Newly crowned Miss Universe 2019

A victory for Mzansi as Miss South Africa beauty queen Zozibini Tunzi was crowned as Miss Universe 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Hosted by five-time Emmy award winner, and one of television’s favorite entertainers, Steve Harvey, the announcement of South Africa taking the crown was remarkable. 

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”.

Among the prizes she gets year-long salary as Miss Universe – thought to be worth more than $100 000 (around R1.475 million), a luxury apartment in New York City, and a modelling portfolio by top-tier fashion photographers.

Talk show host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle made a call for fellow country man Trevor Noah, who is the host of the The Daily Show, to invite Miss Universe for an interview.

Noah is yet to give feedback on the call from Mabuza- Suttle.

Miss Universe 2019, Tunzi, is a passionate activist and engaged in the fight against gender based violence which is on a rise in the country. 

She has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes and is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.

“Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it.

“May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I am #MissUniverse2019,” said Tunzi. 

Hundreds of South African have sent out their congratulations to the newly crown beauty queen such as statesman president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Last month, the Springboks won the Rugby World Cup in Japan under the leadership of their first black captain, Siya Kolisi.

By Nokuthula Zwane 

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