Ludina Ngwenya plans to advocate for the voiceless during her reign

Miss Soweto 2021 is a foundation phase teacher

Ludina Ngwenya was crowned Miss Soweto at the Soweto Theatre on Saturday night.
Ludina Ngwenya was crowned Miss Soweto at the Soweto Theatre on Saturday night.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Ludina Ngwenya was crowned Miss Soweto 2021 in an electrifying event that was held at the Soweto Theatre last night.

The queen of Soweto walked away with a grand prize worth R100,000 from White Star and a brand-new Toyota Starlet for the year of her reign. The first princess title went to Ontsiametse Tlhopane and Thando Tshabalala was second princess.

Other winners of the evening were Zanele Phakathi, who won Miss Social Butterfly, and Lebogang Chiloane, who was awarded Miss Congeniality.

The exhilarating night was co-hosted by the effervescent Jozi FM Refiloe Motsei and the presenter of SABC 3’s Expresso Show Thabiso Makhubela. On the judge's panel was the editor-in-chief of Sowetan S Mag Emmanuel Tijya, broadcaster and businesswoman Bridget Masinga and former fashion editor and blogger Grace Mantjiu. 

“I am excited; I was actually excited since last night, I could barely sleep just out of excitement… I couldn’t wait to come here and have fun,” Ngwenya told Sowetan last night.

“Coming into this beauty pageant I really wanted to advocate for people who are living with a difference simply because I know what it feels like to live with a difference. I just thought me entering for Miss Soweto was the best way for me to stand up for myself, especially for the younger me because I grew up not seeing women who were just like me, who had burn scares, winning beauty pageants.”

With a burn scar stretching over most of her right arm, Ngwenya explained she wanted to represent other young women and help them to believe in themselves despite societal beauty standards.

“I grew up in Cape Town and Boksburg, I also have family members who live in Soweto. I may not have been raised here in Soweto but I believe I will relate to this community simply because I am from a township and was raised in many of them. I have experience what a township is like and the people who live in it,” Ngwenya stated.

The stellar evening saw performances from Amanda Black, Azana and Miss Soweto 2020 first princess Anathi Conjwa serenading the audience with their soulful sweet voices, but the memorable moment of the night was when judge Tjiya asked Ngwenya her thoughts on “cancel culture on social media” that left her confused on stage but saw her making an impressive comeback at answering the question.

“I was very calm. Soon as they announced my name in the top five, I told myself, ‘listen this is the only chance that I have been waiting for, let me go and shine’. To me not knowing what a question is doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. If you don’t know something, you need to ask.

So, I asked what cancel culture was and I believe I answered it as best as I could. I just gave it my all and my all happened to have been the best seeing that I won.

“I believe that if you don’t know something, just simply ask.”

During her reign as Miss Soweto 2021, Ngwenya plans to advocate for people who are different in society and help them realise that their voice matters. “We have seen how children living with a difference fear going to school and we need to change that narrative in society.

"I decided to study to become a foundation phase teacher to help instil confidence in children who don’t believe in themselves because I know how that feels.

“Growing up I was told I was different because of my scar that I thought was normal seeing that I was burnt at a very young age and don’t even remember, but constantly being told I am different made me doubt myself.”  

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