South Africa’s ascent in the world of beauty pageants is largely expected and clinching the title Performer of the Year 2021 puts an exclamation point to its spectacular achievements. South Africa’s racial diversity has been a boon to its beauty pageant scene and whether it will send a blonde or a black goddess, the country’s ability to perform well at the Big5 Pageants remains consistent.  

There was a time when South Africa was considered a pariah in the world of beauty pageants. It was barred from competing at Miss Universe from 1985-1994 and at Miss World from 1978-1990 due to the country’s apartheid policies. With the restoration of democracy in 1994, it quickly regained its reputation as one of the rising beauty pageant superpowers.

While it is true that South Africa didn’t win any Big5 crowns in 2021, the consistent and strong performance of South African beauty queens propelled the country to the top. Thato Mosehle finishing as 2nd runner-up at Miss Supranational 2021, started the ball rolling. Nompumelelo Maduna sustained the momentum with a Top 20 finish at Miss Earth 2021 while Lalena Mswane sealed the deal with her surprising 2nd runner-up finish at Miss Universe 2021.

YearPERFORMER OF THE YEARRUNNER-UP
2021South AfricaPhilippines
2020USAPhilippines
2019ThailandPuerto Rico
2018VenezuelaPhilippines
2017ColombiaVenezuela
2016PhilippinesIndonesia
2015PhilippinesUSA
2014USAColombia
2013PhilippinesSpain
2012PhilippinesUSA
2011VenezuelaPhilippines
2010VenezuelaPuerto Rico
2009VenezuelaBrazil
2008SpainVenezuela
2007VenezuelaMexico
2006VenezuelaIndia
2005Puerto RicoVenezuela
2004USAAustralia
2003VenezuelaIndia
2002TurkeyColombia
2001RussiaVenezuela
2000IndiaVenezuela
1999SpainVenezuela
1998VenezuelaFrance
1997IndiaVenezuela
1996VenezuelaColombia
1995VenezuelaTrinidad and Tobago
1994VenezuelaIndia
1993VenezuelaColombia
1992VenezuelaAustralia
1991FranceVenezuela
1990USAVenezuela
1989PolandUSA
1988KoreaNorway
1987VenezuelaPuerto Rico
1986VenezuelaUSA
1985VenezuelaUSA
1984VenezuelaSweden
1983USAIreland
1982USAFinland
1981VenezuelaBrazil
1980USANew Zealand
1979BermudaUSA
1978USASpain
1977GermanySpain
1976VenezuelaIsrael
1975FinlandYugoslavia
1974USAUnited Kingdom
1973PhilippinesUSA
1972AustraliaBrazil
1971BrazilUSA
1970AustraliaUSA
1969FinlandUSA
1968BrazilIsrael
1967USAIsrael
1966IndiaNorway
1965USAFinland
1964ArgentinaBrazil
1963BrazilKorea
1962ArgentinaFinland
1961GermanyRepublic of China
1960USA Italy
1959IsraelHolland
1958DenmarkSweden
1957JapanPeru
1956GermanyUSA
1955SwedenVenezuela
1954USA Germany
1953FranceUSA
1952FinlandSweden
1951SwedenUnited Kingdom
South Africa is Performer of the Year 2021

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