27/04/2017 13:07 SAST | Updated 27/04/2017 13:53 SAST

What Freedom Means To Former Miss Teen World

The 17-year-old says Steve Biko is her inspiration.

Katlego Ncala

Yo!TV presenter, Katlego Ncala says she is grateful for the freedom to express herself in ways that she wants.

Ncala was crowned the first South African Miss Teen World in 2015.

The aspiring entrepreneur told HuffPost SA that she admires struggle hero Steve Biko for his activism in the struggle.

"Every year on Freedom Day, ever since I can remember, I watch Cry Freedom, a movie on the life and times of Biko. I cry every year thinking of how much blood, sweat and tears actually went into getting me the freedom that I enjoy today," said Ncala.

"Biko was not afraid. His bravery is one thing I will always be in awe of. In today's life, I translate that to being brave enough to take risks and make decisions about my future even when it seems bleak.

She said the freedom to be educated in a language she can understand means the world to her.

Katlego Ncala

"What I have learnt from reading up on our history as a country is that people like Nelson Mandela put education first and today I am grateful to reap the rewards," she said.

After being crowned Miss Teen World in 2015, Ncala said she was inspired to empower young girls to dream big.

Come June 8, she will launch her national tour of motivational talks for teenage girls.

"I want girls to know that freedom is what they make of it. The men and women who lost their lives fighting for us to be free are gone, but it's up to us now to make them proud, to prove that their blood was not in vain. They fought for us to have a better life and we need to put in the work to make that happen. We are ready to be the next generation of winners. We are standing on the shoulders of the Biko's and the Mandela's of the time," said Ncala.

She said she was inspired by her fellow teenager, Zulaikha Patel, a Pretoria Girls High School learner.

Patel was at the forefront of the fight against the school's policy regarding black girls' hair.

Ncala said she has plans in place to launch a business in renewable energy.

"One day I read up on a Nigerian woman who was making strides in the oil industry in that country. I was so inspired. I knew at that time that I wanted to do work in the energy space. My parents took me to a conference in Bloemfontein where I learnt so much about what we can do in renewable energy. I knew at that time that I needed to get into that space. That is the kind of freedom that I'm grateful for, I can make moves in all the spaces I want without being restricted," she said.

Asked how she would be celebrating this year's Freedom Day, Ncala said, "I will be at home, with my family. I am grateful that I can have the freedom to be a child and have all the rights that we are afforded as a generation, but I am also mindful of the fact that my freedom was not free," said Ncala.

In the next 10 years, Ncala wants to see herself on the global stage.

Katlego Ncala

"Somehow I would like to be a part of the Academy Awards. I don't know when or how I will get there, but I see myself getting that far. It's one of the dreams that scare me, but I dare to dream it anyway," she said.

Ncala is also a soccer fanatic and a loyal Orlando Pirates supporter. She said she would like to also try her hand in soccer pitchside commentary.

Katlego Ncala

Ncala hosts Yo!TV's Blue Couch conversation every Tuesday and also a sports programme on Saturdays.