There was jubilation, tears, shouts of joy and excitement as Miss South Africa 2019, ZozibiniTunzi, was crowned Miss Universe at the Tyler Perry Studios is
Atlanta last night.
It’s a huge leap for the humble girl from Tsolo who grew up amid great poverty in a rural part of the Eastern Cape.
Resplendent in a Gold and Blue Biji Gibbs designed gown, inspired by the African soil and the coastline of the Eastern Cape at sunrise, the 26-year-old wept as Catriona Gray, Miss Philippines Universe 2018 placed the crown on her head.
An exuberant Stephanie Weil, CEO of Miss South Africa organisation, said: “We are delighted and not in the least surprised. She shone in every way during the pre-process in the run up to Miss Universe.
“Zozi has such a unique look, she was a front runner from the start. We are so very proud of her. She is beautiful both outside and in.”
In a tearful interview after the pageant, Zozi said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received from “everybody back home. My social media accounts have blown up during the entire period. I want everyone to know I am very grateful.
“I’m bringing back the crown for you all, for South Africa,” she said, adding that she was happiest that her #heforshe campaign – to get perpetrators of gender-based violence to be accountable – will have a global platform.
“We need to get the word out to men out there: Be better. Do better.”
Zozi becomes the third Miss South Africa to wear the Miss Universe sash and the crown, named “Power of Unity”.
Margaret Gardiner earned the title in 1978 and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters wore the Miss Universe crown in 2017.
DID YOU KNOW ?
- She was born in Tsolo, eSdwadweni in the Eastern Cape on September 18, 1992 into a family of educators – her mother Philiswa Tunzi Nadopu is a school principal in an Eastern Cape village called Bolotwa; her father Lungisa Tunzi works at the Department of Higher Education and Training in Pretoria.
- At the time of winning the title, Zozi was completing her B-Tech in PR at Cape Peninsula University of Technology while working fulltime in an undergraduate programme at Ogilvy Cape Town.
- She had previously graduated with a ND Public Relations Management at the same institution.
- She entered the Miss South Africa competition twice and was a semi-finalist in 2017, and winner in 2019.
- Zozi is using her platform to change the narrative around gender based violence. She believes it’s time to lay the responsibility at the door of perpetrators, and will use her year of reign working towards making them aware that they have to change their behaviour.
- She is inspired by the likes of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana and those of their calibre.
- Her favourite food is Umngqusho (pronounced “oom-nqoo-shoh” which is made from stamp mielies and sugar beans) and a beef stew.
INFO SUPPLIED BY NHLANHLA SHEZI.