Miss SA 2016 winner Ntandoyenkosi Kunene with former miss SA Liesl Laurie at the annual beauty pageant which took place at Carnival City, Johannesburg on Saturday night.Presented by Sun International in collaboration with Cell C. 420 Photo: Matthews Baloyi 19/03/2016

Johannesburg – Ntandoyenkosi Kunene was crowned Miss South Africa 2016 at a glittering ceremony at Carnival City, Brakpan, in Gauteng, on Saturday.

Runners-up were Elizabeth Molapo from the Free State (1st Princess) and Tayla Skye Robinson from Gauteng (2nd Princess).

Kunene, 23, an education honours student from Mpumalanga, said she was determined to “make a difference during her reign”, the organisers said in a statement.

As Miss South Africa 2016 Kunene 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 statement said.

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 would 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 public relations executive Claudia Henkel said in the statement: “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.”

Cell C commercial communications executive Suzette van der Merve echoed these 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.”

In another statement, Deputy Science and Technology Minister Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi also congratulated Kunene.

“I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate Miss Kunene for being crowned not only the most beautiful young woman in South Africa, but also for proving once again that it does not matter where you come from, but it’s where you want to go. She proved to millions of young girls from all corners of our country that if you believe and work hard towards your ambitions, you can achieve it,” she said.