Zanele Phakathi is a renowned South African model, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who hails from the vibrant township of Soweto. With an impressive career spanning over eleven years, she has made her mark both locally and internationally, excelling in various modeling domains including pageantry, runway, and commercial work.

Aside from her modeling achievements, Phakathi is deeply committed to giving back to her community through her non-profit foundation, Za Power House. She actively engages in youth empowerment initiatives and charitable endeavors, striving to make a positive impact. Moreover, she is the visionary founder and director of Diamonds Model Academy.

Phakathi's versatility extends beyond the modeling realm. From the tender age of 13, she delved into the world of commercial acting, complementing her modeling and philanthropy pursuits. Her talent has been featured in commercials for renowned clients such as Coca Cola, Always, and Opera Mini.

Notably, at just 14 years old, Phakathi achieved a remarkable milestone as the sole South African model selected to participate in a fashion show in the illustrious city of New York. This debut runway experience propelled her career forward. Starting her pageantry journey at the age of 12, she has accumulated an impressive collection of over 100 titles and has served as a judge in numerous local pageants. Throughout her modeling journey, she has collaborated with esteemed clients like Gert Johan Coetzee and proudly represents Ladina Hair as a brand ambassador.

A graduate in Business Information Technology from the University of Johannesburg, Phakathi aspires to introduce coding and related skills to rural communities. Her ultimate goal is to establish a coding school in her hometown of Soweto, aiming to provide opportunities and empower young individuals. Currently, she is actively involved in teaching basic computer skills to children in her community. Balancing a thriving modeling career with business analytics, Phakathi is determined to make a lasting impact in both fields.

Represented by ICE MODELS JOHANNESBURG, Zanele Phakathi continues to inspire and uplift young girls worldwide with her aspirations, philanthropy, and unwavering determination. Her dream is to wear the prestigious Miss Universe crown, using her platform to serve as a role model and source of inspiration.

DMA DIAMONDS MODEL ACADEMY (PTY) LTD. is a premium workshop facilitator that specializes in the training of models of all ages across various disciplines, which include runway, commercial and pageantry. The company is 100% Black owned, female led, driven by and for need to empower the youth through recreation.

Phakathi started this company in 2014, as just a hobby training other young girls how the walk. it was ‘Soweto Diamonds’ at that time. She sees herself as a Diamond, as they found in the rough and turned into the most prestigious gem.

Za Power House is a non profit company that was foundered by Zanele Phakathi who felt the need to give back to her community. The company is aim for mostly young people to stay motivated and give back to their community in any way possible. We promote responsible and hardworking citizens and we understand Ubuntu is one of the best ways to develop a community and bring unity. This company is home based and has no structure. All its members are volunteers who want to have a positive impact to other people.

One of the highlights of Zanele's career came about in 2019; when she walked the Miss South Africa stage in front of the entire nation, as the youngest among the Top 16 Finalists at 20 years of age.

Fun Fact :

Her journey towards this had started in 2010, after witnessing her role model, Bokang Montjane, crowned Miss South Africa in the year of the FIFA World Cup!


Zanele graced the cover of Director Mag for the month of December 2021.

Director Woman Digital Magazine is a pan African women’s career and business digital magazine brand that celebrates, educates and empowers tomorrow’s women, today. Director Woman Mag is published in Issues every October starting in 2022.

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Zanele‘s work has been recognized by entities both locally and abroad she has won awards for her philanthropic work, and for her contribution to South African youth empowerment. Zanele's awards and nominations include (but are not limited to) :

•Woman of Stature 2018 in the category : Youth Ambassador

• Young Lead SA Top 20 Female change Makers 2018

• SA Heroes Awards 2019 Youth Empowerment

• Rain Maker Award 2019 by the South West Gauteng College

• Phenomenal Woman of the Year 2020

• Strategic African Women In Leadershp 2021

• Heroine in Community and Women Empowerment Award 2021

• Young black & bold 2022


•Women’s Lifestyle Network Awards 2023

• Top 16 Youth Owned Brands Awards 2023


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