CARNIVAL CITY, SATURDAY MARCH 19: A radiant Ntandoyenkosi Kunene has been crowned Miss South Africa 2016 at a glittering ceremony held at Carnival City, presented by Sun International in collaboration with Cell C.
Runners-up areElizabeth Molapo from the Freestate (1st Princess) and Tayla Skye Robinson from Gauteng (2nd Princess).
An excited and overwhelmed Kunene – a 23-year-old education honours student from Mpumalanga – said she was determined to make a difference during her reign.
In her Miss South Africa acceptance speech she said: “As a little girl growing up in the township – modelling around the house and practicing my speech in front of the mirror – I had always hoped, prayed and believed that one day my name would be called as the new Miss South Africa. Words cannot begin to describe the joy in my heart. I am delighted because I have the opportunity to give back to my nation; to inspire little girls like myself to have big dreams; to be a beacon of hope to the hopeless and to encourage young women to work tirelessly towards their goals, dreams and ambitions.”
As Miss South Africa 2016 Kunene has won cash, a car and products valued at more than R2 million. She also gets R600 000 courtesy of Cell C, Sun International and Varsity College to spend on random acts of kindness during her reign.
The event – broadcast live on M-Net and Mzansi Magic – was a star-studded affair. Tayla Skye Robinson was named winner of the World Swimsuit South Africa competition and will feature in a four page spread in the December issue ofthe magazine and receive R20 000 in cash courtesy of Sun International and Cell C.
Sun International’s Public Relations Executive, Claudia Henkel, said: “The pageant itself is a glamorous event, but it is more than just a beauty contest. It is about creating an iconic young South African woman who can stand alongside all people and be heard, and in so doing, make a difference. It is about a South African woman who can inspire and help create opportunities for tomorrow’s generation. We have seen the success of Basetsane Kumalo who was one of our judges this year, as well as Peggy Sue Khumalo, Amy Kleynhans Curd, and Bokang Montjane to name just a few. The prospects that lie before Ntandoyenkosi with the Miss World and Miss Universe pageant later this year can also catapult her onto the world stage.”
Suzette van der Merwe, Cell’s Commercial Communications Executive echoed her views: “We would like to congratulate Ntandoyenkosi, the newly crowned Miss South Africa 2016 and believe she will leave an indelible mark during her reign. The Miss South Africa pageants, over the past 58 years, have produced star quality winners that have inspired and delighted South Africans. Our entire Believe campaign is centred on envisioning the life that you can build for yourself. And Miss South Africa provides a platform for young women to make those dreams come true.”
This year's Miss South Africa judges were Basetsana Kumalo (although she did not attend the final due to an injury), Sophie Ndaba, Kojo Baffoe, Pnina Fenster and Casper Bosman.
NTANDOYENKOSI KUNENE – MKHONDO, MPUMALANGA
Occupation: Honours student, education, Wits University.
Why did you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role? I am inspired by the women the Miss South Africa brand has produced for the last half century: selfless woman who use the opportunities afforded them to not only elevate themselves, but to be of help to others, to serve. I’d like to help others rise above their circumstances, to stop people from defining themselves by where they come from or what they do.
Who is a previous Miss SA who has inspired you and why? Kerishnie Naicker and Basetsana Kumalo. Kerishnie was the first Miss South Africa that I watched crowned and Basetsana has gone on to succeed in business.
Who are your role models/who has inspired you and why? Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Mathematics Education who also runs an Adopt-a-Learner foundation.
Tell us a bit more about your family: I have four sisters and a brother, raised by a power couple who run a tuck shop - we are famous for our atchar.
What do you do in your spare time? I watch movies or meet up with my girlfriends for lunch or dinner.
What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa? Most women succeed against all odds. I say start writing your own story.
What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I have a sense of humour!
What are you reading? Instincts by T.D Jakes - daily readings
Your favourite TV show? It’s Complicated
Your favourite meal? My friend’s delicious lamb curry
Anything else you would like to add? “Never give in, tomorrow could be the day that brings just what you need to turn your life around.”
What makes you proudly South African? Our rich history, our diversity.
Miss South Africa 2016 Ntandoyenkosi Kunene acceptance speech
A verse that comes to mind at this moment is from the book of Psalms: “This is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.” I am humbled and feeling amazingly blessed by the works of my God and I shall continually be singing his praises.
As a little girl growing up in the township – modelling around the house and practicing my speech in front of the mirror – I had always hoped, prayed and believed that one day my name would be called as the new Miss South Africa. Words cannot begin to describe the joy in my heart. I am delighted because I have the opportunity to give back to my nation; to inspire little girls like myself to have big dreams; to be a beacon of hope to the hopeless and to encourage young women to work tirelessly towards their goals, dreams and ambitions.
My journey would not have been so rewarding had it not been for the other contestants - the 11 amazing young women that have become my best friends. I have no doubt in my mind that they will continue making waves in their different career paths and becoming successful women in their own right.
To my family: Mom and Dad thank you. Bo’kunene, bo’mtimande for being my pillar of strength, amagama amaningi anginayo. Ngiyabonga ukungi’-khulisa kwenu. Your teachings will live on and I will make you proud. To my siblings bangani bami, thank you, for the laughs and the silly moments over the phone, it has kept me grounded and I take comfort in knowing that I will always have you in my life. To my province thank you for your backing in my academic career and to my hometown of Mkhondo, it warms my heart to know that I have your support. Ngiyabonga. To my friends - thank you for your constant support, it means the world to me.
Mama J thank you for your motherly love on a daily basis. To Liesl Laurie, your guidance and words of wisdom will live on during my reign. You have left a legacy of staying true to oneself and being humble, which I greatly admire. The world is yet to see more of your greatness.
To my "other" family - Sun International and Cell C and the other sponsors - thank you for providing such a wonderful platform that allows a young woman to not only uplift herself but to give back to her nation through the spirit of Ubuntu. I strongly believe that when a flower does not bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows and not the flower. This will be the focus of my reign with education as the driving force.
I will work tirelessly in driving the campaigns of Sun International and Cell C and raising the flag of a Miss South Africa for South Africans. The legacy I want to leave behind is that of minimising the barriers that are associated with learning.
To my country, I am delighted to be representing a dynamic, vibrant, cultured and hopeful nation. My reign is about you and together we will strive to make a sustainable difference to the lives of all South Africans.
Issued by Ninesquared Communications and Events on behalf of Sun International and Cell C.