Ntandoyenkosi Kunene celebrated her 24th birthday yesterday, a day short of a month since she was crowned Miss South Africa 2016 at a glittering ceremony held on March 19.
She made the decision to spend part of yesterday with seven-year-old Monica Yende from Tsakane on the East Rand, whose dream was to have a Princess Sofia dress and accessories and to attend a hip-hop dance lesson. Monica, who has a life-threatening brain tumour, is one of the children whose dream is being fulfilled by the Reach For A Dream Foundation.
Kunene attended the private hip-hop dance lesson at Five6seven8 Dance Studio in Fontainebleau along with Monica and her three siblings. Earlier the pair had shared lunch at Rocomamas in Randpark Ridge.
Kunene said she was delighted to be able to make a difference in someone’s life: “I have been so blessed, and I feel privileged to be able to pay it forward. My hope is that South Africans will use their own birthdays to not only celebrate their lives but to be a blessing to those around them. My birthday wish is for South Africans to use their birthdays to be the person they needed when they were younger.”
The 24-year-old also took the opportunity to thank all those people who had sent her birthday wishes, saying: “It has been a very special day so far and I thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. My reign has been a beautiful adjustment and has far exceeded my expectations. I’m in a very happy state.”
At the weekend Kunene returned home to Mkhondo in Mpumalanga: “My homecoming was amazing and my community came out in their numbers. I’m so glad to know that by my being crowned Miss South Africa, I have inspired so many young people to go out and make their dreams a reality. It was a humbling moment and I am truly grateful to each and every person who turned up.”