South Africans have taken to their social media to congratulate Zozibini Tunzi, after she beat more than 90 contestants from around the world to take home the Miss Universe crown on 8 December 2019.
The pageant was hosted by Steve Harvey at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. The 26-year-old Miss South Africa received roaring applause after her closing statement: “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful,” she said. “I think that it is time that that stops today.”
When Harvey asked her what the most important thing was that we should be teaching young girls today, Tunzi replied that it should be “leadership”.
“It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a long time, not because we don’t want to, but because of what society has labeled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings [in] the world and that we should be given every opportunity.” She added that young girls should be taught to “take up space” in society.
Zozibini is the third South African to win the Miss Universe crown. The first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978, followed by Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017.
She is also the first Miss Universe to wear the brand-new “Power of Unity” crown which is said to be worth R73 million.