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20 Years Of Green Leadership: Miss Earth South Africa 2023 Winner Revealed

Southern Sun Sandton was abuzz with excitement this past weekend as it played host to the prestigious Miss Earth South Africa 2023 winner’s announcement gala dinner.


  • Celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, the event saw finalists from across the nation coming together.
  • Judges included Zizo Tshwete, JJ Tabane, Abigail Visagie, and Leanne Manas to mark this momentous occasion.
  • Amidst a gathering of environmental advocates and green champions, the highlight of the evening was the announcement of the 2023 winner.
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Zabelo Hlabisa hailing from uMhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, emerged victorious, capturing the hearts of the judges and audience alike with her unwavering dedication to environmental causes. Zabelo, the new queen of all things green, is a social entrepreneur, event planner, and digital content creator.


Zabelo Hlabisa is joined by three remarkable runners-up who will collaborate with her in the coming year to further the mission of environmental education, awareness, and community programs. The 1st runner-up is Belinde Schreuder from Centurion in Pretoria, whose objective is to promote tree plantings, conservation, and clean air policies. Duduzile Mbobo and Zama Mbatha are the 2nd and 3rd runners-up respectively.


Miss Earth South Africa
Miss Earth South Africa 2023 winners Zama Mbatha (3rd runner-up), Belinde Schreuder (1st runner-up), Zabelo Hlabisa (winner), and Duduzile Mbobo (2nd runner-up). Image: Miss Earth South Africa

Not only was the auspicious event about celebrating the new titleholders, but it also commemorated a significant milestone for the Miss Earth South Africa Leadership Programme. In its 20 years of activism and service across South Africa, the organization has made an indelible mark in promoting environmental consciousness, community service, and a greener nation.


Initiated by visionary activist and former Miss Earth winner Catherine Constantinides, Miss Earth South Africa had sounded the environmental alarm bell long before terms like ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ became part of daily conversations and as the event marks two decades, so much more still needs to happen in protecting the environment.


As the Executive Director of Miss Earth South Africa and a renowned international climate activist and human rights defender, Catherine highlighted the program’s enduring commitment to empowering young women as active citizens and agents of change. She stated: ‘Their time to effect change is now!’


Guests in attendance included Nelson Muffuh, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in South Africa, and Sithembile Ntombela, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Brand South Africa. Both expressed their support and admiration for the work of the program.

As we welcome a new Miss Earth South Africa and the 2023 program ambassadors, we look forward to working alongside them to promote environmental education and awareness as part of the group’s environmental management plan. We also extend our congratulations to the Miss Earth South Africa program on two decades of tireless dedication toward building an environmentally responsible country. As a partner for the past decade, Southern Sun is proud to have journeyed alongside this transformative initiative.

// Southern Sun’s Head of Marketing, Candy Tothill


For two decades, the Miss Earth South Africa Leadership Programme has been at the forefront of environmental advocacy and community engagement in South Africa. Founded on the belief that young women can be powerful catalysts for positive change, the program has consistently produced leaders who are dedicated to protecting the environment and making a difference in their communities.


Throughout its history, Miss Earth South Africa has focused on three core pillars: environmental education, awareness, and community programs. These pillars have provided a solid foundation for the organization’s efforts to promote sustainability and environmental responsibility.


One of the key achievements of the program has been its success in raising awareness about environmental issues. Through various initiatives, including tree planting campaigns, beach clean-ups, and educational workshops, Miss Earth South Africa has reached thousands of people, spreading the message of environmental conservation and the importance of taking action to protect our planet.


The program’s commitment to community engagement has also been remarkable. Contestants and winners alike have actively participated in projects aimed at improving the lives of disadvantaged communities. From providing clean drinking water to underprivileged areas to supporting initiatives that empower women and youth, Miss Earth South Africa has made a positive impact on countless lives.


Miss Earth South Africa
Catherine Constantinides, National Director of Miss Earth South Africa, Tamerin Jardine, Miss Earth South Africa 2012 and Ella Bella, UNEP TUNZA Youth Ambassador and Miss Earth South Africa Educational Officer. Image: Miss Earth South Africa

Zabelo Hlabisa, the newly crowned Miss Earth South Africa 2023, is a shining example of the program’s commitment to nurturing young leaders with a passion for the environment. Hailing from uMhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal, Zabelo’s journey to the crown was marked by her unwavering dedication to environmental causes.


As a social entrepreneur, event planner, and digital content creator, Zabelo brings a unique set of skills and perspectives to her role as the green queen. Her creative approach to advocacy and community engagement promises to inspire positive change and encourage others to join the fight for a greener, more sustainable future.


As Miss Earth South Africa celebrates its 20th Anniversary, it stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration for environmental advocates and young women across the country. The program’s legacy of promoting environmental consciousness and community service continues to grow stronger with each passing year. With Zabelo Hlabisa and her fellow titleholders leading the way, we can expect to see even greater strides in environmental education and awareness.


In a world facing unprecedented environmental challenges, Miss Earth South Africa serves as a reminder that positive change is possible when individuals and communities come together with a shared vision of a greener, more sustainable future. As we congratulate the 2023 winners and look back on two decades of environmental advocacy, we can also look forward to the continued growth and impact of this remarkable program in the years to come.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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