Zozibini Tunzi

Miss Universe 2019

Zozibini Tunzi is Miss Universe 2019

Zozibini Tunzi, the girl who hails from the tiny village, Tsolo, in the Eastern Cape, was crowned Miss Universe in a glittering ceremony in the United States, on December 8, 2019.

She proved to be the judges’ favourite going into the competition, held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia and won against a field of 90 women representing their countries at the 68th annual Miss Universe competition.

Zozi was singled out for the manner in which she conducted herself during the finalé, an attitude that won her the adoration of pageant fans and contestants alike. She was described as confident without being arrogant. And, following her belief system – that natural is her style – she was authentic and true to herself, gracing the stage with elegance, charm and intelligence.

She relinquishes her Miss South Africa title as she assumes the Miss Universe mantle and takes up residence in New York for the duration of her Miss Universe reign.

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi

Zozibini Tunzi (26) – from Tsolo, eSdwadweni in the Eastern Cape – was crowned Miss South Africa 2019 on Friday, August 9, which just happened to be Women’s Day in South Africa.

Just 122 days later, on Sunday, December 8, 2019, she won one of the highest global accolades when she was crowned Miss Universe at the world’s most prestigious pageant.

At the time of winning the Miss SA 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 National Diploma in Public Relations Management at the same institution.

#HeForShe Campaign

As part of her Miss South Africa campaign, Zozi threw her weight behind the global fight against gender-based violence, supporting the United Nations #heforshe solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality. Through #heforshe, Zozi aimed at achieving equality by encouraging both genders to partake as agents of change, and therefore fight against negative stereotypes. She invited South African men to join her in an online campaign, asking them to publicly support South African women.

Zozi said she wanted the men of this country to follow in the moral and ethical footsteps of her role models, Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela, both of whom where committed to human dignity, and gender equality. Her message to the men of South Africa, and the world: Be better. Do better.

IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY

For Zozi, family is is the most important part of her life: “I once read that a child chooses their parents. If that is true, my family is the best decision I have made in my life so far. Everything else could be falling apart but they remain the constant centre of my joy.”

Her mother Philiswa Tunzi Nadopu is a school principal at Bangweni JSS, a school in a village called Bolotwa in the Eastern Cape. Her father Lungisa Tunzi works in Pretoria at the Department of Higher Education and Training. She has three sisters: Yanga (30), Sibabalwe (24) and Ayakha (13).

“My dad is the greatest father in the whole world; he probably knows the names of all previous title holders of this pageant, probably even more than I do because he shows interest and invests time in everything his daughters love.”

She had previously entered the Miss South Africa competition in 2017 and was a semi-finalist.

FOOD AND FUN

Zozibini is a hardcore Marvel fans and enjoys the the DC comic Wonder Woman; she’s a pretty good singer although she doesn’t sing publicly and she enjoys nothing more than Umngqusho (pronounced “oom-nqoo-shoh” which is made from stamp mielies and sugar beans) and a beef stew.

INSPIRING NATURALNESS

It is Zozi’s desire (both as Miss South Africa and Miss Universe) to inspire people by making them feel good about embracing their naturalness in all forms. She wears her natural hair and believes that it should be an option for African women, should they wish to choose it.

She says: “The first misconception people have about beauty queens is that they have no depth, which is why they don’t find relevance in beauty pageants. This is far from the truth.

“Through pageants I’ve met inspirational women from different backgrounds doing amazing things for themselves and their communities.

“Looking at past Miss SA contestants, we see that brilliant minds have grace the stage. Beauty pageants in 2019 are more than just outer beauty, they are about what an individual can offer to the world. They are about being impactful, being an empowered woman who can empower other women. That can never be irrelevant.”

“I entered the Miss South Africa competition with my natural hair as a symbol of my firm belief in fair representation of any shape and form. And so, through winning both Miss SA and Miss Universe, I hope I have inspired people to be themselves at all times and to never compromise their identities, and to insert themselves in spaces where they feel that people like them do not belong.”

FUN FACTS ABOUT MISS UNIVERSE 2019

  • Zozibini Tunzi is the reigning Miss Universe 2019. She represented South Africa at the prestigious competition held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta on December 8, 2019, and was crowned Miss Universe. Zozi competed against 90 women representing their countries at the 68th annual Miss Universe competition.
  • 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.
  • She is the second of four girls (Yanga, 30, Sibabalwe, 24, and Ayakha, 13) and jokes that she entered the Miss South Africa competition to prove she was the most beautiful Tunzi sister.
  • She was crowned Miss South Africa 2019 on Friday, August 9, which just happened to be Women’s Day in South Africa. 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 has chosen to celebrate and embrace her naturalness
  • She is determined to dispel the myth that beauty queens have no depth. “Beauty pageants in 2019 are more than just outer beauty, they are about what an individual can offer to the world. They are about being impactful, being an empowered woman who can empower other women as well. That can never be irrelevant.” On stage during the Miss Universe competition she cited “leadership” and “claiming the space in society” as an essential teaching lesson for young girls and women. Her response was immediately tweeted by American talk show host, Oprah Winfrey.
  • Zozi wants to use her global platform to change the narrative around gender-based violence. She believes that it is time to lay the responsibility at the door of perpetrators, and wants to work towards making the perpetrators of violence aware that they have to change their behaviour.
  • She is inspired by men and women who embrace an ethical lifestyle who hold truth in high esteem – like freed slave Harriet Tubman, who selflessly went on to rescue slaves like herself and struggle heroes, Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela.
  • She describes herself as a pretty good singer although she doesn’t sing publicly. At the Miss Universe competition she admitted to singing loudly to herself while doing her morning affirmations: I am Beautiful. Capable. Intelligent.
  • Zozibini is a hardcore Marvel fan and enjoys the the DC comic Wonder Woman.
  • She’s terrified of heights (acrophobia) and holes (trypophibia).
  • Her favourite food is Umngqusho (pronounced “oom-nqoo-shoh” which is made from stamp mielies and sugar beans) and a beef stew.
  • She has made it her mission to make men accountable for their behaviour and has thrown her weight behind a UN inspired campaign to foster gender equality and end gender-based violence, #HeForShe.

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