South Africans are being encouraged to vote for Miss South Africa 2016, Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, and help her secure a spot in the Miss Universe Top 12 through online voting which officially begins at 04h00 on Tuesday (January 24, SA time).
Kunene is currently competing in the Miss Universe pageant, the finals of which take place in Manila in the Philippines on Monday, January 30.
Supporters can now vote for their favourite beauty queens by posting on Twitter (@MissUniverse) using the Miss Universe hashtag and the contestant's country she is representing - so for example #MissUniverseSouthAfrica for South Africans voting for Kunene. For those who don't have a Twitter account, votes can also be cast by visiting the website vote.missuniverse.com or by downloading the Miss Universe application (http://bit.ly/MissUApp) or the Vodi application. Fans can vote up to 10 times per day per registered account. Voting closes on Monday, January 30 ahead of the pageant.
The candidate with the most number of votes will secure her spot in the Top 12.
Kunene is representing South Africa against 85 other countries in the competition.
Says Kunene: “There are young women representing much bigger countries in the competition. However, South Africans have big hearts and such a sense of pride that I believe that we can make a difference and see our country rightfully represented in the top 12.”
The Miss Universe Pageant will be broadcast live on the FOX Television Network from the Mall of Asia Complex in Manila when Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines will crown her successor. It will be hosted by comedian Steve Harvey.
The pageant, which started as a marketing competition by California company Catalina Swimwear in 1952, has evolved over the past 64 years into an annual tradition celebrating intelligence, poise and beauty. Miss South Africa Margaret Gardiner took the title in 1978. Other African winners include Miss Namibia, Michelle McLean in 1992; Miss Botswana, Mpule Kwelagobe in 1999 and Miss Angola, Leila Lopes in 2011.
The 2017 Miss South Africa Pageant will be staged in March by licence holders Sun International, in association with Cell C.