Johannesburg - Zozibini Tunzi may have passed on her crown to a new Miss Universe but to South Africans she will always remain the queen of the world.
The 27-year-old beauty stunned during the pageant proceedings when she and fellow South African and former Miss Universe Demi Tebow hosted the preliminary rounds of the pageant proudly representing the country.
Tunzi also co-hosted the National Costume show.
Miss Universe South Africa finalist Natasha Joubert stunned in all her preliminary outfits but did not place in the top stages of the pageant.
Tunzi gave her last walk as Miss Universe dressed in a black-and-white beaded show-stopper from local glam designer Biji La Maison de Couture.
Tunzi shared an image from the event which was broadcast live on Sunday night in the US, saying that she was overwhelmed with emotion.
“I walked on that stage a final time as a reigning Miss Universe. I am reminded everyday that my journey wasn’t just mine alone.
“With that said, I want to thank you all. Thank you for welcoming me into your hearts and walking side-by-side with me on this very important chapter of my life. Once again … may every child who witnessed this moment believe in the absolute power of their dreams.”
Tunzi reigned a historical 17 months as Miss Universe as the pandemic disturbed live events taking place safely.
“From the moment I won, I knew my reign would be different but I never imagined it would be during a global pandemic. However, I had the opportunity to touch twice as many lives. I raised my voice to combat race and gender inequality. It was important to amplify the Black Lives Matter message and have conversations to help end systemic racism and support survivors of abuse,” she said during her final speech as Miss Universe.
“My Miss Universe win is my ancestors’ wildest dreams. We are now in a world, where a black African girl from a country that is only 27 years into its democracy, can represent them on a global stage. I want to honour them for fighting for my freedom so that I could be where I am today. I am proud to know that I did my best, cementing the blueprint for others to follow in the future.”
Joubert paid tribute to Miss Universe winner Andrea Meza from Mexico as well as offering her congratulations to runner-up Miss Brazil Julia Gama and second runner-up Miss Peru Janick Maceta Del Castillo.
The 69th edition of the competition also saw Tebow serve as an expert analyst.
“First off I would like to congratulate Andrea who is a worthy winner and is going to be a wonderful Miss Universe at a time when we need it the most. I knew, going into the competition, that I had big shoes to fill and I gave it my utmost. I hope that, even though I didn’t get a placing, I did South Africa proud. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful support.
“The Miss Universe experience will be something I will never forget,” said Joubert.
Stephanie Weil, chief executive of the Miss SA Organisation said: “We are incredibly proud of Natasha and how she represented both us as an organisation and the country on a world stage. We believe that she did South Africa proud and her performance was remarkable from start to finish. We look forward to welcoming her home where her Miss Universe SA journey will continue.”