Full name: Nontobeko Zanele Phakathi

Age: 22

Likes: My nephews, Napping, Reading 

Dislikes: chocolate 


1. Please tell us about yourself.


Diamonds Model Academy founder & director ZANELE PHAKATHI.

She is a model with 79 pageant titles, bringing over 11 years of international experience in the industry- across runway, commercial, print and pageantry modelling. Her philanthropic ventures include youth empowerment and charity work through her foundation, @ZaPowerhouse. She is an award-winning philanthropist. 


Phakathi is currently an Information Technology student at the University of Johannesburg.

When she is not leaping in bounds vocationally, she can be found reading The Hlomu series (by Dudu Busani-Dube) and spending time with her nephews. 


Phakathi is represented by @TheModelSquad_ 



Please share with us an experience that almost destroyed you, an experience that almost cost you your life, however you decided to go out there and Fetch Your Life

I got involved in a car accident in January 2018 and I, unfortunately, lost hearing in my left ear. I was devastated and thought I’d never be able to follow my dreams. My face had scars and I couldn’t work. 


I had to cut my hair because of a head injury. I thought my life was over and I could never be able to be a model. 

I healed and had a shoot with my shoot hair and one of the biggest agencies signed me as they loved my new look with short hair. And that was the start of my modelling career. 


How has this experience impacted your life?


My faith in God has grown so much. And now I always look for the best in every bad thing that happens to me.


Do you think that had it not been for this experience you would have become the person you are?


I believe everything happens for a reason and this is part of my life story so others could be motivated so I really wouldn’t know what would’ve happened if I hadn’t experienced this.


What advice do you have for someone that has been through the same experience?

There will be a phase in your life were you feel all is over for you, my “phase” was when I got involved in a car accident, my doctor said it is a miracle I survived that accident, I missed a whole year of school, I couldn’t walk,

 I lost my hearing on one ear whereas your phase could be debt, pressure to achieve goals you didn’t even set for yourself , abuse, bulling, might be a sickness. Just know you are in it to overcome it. God will never give you a battle you can’t overcome. We should teach our girls that they’re bigger than their problems, so treat them like hurdles and not an end to stop believing in yourself or your dreams



What does women empowerment mean to you?


Women could be empowered in many ways. To me, women empowerment means allowing women to be fully themselves in any industry they might be in. And allowing them to follow their dreams unapologetically. Lastly allowing women to speak out more on issues and topics that passionate about. Allow them to lead in spaces they qualify to lead in and not discriminate against them because they females. 


What are some of your achievements?


Miss South Africa 2019, youngest finalist 

I have two companies Non-profit Za Powerhouse and my model academy Diamonds Model Academy 


•SA Heroes Awards 2019 Runner Up in the category: Youth Empowerment

• Young Lead SA Top 20 Female change Makers 2018

• Awarded Rain Maker Award 2019 by the South West Gauteng College

• Nominated Woman of Stature 2018 in the category: Youth Ambassador


Please tell us more about your upcoming master class event.


Diamonds Model Academy Masterclass is a series of one day, interactive talks and workshops curated for models of all ages, which kicks off on the 8th of May 2021.


Each Masterclass promises to inspire, educate, facilitate dreams, and provide insight to the experience of industry players. With an exciting panel of speakers, the Masterclass aims to educate, empower, network, and create opportunities for the next generation of models and beauty queens.


We have four incredible speakers. Attached is the official poster. The entry fee includes lunch, refreshments, dessert, photos and a goodie bag. 


What inspired you to join pageantry? 


I watched Miss SA for the first time in 2010 and Bokang was crowned. I just wanted a crown on my head, and I joined my first pageant the following year Little Miss Dobsonville and I won. 


What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?


I want to be remembered as the girl who followed her dreams unapologetically. 


Facebook: Zanele Phakathi

Instagram: @zanelephakathi

Twitter: @zazaphakathi

Business website: www.zapowerhouse.co.za

Name of the Photographer and other credits

Pictures by @teekay_77 on Instagram 

By FYLTeam

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