Miss SA proud, humbled to have won Miss World

Strauss, a fourth-year medical student, has become the third South African to win the title.

Miss South Africa Rolene Strauss was crowned Miss World at a ceremony in London on 14 December 2014. Picture: Twitter via @djcleo1.

JOHANNESBURG - Newly crowned Miss World, Rolene Strauss, says she is both proud and humbled to have won the pageant.

The South African was crowned at a ceremony in London last night.

She thanked the country and her parents for their support.

"Thank you very much for all the support and I absolutely love you and this crown is dedicated to all of you."

Hungary's Edina Kulcsár came second and Elizabeth Safrit, representing the United States, came third.

It's the first time South Africa has won the title in 40 years.

Miss SA spokesperson Claudia Henkel says, "We're very excited because she will be returning on Friday. Going forward she is now handed over to the Miss World organisation and she will be representing South Africa on an international platform."

In a video submission for Miss World, Strauss spoke about her love for South Africa, especially Kruger National Park.

"I have a wild South African heart. When I was four-years-old, I got lost in the Kruger National Park and my parents eventually found me up in the tree in one of the camps."

Strauss, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Free State, is the third South African to win the title.

Previous winners are Penelope Anne Coelen, in 1958 and Anneline Kriel, who took the crown in 1974.

Kriel was first princess in the event, but took over as Miss World when the original winner, Helen Morgan, resigned after four days when it emerged that she had a child.

Originally from Mpumalanga, Strauss was crowned Miss South Africa 2014 in a glittering pageant at the Sun City Superbowl held on 30 March 2014.

She was crowned by Miss South Africa 2012 Marilyn Ramos. More than 120 other contestants had vied for the title.

This year's pageant, the 64th, was marred by tragedy after a Honduran beauty queen was found shot dead in a suspected crime of passion days before she was due to take part.

The pageant's 124 contestants travelled to the Oxford Union society earlier this month to discuss whether such competitions still had a place in modern society.

British media reported that some students from Oxford University were disappointed that the event failed to generate a lively debate on the subject.