Helga Vera Johns

Helga Vera Johns

Helga Vera Johns was born in Southern Rhodesia and became Miss Rhodesia in 1972. Three years later, in 1975, she was elected Miss South Africa but just a few days before the Miss World competition in London, she was disqualified from taking part because she had not lived in the country she was representing for the required five years.

In 1976, the New Zealand rugby team visited South Africa, which is when All Black forward Alan Sutherland met her. After their marriage early in 1980 they eventually settled near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal, where they ran a successful stud farm.

She made her first appearance on the screen (as herself) in Dingetjie & Idi (1977), a film by Dirk de Villiers, and this was followed by ‘n Seder Val in Waterkloof (Franz Marx/1978), Terrorist (Neil Hetherington/1978) and Operation Hit Squad (Tonie van der Merwe & Kathy Viedge/1987).

Along with other beauty queens, she also featured in the television documentary A Salute to Beauty: 40 Years of Miss South Africa (Danie Botha/1999).

The popular “Vera Johns” rose is named after her.


  • Adrian de Bourbon