She was crowned Miss Universe at a spectacular ceremony held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta earlier this morning and Zozibini Tunzi is expected to go on to do great things during her year of reign.

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. Not only did she wow local judges with her beautiful approach to life while staying true to herself and celebrating all that makes her beautiful. Zozibini took this approach to the world stage and, again, wowed the judges with her eloquent answers, beauty and approach to life.

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.”

Here are 15 things you may not know about our local beauty:

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. She describes her family as her “true north”, the constant in her life who remain her “centre of joy”.
4. She was crowned Miss South Africa 2019 on Friday, August 9, which just happened to be Women’s Day in South Africa.
5. 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.
6. She entered the Miss South Africa competition twice and was a semi-finalist in 2017, and winner in 2019.
7. She has chosen to celebrate her blackness by embracing her naturalness.
8. Zozi Quote: “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.”
9. 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.”
10. 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.
11. She is inspired by the likes of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana and those of their calibre.
12. Zozibini is a hardcore Marvel fan and enjoys the the DC comic Wonder Woman. 13. She describes herself as a pretty good singer although she doesn’t sing publicly. She’s terrified of heights (acrophobia) and holes (trypophibia).
14. Her favourite food is Umngqusho (pronounced “oom-nqoo-shoh” which is made from stamp mielies and sugar beans) and a beef stew.
15. She is the reigning 2019 Miss Universe.

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