I was recently asked to choose a title for my biography and it just came to me; Life is a Garden. There is a certain picture that I would like to draw with my words to describe the realisation that I had during my first week as Miss South Africa 2014.

While wandering down a path that leads to a magical garden, the first thing that you sense (and smell) is the ‘life’ of the garden. As you get closer, your eyes unexpectedly squint with overwhelming colours, light and beauty. Every flower is part of the garden and the garden brings life to each flower.

One of the lessons that affected me most deeply (and led to my recent realisation) dates back to my high school years. I had the opportunity to travel abroad for modelling and learnt two things during that time; The substance of a book tells a much better story than the cover and that I can live my dreams (studying medicine and becoming a role model) right here in my own country.

As a flower that is part of a garden, it can be difficult to get a grasp on the greater picture. Through my travels, I had the opportunity to see the picture from a distance. Even though my eyes are still blinded by the magnitude of life, it’s beauty and opportunities, I am proud to say that my seed has been planted in the beautiful South African garden.

Every South African is part of the garden we call South Africa. We are formed by what we receive from our lovely country and we can choose what to take from it. Since a light rose turns red when ‘drinking’ red water, I choose to drink the good from our country and its people.

I choose;
Approachability and
Appreciation to quench my thirst.

From a planted seed and closed bud, I have become a blooming flower on the 30th of March 2014. Yes, my stems received some pruning on this journey and in the same way all of us get ‘pruned’ by various circumstances, challenges and people on our journey of growth. With a willingness to learn, perseverance and diligence, we can become who we want to become. We can determine the smell, essence and life we would like to exude and choose our ‘water’ accordingly.

All South Africans are part of each other. Without one another, we would not be a country. When we ‘drink’ the good, those who visit our garden will smell the essence of our cultures, diversity, freedom, respect and love.

I am a proud flower in the garden called South Africa.

How about you?