15 things you should know about Miss Universe, SA's Zozibini Tunzi

Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe in Atlanta in the US on Sunday night. Picture: Supplied

Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe in Atlanta in the US on Sunday night. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 9, 2019


There was jubilation, tears, shouts of joy and excitement as Miss South Africa 2019 Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta in the US on Sunday night.

Here are 15 things you need to know about Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.

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 full-time 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. She says: “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.”

8. 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.”

9. 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.

10. She is inspired by the likes of Steve Biko, Nelson Mandela and Princess Diana.

11. Zozibini is a hardcore Marvel fan and enjoys the the DC comic Wonder Woman.

12. She describes herself as a pretty good singer although she doesn’t sing publicly.

13. She’s terrified of heights (acrophobia) and holes (trypophibia).

14. Her favourite food is Umngqusho  (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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