South Africa’s representative at the upcoming Miss World 2018 pageant is 26-year-old, Thulisa Keyi

In her most in-depth interview to date, the accountant and model explains what clarified her life’s purpose and drove her towards achieving her goals.

The 2018 Miss South Africa was one of the most competitive pageants we’ve seen in recent years and although only one winner could be crowned (Tamaryn Green this year) many of the top 11 were able to walk away with their heads held high – including Thulisa Keyi.

Thulisa was crowned the runner-up in Miss South Africa, and took the title of Miss World South Africa who will represent the country on the global stage in this competition later this year.

The journey is far from over for the young woman from East London who will now be competing at Miss World in China this year.

Thulisa spoke to Channel 24 this week where she revealed some little-known secrets about her life; including the tragic story of how she witnessed the murder of her father

Speaking to Nikita Coetzee from the publication, she shared how the life-changing event spurred her on to pursue her passions:

“He was brutally murdered, and my mom and I had to witness that. I think from then on it’s kind of directed my life to what I was supposed to do. I already knew what I wanted to do, but it just brought a lot of meaning to what I already knew.”

It wasn’t so much the murder itself (which would change anybody’s perspective) that fuelled her conviction, but rather the sight of her mother battling to raise her children following her father’s death. Her dad had been the family breadwinner and after realising the effect his absence had on her family, Thulisa set out on a mission to educate and empower women so that they would not face the same fate.

Thulisa spoke about the motivation for her campaign in the same interview and expressed her desire to see women being able to build a career, independent of their spouses

Thulisa explained: “My whole campaign throughout Miss SA was to encourage economic participation of women and youth, and really inspire them through education. And that comes from a personal space because when my father passed, it became our reality that now my mom, who had been a stay-at-home mom all my life, doesn’t have the skills to take on that role. That’s why we struggled as a family.

“So, I want women to be able to be independent outside of their spouses and be able to really gain that independence for themselves, and also to be able to participate in the economy through their independence. And for me, what has allowed me to do that is my education.”

The 26-year-old accounting professional will now be preparing for Miss World 2018 which takes place in China in December. Thulisa has also recruited the services of Gugu Zulu who will be her trainer for the next few months ahead of the global pageant.

It’s not as simple as showing up on the night and having a beautiful catalogue of outfits. Thulisa explains to Channel 24 that Miss World is a month-long campaign: “I’ll be spending about a month in China before the actual pageant. A lot of what goes on on the night of the pageant is sort of based on what has happened throughout the month. So, it’s important that you prepare for the entire month.”

South African entries at global pageantries have performed extremely well in recent years. Will Thulisa Keyi be the next to make history?