South Africa on Saturday 19 welcomed home Miss World winner Rolene Strauss with wild cheers and ululation. Hundreds turned up at O.R. Tambo International Airport to greet Strauss after the 22-year-old medical student was crowned Miss World 2014 at a glitzy final in London last Sunday.
Dressed in the country’s national colours, South Africans waved placards, flags and portraits of Strauss at a colourful ceremony staged at the airport in Johannesburg. Strauss stepped into the airport’s arrivals hall to deafening cheers and chants.
Strauss is the first Miss World from South Africa since 1974 when the title was won by Anneline Kriel. Among those at the airport was the country’s first winner of the title in 1958, Penny Coelen-Rey, now a 74-year-old grandmother.
“We can be truly proud that she has brought the title back to South Africa,” she said.
“I have no words to describe what I am feeling at this moment,” she said, adding that taking part in the Miss World 2014 contest made her realise how “powerful” South Africa is.
The famous Soweto Gospel Choir, which featured at the FIFA World Cup draw held in Cape Town in December 2009, led the performance to welcome Strauss.