For a second year, the title of Miss Earth South Africa has gone to a girl from the North West. Last year’s winner, Ilse Saunders, from Klerksdorp was emotional minutes before her successor was announced. Saunders called her reign an unforgettable journey.
Highlights include Saunders representing South Africa at the Miss Earth pageant in the Philippines, where she won a gold medal for her national costume, and a year engaging communities on sustainability, as well as being a social and environmental activist. These are life-defining roles – and now it’s Viktor’s turn.
At age 24, Hartbeespoort’s new Miss Earth South Africa is someone to take note of. With an honours degree in psychology in her back pocket she has become an active South African even before entering the Miss Earth programme. According to her, social and environmental issues go hand in-hand – and that is why the Miss Earth SA pageant hit home for her. She believes it is a programme that enables young women to get involved with environmental issues, while tackling social ills.
Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, who crowned Viktor, said the Miss Earth SA programme is making a huge impact in South Africa.
“Climate change is, unfortunately, one of the greatest challenges of our time and we shouldn’t be afraid to break barriers, ask the tough questions and start difficult conversations,” Viktor says. She is willing to address a multitude of environmental issues, on top of her fiery passion for education and the eradication of poverty.
With her new title, Viktor will represent SA in Austria later this year at the Miss Earth pageant. This is the first year the pageant is held in Europe and South Africa has been delivering top finalists for a while. Hopes are Viktor will be the first African to win the Miss Earth title.
During the coming months, Viktor is tasked with leading projects such as creating food gardens, community engagement and heading to COP21 in Paris to talk about climate change. After being named Miss Earth 2015, Viktor faced a gauntlet of well-wishers asking her to pose for selfies.