Zozibini Tunzi has made history by becoming the first black woman to win Miss Universe. She is also the first Miss Universe to wear the brand-new “Power of Unity” crown which is said to be worth R73 million.
The crowning of the 68th Miss Universe took place at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
“I grew up in a world where girls who looked like me with my kind of skin and my kind of hair was never considered to be beautiful. And I think it’s about time that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want to see their faces reflected in mine,” said Zozibini in her moving statement to rapturous applause.
The three-hour show was hosted by award-winning comedian, Steve Harvey alongside actress and former beauty queen Vanessa Lachey. Zozibini wowed the judges and fans throughout the competition with her intellect, beauty and confidence.
She becomes the third South African to win the Miss Universe crown. The first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978, followed by Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters who was crowned in 2017.
Tunzi was born in Tsolo, Eastern Cape to parents Philiswa Nadapu and Lungisa Tunzi, and raised in the nearby village of Sidwadweni. Tunzi is one of three sisters. She later moved to Cape Town, settling in the Gardens suburb, to attend Cape Peninsula University of Technology, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management in 2018.
She was accepted as one of the top 26 semi finalists of Miss South Africa 2017, although she was not selected as one of the twelve finalists. She went on to win Miss South Africa in 2019.
“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’,” she said during her acceptance speech.