Lehlogonolo Machaba

Lehlogonolo Machaba Image via Instagram @lehlogonolo.machaba

Lehlogonolo Machaba: Who is Miss SA’s first transgender finalist?

Lehlogonolo Machaba is making history as the first transgender women to compete in a Miss SA pageant.

Lehlogonolo Machaba

Lehlogonolo Machaba Image via Instagram @lehlogonolo.machaba

Recently Miss SA announced the 30 women who will be competing for the coveted title. Every year the esteemed pageant receives thousands of applications from women across the country who have hopes to become South Africa’s leading lady.

This year, for the first time ever, the pageant will have a transgender contestant competing for the crown. 

ALSO READ: Miss South Africa Pageant 2021: Meet the Top 30 finalists [watch]


Lehlogonolo Machaba is a 24-year-old model booker from Oskraal in the North West. She is also the only finalist who’ll be representing the province. Lehlogonolo holds a Fashion Design Technology Diploma from the Tshwane University of Technology and is the founder and owner of the DeMollies fashion brand. 

Lehlogonolo describes herself as blessed, brave and empowered and wants to use the Miss South Africa platform to advocate for the LGBTQIA community in South Africa, more specifically queer identifying women. 

One thing Lehlogonolo Machaba hopes to change about South Africa is the stigma against queer and trans-identifying individuals. 


Speaking about being a transgender women entering a pageant, Lehlogonolo explained that trans women are almost always left out of opportunities similar to Miss South Africa which is why she had never seen anyone like herself on a platform as big as this. 

“It has always been a dream of mine to represent my community at such a high level. The daily murder of queer and trans-identifying people in our country is devastating.”

Lehlogonolo Machaba

I would use this opportunity to empower every marginalized person and become a beacon of hope for young girls out there regardless of whatever it is they think hinders them from attaining whatever goal they have.” 


Lehlogonolo joins two other trans women in the history books who have made headlines for their participation in other pageants.

Earlier this year, Kataluna Enriquez made history as the first trans woman to compete for the Miss USA title. She was crowned Miss Nevada and represented the state in the Miss USA pageant. 

Kataluna had participated in trans beauty pageants until 2020 when she began entering cisgendered pageants. 

Angela Ponce was Miss Universe’s first trans contestant in 2018. Ponce represented Spain in the pageant.