Cream of the crop makes our nation jump for joy and pride

From rugby to soccer, to Miss Universe – SA grabs headlines

The year 2019 has been tricky for many personalities in Mzansi, but several celebrities still found a way to shine, some even surpassing the nation’s expectations.

Just five months after being crowned Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi shook the world when she was named Miss Universe with her signature hairstyle – a simple Afro haircut.

The beauty goddess, who hails from a village called Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, outclassed and outsmarted beauty queens from all over the world at an event which was held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

However, a month before her big achievement, Tunzi and other South Africans were cheering and hailing another star player who also delivered an historic win and moment of unity for South Africa, Siya Kolisi, the captain o f SA’s rugby world champions.

Kolisi, who recently joined Jay Z’s sports agency Roc Nation, led the Bokke to the 2019 Rugby World Cup title in Tokyo last month.

Not only is Kolisi a World Cup winner, the rugby player and product of an informal settlement called Zwide was the first black captain in the history of South African rugby to lift  the Webb Ellis trophy.

Under his leadership, the Springboks also made a clean sweep at the World Rugby Awards, clinching the Team of the Year award.

Kolisi is now nominated for BBC world sports star of the year alongside US golf legend Tiger Woods, Kenya’s long- distance runner Eliud Kipchonge and USA women’s footballer Megan Rapinoe.

Other achievers who put the country on the international map include the Ndlovu Youth Choir.

The choir from Limpopo left  the US and the world asking for more with their performances in the competition, America’s Got Talent.

After joining the show as underdogs, the Ndlovu Youth Choir became one of the show’s favourites to win the competition after they blew away the judges and viewers alike with their renditions of popular hit songs, leaving the competition as finalists.

Other notable winners this year include rapper and singer Sho Madjozi, who scooped a BET award this year. Madjozi, from a village outside Elim in Limpopo, was the first female and third South African artist to clinch the gong, following DJ Black Coffee and Sjava.

Shining above everyone in soccer, former Mamelodi Sundowns player Percy Tau this year became the fourth South African soccer star to play in the Champions League with Club Brugge – going up against big clubs such as Real Madrid and Paris Saint-German.

Tau made a crucial assist for his team during their game against multiple champions league winners Real Madrid, outplaying some of the highly regarded defenders like Sergio Ramos.

Musically, new kid on the block and piano king, Kabza de Small, has been the busiest producer this year, dropping three successful albums that are dominating the airwaves and the dance floor of every party.

The young producer boasts at least five hits in the top 10 songs of the year 2019.

Kabza de Small, who is from Mpumalanga, has also been named the most streamed artist in South Africa by international music website Spotify, and his album Scorpion Kings was named the second-most streamed album.

Last but not least, rapper Nasty C has sealed his year with two major achievements – a GQ award for Musician of the Year and he was also named the third-most streamed South African artist by Spotify.

By Aubrey Mothombeni

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