The twenty-three-year-old reigning Miss Soweto, Ludina Ngwenya’s impact is far beyond that of her own existence. We meet her grandmother and learn about a young boy whose life she’s changed forever. 

How Ludina Ngwenya went from bullied schoolgirl to Ms. Soweto was sparked by the question ‘are you a model?’ One which family, friends and strangers asked her for years. The day she tried modelling, she found her power.

Ludina was one of 20 Miss Soweto finalists selected from over 1 000 contestants. Once a finalist, she was judged across a wide range of criteria, including posture and grace, first impression, presence in front of a camera, personality, confidence, modelling skills, communication skills, responses to judges and audience appeal. 

“Winning the title has been such a life changing opportunity for me. I had so many plans and winning it made it easier for me because I was able to do things that I would have probably only have done later in life, way sooner, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity,” states Ludina.

One of her biggest fans is without doubt her gogo, Tebogo Seitshiro, who became the proudest grandmother in town when she was crowned. In fact, Soweto’s finest gets her purpose and focus from her mother and grandmother, who kept her firmly on track to higher education.

“My family has always taught me that your circumstances don’t define you and that you can always rise above them. And that you can be anything that you want to be.”

Upon spending time with the queen, you quickly realise she’s not allowing anything to hold her back from reaching her dreams. These goals include entering Miss South Africa and studying hard to complete her foundation phase teaching qualification. 

“School is such an important thing in the family. I’ve always been encouraged to go to school and to study… Being an aspiring teacher myself, I understand the importance of a child being in school. There’s so many things they can learn from a school environment that can actually help them later in life. So to see a child who could have the brightest future not going to school, really broke my heart.”

Ludina approached the parents of the young boy, to ask for their permission to assist and help with covering his schooling. Despite the term already having started, they were able to enroll him and he is now settling in well. 

She would love to be a trailblazing leader in advocating for people with visible differences and disabilities to build a more inclusive and realistic society. 

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.

Surviving burns to her arm as a child, the scars she carries are ones which Nadene’s designs embrace.

As a beauty queen who wears the scars around her body with pride, Ngwenya hopes to build confidence and affirm anyone with either a visible or invisible scar or any endeavour they face that they are capable and worthy of their dreams. Representing diversity in a world where people are constantly trying to conform is what she says made her unique from the other contestants.

The aspiring teacher strives to provide a voice to the voiceless and aims to advocate for people  with visible differences and disabilities to build a more inclusive and realistic society.



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