert takes the title, she’ll be the fourth South African to wear the Miss Universe crown. The first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978, followed by Demi-Leigh Tebow (nee Nel-Peters) in 2017, and Zozibini Tunzi in 2019.
3. SHE WASN’T CROWNED MISS SA
Unlike the last three Mzansi beauties to compete in Miss Universe — Tebow, Tunzi and Tamaryn Green — Joubert never wore the Miss SA crown.
She did, however, place in the Top 3 of the 2020 Miss SA pageant, which was won by Shudufhadzo Musida. Thato Mosehle was named first runner-up, and Joubert second runner-up.
Musida and Mosehle will be representing SA at the upcoming Miss World and Miss Supranational pageants, respectively.
Says Stephanie Weil, CEO of the Miss South Africa Organisation, “We believe that we have chosen the perfect candidate for each competition and believe that they will do extremely well. We are hoping for more than one title.”
4. TALENTED FASHION DESIGNER
The BCom Marketing graduate founded her own fashion brand in 2016. Called Natalia Jefferys, it specialises in couture for special occasions like matric dances and weddings.
There’s an empowering story behind the origins of this business, which Joubert runs with her mom, Ninette.
When Joubert was a young teen, her father lost his job and the family could no longer afford the pricey evening gowns she needed to compete in modelling competitions. Determined to find a way to allow her daughter to continue to do what she loved, Ninette decided to have a bash at making these glam outfits herself, with Joubert dreaming up the designs.
Before long, other young women were asking if the mother-daughter duo could create dresses for them too — and so the idea for Natalia Jefferys was born.
Joubert has donned some Natalia Jefferys designs while competing in the Miss Universe pageant. Take a look:
5. SHE INSPIRED A BOOK CHARACTER
Joubert told the Sunday Times that one of her “very creative” friends wrote a book when they were teenagers. She based the characters on real people, changing their names, but keeping their initials the same. In its pages Joubert was dubbed Natalia Jefferys.
The beauty queen loved the moniker so much that she adopted it as the name of her fashion label.
6. SHE ADORES THE OUTDOORS
The beauty queen says people are often surprised to find out she was a tomboy when she was younger. “I was the only girl in my karate class and would much rather play outside with boys.”
Today, she “thrives in a natural environment” and, according to the Miss SA website, enjoys hiking and camping, loves sport and plays action hockey.
7. SHE’S NOT AFRAID TO SHOW HER TRUE SELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA
In a recent Sunday Times interview, former Miss Universe Margaret Gardiner asked Joubert about a post of her crying on social media.
Joubert explained: “I posted that picture because it isn’t all sunshine and roses as people expect. Social media can be deceiving. People only post the best part of their lives.
“Having a breakdown, being overwhelmed — these things may have felt like a weakness in the moment, but I’ve turned it into power. Miss Universe needs to showcase inclusivity, relatability and that you represent your people in every way, including emotionally.
“I try to live my life realistically on a daily basis. I show people how I look without makeup, what I stand for, what I want to voice. I show people who I am.”
WATCH: Frail Gbagbo attends church in first public appearance since his return
Former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo attended mass in Abidjan on Sunday, one of his first public appearances since returning home after nearly a decade in exile.
To the surprise of churchgoers, Gbagbo showed up at St. Paul Cathedral, where he was greeted by Cardinal Jean Pierre Kutwa.
The former leader appeared weak as he made his way to the altar before exchanging greetings with the presiding priest and subsequently taking a front row seat.
He wore an African print and was wearing his face mask throughout the service.
“The ceremony has been wonderful, his (Gbagbo) visit to the cathedral was a surprise for us, we did not know about his visit. So, we are happy. It’s happiness for Africa and for Ivory Coast.
“(I hope) that peace comes back in Ivory Coast and that God puts his hands on Ivory Coast, that he blesses the families of Ivory Coast” said priest Henri Akredizon.
“We have finished our conference, and we have come this morning for the closure of the conference, and it was a coincidence that we have found former president Laurent Gbagbo in church. I think it’s a matter of peace, we work for peace so everybody must go on the same line of peace.
“So, what we demand of the head of the state is peace in Ivory Coast and in the entire world,” stressed Jeanette Toure, president of National Association of Women of the Catholic Church in Ivory Coast.
The ex-president finally returned to Ivory Coast on Thursday after the ICC upheld his acquittal on charges related to the post-electoral violence that engulfed Ivory Coast after its 2010 president election.
While thousands celebrated his return, his opponents maintain he should be jailed in Ivory Coast, not given a statesman’s welcome.
Are you honourable members or horrible members? – Lumumba to Nigerian lawmakers
An anti-corruption advocate told federal lawmakers on Wednesday, June 16 that Nigeria’s development has been slow for far too long, owing to a lack of visionary leadership.
Patrick Lumumba, a former director of Kenya’s anti-corruption commission, also asked the Nigerian legislators whether they are “honourable members” or “horrible members.”
He asked of the legacies of late nationalists Ahmadu Bello and Nnamdi Azikwe and how much of their legacies had been preserved as he referred the lawmakers to them.
He said the clarity of vision and the instinct to marshal people is the antidote to tackle Nigeria’s many challenges, as this was what worked for the nation’s founding fathers.
The don who is also the Director, Kenya School of Laws, spoke at the launch of the House of Representatives Green Chamber magazine Wednesday, June 16 in Abuja.
“Nigeria has been becoming great for too long,” Mr Lumumba said in his speech.
“The time is now that Nigeria must be great. In fact, Nigeria should be in the same space economically as Germany is; Nigeria should be in the same space politically as the United States is.”
“You are the successors of Nigeria’s great leaders. The question that you must ask yourself now that you have been given the honour and privilege of serving Nigeria, you should ask yourself, are you honourable members or horrible members?” he asked amidst laughter from his audience.
According to him, whether members are “honourable” or “horrible” is determined by the kind of service they provide to Nigerians. He urged lawmakers to be servants of the people rather than masters, with the primary purpose of delivering the common good to Nigerians.
“Now that Nigerians have given you the opportunity to think for them, the question is: are you midwives of the good things of Nigeria, or are you midwives that kill the children of the creator.”
Africa’s 10 most peacful countries, Mauritius leads the pack – 2021 Peace Index Report
Mauritius has been ranked Africa’s most peaceful country according to the 2021 Global Peace Index, GPI, report released last week.
The island nation ranked first on the continent and 28th most peaceful country in the world according to a ranking of 163 nations.
Mauritius garnered 1.592 overall score which was 10 steps away from that of Africa’s second most peaceful country, Ghana, which ranked 378th on global ladder with 1.712 overall score.
Completing the top five most peaceful nations in sub-Saharan Africa are Botswana, Sierra Leone and The Gambia.
The sixth to tenth slots are occupied by Senegal, Tanzania, Malawi, Equatorial Guinea and Namibia respectively.
It means West Africa has dominated the top 10 countries with four countries in the top ranks – Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal.
The GPI is an annual report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
It measures the state of peace in countries whiles assessing the countries in three domains: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarisation.
Some key development indicators about Mauritius
Mauritius is the only African country to be in the “very high” category on the Human Development Index.
According to the World Bank, the country is classified as a high-income economy.
Mauritius is also ranked as the most competitive, and one of the most developed economies in the African region.
The country is a welfare state where government provides free universal health care, free education up through the tertiary level and free public transportation for students, senior citizens, and the disabled.
In 2019 and 2020, Mauritius was ranked the most peaceful African country by the Global Peace Index.
About the 2021 GPI
The 15th edition of the GPI also measured the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on peace.
This looked especially at the impact of the pandemic, and in particular, how its economic consequences will increase the risk of severe deteriorations in peace over the next few years.
Civil unrest rose 10 per cent globally, driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the GPI report added.
There were 14,871 violent demonstrations, protests and riots recorded globally in 2020.
The report said COVID-19 was a “multiplying force” in future political instability and civil unrest.
It added the level of this unrest going forward is likely to hinge on the speed and effectiveness of economic recovery. Countries with less debt and higher levels of positive peace were more likely to recover faster.
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