Meet Miss Earth Finalist Naledi Igweokolo

“When I look outside of my window and I look as to where I am when I look in the mirror behind me and look at other people’s hardships and my own hardships I get inspired. The things I have seen as a black child that inspires me,” said Naledi.

Naledi Igweokolo is a national finalist in the Miss Earth SA 2017 competition, through her love in conserving the earth she wants to be a role model who creates awareness on environmental issues and have young people more involved. She entered the pageant because it is aligned with her values.

Miss Earth South Africa is a leadership programme aimed at empowering young South African women with the knowledge and the platform needed to create a sustainable difference in the preservation of South Africa’s natural heritage.

When talking about why she is on Miss Earth SA competition Naledi said, “It’s because I aspire to be a change agent, I believe that I was born for such a time as this and the programme allows me the opportunity to lead and to make a tangible difference in my society.”

Naledi was born in the Free State to a South African mother and a Nigerian father.

“My parents met in Russia whilst studying. I have an older brother who was born in Russia. After graduating and living in Russia for some time, they both decided to come back to South Africa,” said Naledi.

“We lived in Mafikeng for the earlier part of my childhood, where I attended Mafikeng Laerskool /Primary school and I then attended Randpark High School when we moved to Johannesburg.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is amongst women authors who inspire her. She mentioned that there is more that one can learn through reading. She is pleading with young people to adapt to the culture of reading.

“The minute you begin to read, you begin to decide for yourself, you begin to create your own narrative and you begin to form your own opinion,”

When talking about where she finds inspiration, Naledi said that she is inspired by people’s stories

“I am inspired by people’s everyday stories, the lady who woke at four in the morning and sells amagwinya (fat cakes) on the side of the street. She is an entrepreneur and she is resilient and she is making sure that she provides for her family. That inspires me,” said Naledi.

“Two people that I look up to are Napo Ramadibedi and Peggy-Sue Khumalo, those are my two mentors and from afar I think Basetsana Khumalo has done phenomenal and people that keep pushing me to set the bar high on daily are guys like Maps Maponyane.”

“I have so much to give and to contribute to the world that we live in,” she added.

Apart from being the Miss Earth South Africa national finalist, Naledi is the founding member of a Non-Profit Organisation called Planting with a Purpose. The NGO works closely with communities in places such as Cosmo City and Mamelodi in establishing Vegetable gardens for community members.

“We find different communities to go into, to equip people from an entrepreneurial point of view to address food security issues that the community is facing,” said Naledi.

“I am looking forward to the Miss Earth journey; I am looking forward to my reign as Miss Earth South Africa. I would love to win and should I win, I love to use the platform to address two fundamental things which are young people and addressing their interests to food security,” she concluded.

Miss Earth SA 2017 competition is taking place on the 9th of September at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg.

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