Ludina Ngwenya was crowned Miss Soweto 2021 at the end of the gala, that was held at the Soweto Theatre on November 27, 2021. She succeeds Miss Soweto 2020 Thobile Steyn. The 22-year-old 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.
“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 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.”
Ontsiametse Tlhopane and Thando Tshabalala were crowned first princess and second princess, respectively.
Other winners of the evening were Zanele Phakathi, who won Miss Social Butterfly, and Lebogang Chiloane, who was awarded Miss Congeniality.