WATCH Miss SA compete in Miss World on YouTube

Thousands of South Africans have sent messages of support to reigning Miss South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene ahead of the Miss World pageant, which takes place on Sunday, December 18, at the MGM National Harbour in Washington, D.C. The current Miss World, Mireia Lalaguna of Spain, will crown her successor at the event.

South Africans can download the MobStar app and vote for Ntando on Earlier this week the server crashed due to a record amount of downloads as millions of Miss World fans joined the app to vote for their favourite contestant.

Fans of the pageant will also be able to watch the event via live streaming. Miss World 2016 Grand Coronation Night is  available to watch free online via the official live streaming channels on Youtube , PlayStation Vue and Xbox Live.

Kunene is looking forward to the pageant: “I have learned valuable lessons thanks to the wonderful opportunities being Miss South Africa 2016 has afforded me. Growing up it was always my dream to be crowned Miss South Africa and I am thrilled now to be able to represent this country on the international stage. I will do my best to make our Rainbow Nation proud.”

Says Claudia Henkel, PR Manager: Sun International: “We wish Ntando all the best for Sunday and know that she will do South Africa proud.”

It is a sentiment echoed by Suzette van der Merwe, Executive Head, Commercial Communication for Cell C: “Ntando has been a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and we know she will give it her all and do her best for the country.”

The annual Miss South Africa Pageant is staged by licence holders Sun International in association with Cell C.

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Miss South Africa is 24-year-old Ntandoyenkosi Kunene. Ntando – as she is known – is a Bachelor of Education Honours graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She grew up in Mkhondo in Mpumalanga province in South Africa and has four sisters and a brother and regards her parents, Christopher and Baby Kunene, as her first role models.

In her Miss South Africa acceptance speech Kunene 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 now that my dream has come true. I am delighted because I have the opportunity to give back to South Africa and to inspire little girls 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.”

One woman who inspires her is Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, the first female black South African to obtain a PhD in Mathematics Education and who heads up South Africa’s Adopt-A-Learner Foundation, something close to Kunene’s heart.

Kunene is the official ambassador for the Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work initiative which is targeted at Grade 10 to 12 South African girl learners, giving them the opportunity to visit a place of work and to experience first-hand, the “world of work” and the various career opportunities available in the industry and within the public service sectors”.

Says Kunene: “As the late Nelson Mandela said education is the one tool that can be used to change the world. I want to pass this message on to the young women of South Africa. Education is vital and empowers them. It will be one of the key factors for South Africa’s socio-economic development.”

In her spare time, Kunene loves going to the movies or meeting up with “my girls” for a meal. Her message to girls and young women around the world: “Most women succeed against all odds. I say start writing your own story.”

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