The designers on Ndavi Nokeri's Miss Universe national costume - 'Every bead was carefully selected'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri in her national costume.
Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri in her national costume.
Frennie Shivambu

All she needed to say was ‘celebrate me and my heritage’ – and designer Sello Medupe of Scalo Designs certainly got the assignment. 

It took five artisans and two weeks of hand beading to put together one of the garments that Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri will be wearing at Miss Universe.

The time has come, Ndavi is off to the U.S. to represent South Africa at the 71st Miss Universe pageant taking place in New Orleans.

In 12 October 2022, Miss SA Ndavi showed off her national costume on the global stage at the Miss Universe preliminary show and national costume show. 

Here’s what she and the designers had to say about her gowns for the pageant:

The national costume

“She said, Sello, celebrate me and my heritage and the diversity of the people of Africa and I did just that,” Sello tells TRUELOVE. 

It took five artisans to put Ndavi’s national dress together. At first, he was not sure how South Africans will respond to the outfit, but he gave it his all. 

READ MORE | 5 facts to know about Miss South Africa 2022 Ndavi Nokeri 

“The two maps of Africa also represent angel wings, and purity, cheering Ndavi to fly to the world. We used traditional Tsonga fabric and delicately hand-beaded each colour.” 

Miss SA Photos by Frennie Shivambu
Ndavi Nokeri with by Sello Medupe of Scalo Designs who designed the Miss Universe National Costume.

The headpiece was designed by Henderson Worx who celebrated her heritage.

The national evening gown 

The national evening gown was designed by Juan William Aria has dressed every single Miss South Africa since Demi-Leigh Tebow’s reign and the likes of Zozibini Tunzi, Shudufhadzo Musida, Dr Tamaryn Green Nxumalo, and he will be dressing Miss South Africa 2022 Ndavi. 

Ndavi’s announcement evening dress is inspired by the wealth of South Africa. 

Miss SA Photos by Frennie Shivambu
Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri in her Miss Universe farewell gown.

“I have made the gold dress for the announcement. I also made two dresses for the main event, which will only be revealed at the pageant,” Juan says.

“We wanted all three dresses to have meaning. The announcement dress is gold and represents the minerals and wealth of South Africa. We played with gold tones, lots of jewels and stones,” he adds. 

READ MORE | 5 highlights from the Miss SA 2022 pageant

All three of the dresses were hand beaded. 

“Every bead was carefully selected, including the fabric. The bronze preliminary gown had eight artisans working on it. It took 462-man hours to create the piece and it has over 100 000 sequins on it. The finale dress has a significant amount of beading on it, with over 1400 different unique colour stones. We wanted royal colours and it took 530 men hours to complete, handsewn and beaded to perfection,” he says.

Miss SA Photos by Frennie Shivambu
Cancel Juan Visser of Juan William Aria who designed the Miss Universe farewell gown with Ndavi Nokeri.

Without revealing too much, Juan says the two gowns for the main event are inspired by Ndavi’s Tsonga heritage and culture. 

“After her homecoming, we sat down and discussed. It has been a four-month process since she was crowned. I wanted her to look amazing. Being a petite girl, she is still curvaceous and has a beautiful silhouette, which was pleasant to work with. She is also very open-minded because we were not going for typical pageant dresses, but we opted for couture gowns,” Juan adds. 

Ndavi says she prayed about this day but never imagined it would happen. 

“I cannot wait to represent my Tsonga people, my country, and to see my African dream come to life,” she says. 

Ndavi worked closely with both designers Sello and Juan.

She says, “I told them the vision is to show our African diversity while celebrating my Tsonga heritage, and they outdid themselves. I never thought I would see a Tsonga print on the universal stage. I have always wanted to carry the proud Tsonga message. It fills me with so much pride. So, everything is about being proudly African.” 

Don't miss our top stories, sign up to the TRUELOVE newsletters now!

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R29 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to SNL24
Show Comments ()