Zozibini Tunzi has made a whirlwind start to her reign as Miss South Africa 2019 jetting off to New York to be involved in Fashion Week among other activities.
 Picture: Supplied/Gregoire Avenel

Johannesburg - Almost a month after clinching the Miss South Africa crown and winning the hearts of South Africans, Zozibini Tunzi has been on a high, achieving many “firsts”.

On Friday she strode down the catwalk at the prestigious New York Fashion Week, strutting designs by South Africa’s celebrated designer Laduma Ngxokolo of the MaXhosa brand and Belgian-born Mozambican designer - Eliana Morargy.

Ngxokolo, who is also one of Tunzi’s favourite designers, dressed the beauty queen with a regal gown inspired by AmaMpondo’s royalty.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent from New York, the 25-year-old Tunzi, said she was in awe of the opportunities presented to her, especially significant as this was also her first trip outside South Africa.

She said her dream of participating in “something global” was realised and that she didn’t take the opportunities presented to her lightly.

Video: Supplied

“I am so happy that I got to keep my natural hair and I know that Miss South Africa (organisers) were also happy because of the vision they had of introducing a different kind of beauty to the world.

“Walking the ramp is my chance to say ‘we’ve had a whole lot of other forms of beauty displayed in the media, but here’s another different kind of beauty that the world might not know of’.

“I am proud to be walking fully as an African woman and hope that fellow African women will see themselves reflected in me,” she said.

Despite New York’s glitz and glamour and celebrating a moment in the spotlight, Tunzi revealed that troubles brewing in South Africa weighed heavily on her, especially the wide spread gender-based violence gripping the nation.

“Its a bittersweet moment for me because I’m supposed to be celebrating the glory that is happening here, but the troubles happening back home - especially the violence against women and against foreigners in our country has left me with internal battles.

“Trying to have fun here while my country is in turmoil is tough,” she said, adding that she planned to use the platforms afforded to her to let the rest of the world know exactly what was happening in her home country and promote authentic African beauty.

While in New York, Tunzi’s schedule included an interview with America’s biggest African American women’s magazine, Essence. She also visited international modeling agency IMG, which also owns the Miss Universe pageant. One of her stops was to rub shoulders and share laughter with one of Mzansi’s famous exports, Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.

“Looking at how everything has played out from me not winning Miss SA the first time I entered to being in this moment, it really proves that everything indeed happens for a reason. I feel now is the time that I am called to use my voice to inspire a lot of Africans and to put hope in their hearts,” she said.

Sunday Independent 

* This story has been selected as study material for the National High Schools Quiz final. For more stories click here.