It appears that Miss SA standards have dropped

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

Year after year audiences spew bile on one of the most extravagant events to stage annually and say the Miss South Africa standard has plummeted since the times of the reign of Jacqui Mofokeng and Basetsana Khumalo.

Back then, the licence of this pageant belonged to media personality Doreen Morris and it restored the image of black beauties, reaching the rest of the globe.

Debates then revolved around entertainment and frivolous elements in the past that dragged the show out longer than it should have.

My beef currently is based on the lack of elegance that was a hallmark of this event right from the beginning.

Whereas in the past when the pageant was still in the hands of the Sunday Times and Rapport newspapers, the most expensive and wanted comperes were employed for such a prestigious occasion, it was but with derision that I watched a pregnant Basetsana Khumalo hellbent on not showing her growing tummy. Were we lucky she wasn't barefooted?

Granted, Khumalo is one of the most sought after MCs in the country and was most suitable because of her own former contest and reign in the 1994 pageant, but I would have loved to see someone else relieve her of the duty of single-handedly carrying the event on her shoulders this year. I doubt if someone like Kerishni Naicker or Thuli Sithole would have declined to co-host the spectacle.

On second thought though, the dazzle is delivered by the production. The producer and director of the show carry the responsibility of making the show appealing to both those present and home audiences. And this seems to be the root cause of the trouble. It appears that since the death of William Faure and Ken Kirsten, the pageant has now gone to the dogs.

Were it not for the flair of former Isidingo actor turned crooner, MC Craig Urbani, and the whirlwind of talent in the form of HHP and Jamali, the show would have been a perfect spectacle for the blind.

The proof is in the pudding. Sponsors have run away with the money. Whether they jumped ship through prejudice brought on by squabbles within the pageant, bad word of mouth or the decline of interest in the world peace pageants, it is there for everyone to see.

The unfortunate fact is - whereas the likes of Amy Kleinhans and Anneline Kriel enjoyed such prizes as free houses, cars, access to the Sun International resorts, expensive sunglasses, cellular phones, computers and all that glittered, these days things are slightly different.

The current Miss South Africa Tansey Coetzee walks away with such measly prizes as modelling contracts at the fashion weeks, clothing and accessories to the value of R14000, a hamper and cosmetics for the year of her reign to the value of R21000 and so on. But the part that kills me the most - loan garments to the value of R75000.

One good thing has come out of this year's show though.

They have separated the Miss Teen from the Miss SA and the dresses carry more class then ever before.

Also, the logistics seem to be running smoother than ever before. If only we could bring the glitz back now.