The Chronicle

Public Relations graduate, Zozibini Tunzi, 25, snatched the Miss South Africa 2019 crown on Women’s Day (August 9) from 15 finalists who were vying for the coveted title. 

Tunzi, who hails from Tsolo, eSdwadweni, a small village in the Eastern Cape said she was all about education and that if she were to challenge the President to change something about South Africa, she would ask him to push the issue of education. 

“I stand for the education of the South African youth, for equality and representation. As Miss South Africa, I cannot wait to make a contribution to these important social causes,” Tunzi said.

She is the 61st Miss South Africa and also the first winner to wear the new Buhle crown that was inspired by the rainbow and handcrafted in premium 925 sterling silver. It features more than 2 500 fine-cut cubic zirconia stones that weigh 182 carats.

In her Miss South Africa acceptance speech Tunzi said: “For as long as I can remember, I always knew that I had to do something extraordinary with my life. I believe that every single person was brought into this world for a purpose and that we should never leave the world as we found it, we should always strive to make a positive change.

“At a young age, I didn’t have a clear idea of how I would achieve this, but I knew I had to find a way to be impactful and to be a catalyst for positive change in my community and even the world. Finally, everything has come full circle as I find myself with the Miss South Africa crown, ready to deliver on the promises I have been making since I was a child.” 

She said she is inspired by the likes of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana and those of their calibre. 

“They understood fully what it means to be selfless and to stand for something. I came into this competition with my natural hair as a symbol of my firm belief in fair representation of any shape and form. 

“And so, through my win, I hope I have inspired people, even if just one person 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. Because the truth is, we do belong and in the words of the actress Lupita Nyong’o ‘Your dreams are valid’.”

Tunzi first entered Miss SA in 2017 but only made it to the semi-finals. However, that did not stop her and today, she is reigning supreme.

Asked what changed from the day she first entered the competition in 2017, she said: “I’m a different person now. Back then, I didn’t know myself that much but now, I came back stronger with a bigger purpose.”

However, getting the crown was not easy. She was grilled with questions by a panel of judges which included the queen of SA talk and radio jock Anele Mdoda; actress and businesswoman Connie Ferguson and SA model, activist and lawyer Thando Hopa who was the first woman with albinism to grace the cover of Vogue.

For her efforts, Tunzi walked away with R1 million in cash and R2 million worth of sponsorship and prizes that include the use of an apartment in Sandton and a Mercedes Benz cabriolet to use throughout her reign. – IOL