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Elizabeth Molapo and Tayla Skye Robinson are the two runners-up

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 are Elizabeth 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 of the 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.

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