Ntandoyenkosi Kunene (23) was crowned Miss SA 2016 in May this year and began her journey to the highest level of pageantry on the planet - the Miss World pageant. Here, Kunene, who is a teacher by profession and currently working towards her Honours degree in education, would be competing against 115 finalists from around the world for the title of Miss World 2016. While Kunene did not make it into the top 20 finalists, she championed South Africa at every step on her road to the USA, the host country of this year's event, from her choice of designer to her introductory video,which opens with her speaking in front of the Union Buildings in Pretoria, to her announcement of South African designer J.J. Schoeman as the man behind her wardrobe for the 66th annual pageant. Schoeman created the traditional outfit that she wore for the talent section of the competition, an outfit inspired by her home province, Mpumalanga.
And suddenly the first step to new begins is knowing and trusting that everyday is a new start. When the sun rises I thrive to achieve... Inspired by the province of the rising sun, my home province Mpumalanga in South Africa Thank you @jj_schoeman for your outstanding work. Hi my name is Ntandoyenkosi Kunene, Miss World South Africa 2016 #MissSA2016 #MissWorldSouthAfrica #MissWorld2016
According to Kunene, competing in and winning the Miss SA competition was a life-long dream, as was participating in the Miss World competition. In an Instagram post from before the show, Kunene said that being a part of Miss World has been "a blessing above and beyond my imagination".
I have always thought and dreamt of being Miss South Africa. Being apart of Miss World has been a blessing above and beyond my imagination. Today I am sharing a global stage with 115 women from all over the world. I am so proud of how far I have come and how I have constantly kept grounded in who I am. I started my journey with God and he shall carry me through it. I rest knowing that iNtandoyenkosi izokwenzeka. Am I nervous?! Yes I am 😂 but it's more butterflies. You can catch the live broadcast from the Miss World YouTube Channel at 3:00pm Washington time. Thank you so so much to everyone that wished me well. I appreciate all your support and love. A huge THANK YOU to all my amazing sponsors that have been with me till this day 🙏🏾 #MissSA2016 #MissWorldSouthAfrica #MissWorld2016
It seems Kunene formed good friendships with her competitors and featured them in a number of Instagram posts.
She congratulated the Miss World 2016 winner, Miss Puerto Rico, Stephanie Del Valle, in a smiling Instagram post with the winner on Monday.
In the few months left of her reign, Kunene says she will focus on using education and teaching to inspire young South African women to pursue their dreams and "make an appreciable difference" in their communities. In a Q&A for Miss World she said: "Education is my true passion; more specifically, I want to eradicate the many challenges/barriers that are associated with learning."
Kunene will hand over her crown to the next Miss South Africa at the finals of the 2017 Miss SA pageant, which is set to take place in March next year.