A Grade 7 pupil at Merrifield Preparatory School and College, Hlonela Mrwetyana, was crowned Miss Pre-Teen Universe South Africa at Carnival City in Johannesburg.
The pageant was held on Febraury 27. “I’m overwhelmed , it’s just one of those things you can’t describe in words,” said the 12 year- old ’s mother, Dr Khokela Jubase Mrwetyana.
The preteen model previously won Miss Pre-teen Eastern Cape and the face of Miss Teen South Africa first princess in 2019.
To prepare for the pageant, Hlonela received private online lessons which helped her in walking the runway at New York Fashion Week early in February, as well as a lesson from Zikhona Ngxata, the Mrs South Africa 2021 first princess.
Hlonela said when her name was called out on stage it was an unbelievable moment. “Honestly, I couldn’t believe it, because I did not have enough time to prepare for the pageant because I had arrived from the New York Fashion Week mid Feb. “I had school work to catch up on and a week of tests and, before I knew it was the
pageant, so I was all panicky.”
Hlonela said she had cried tears of joy when she won. “I was so grateful to be celebrating my victory with my loved ones.”
Though juggling school and extramurals was daunting at times, she was able to do so. “School hasn’t been too much of a hassle as my teachers and headmistress understand
how my career goes. I try not to miss school as much as I can, but if duty calls, duty calls. “But whenever I come back I try to catch up and so far it’s been working well.”
She said maintaining a healthy body and pretty face had not been easy. “It has been a struggle, I am not going to lie trying to not get scars as I am a model.
“I enjoy things like skating, acrobatics, gymnastics and just playing and sometimes I get hurt in the process. Drinking water and a little exercise here and there does help. “But overall I think it’s genes because there’s nothing much else really.”
Hlonela’s mother said while her daughter was doing well academically, she was also passionate about dance, gymnastics and possibly becoming a television presenter. “So I’m not sure which career she is going to take but I think she’s falling in love with modelling .”
“At my age it’s too early to tell. I’d love to carry on with my talents and also be a medical doctor. At this moment I’m exploring my talents and sharpening my skills so that when there’s opportunity I can be ready and grab it with both hands ,” said Hlonela.
Merrifield Preparatory School head Debbie Lacey said: “She is an amazing little character. She misses out on school [because of the travelling] but she will catch up.”
Lacey added that Hlonela had a good work ethic and always kept in contact with the teachers when she was away. “She is very respectful towards everyone, she is humble and friendly.”
On top of the world: Hlonela Mrwtyana, a 12-year-old Merrifield pupil was crowned Miss Pre-teen Universe at Carnival City in Johannesburg.