Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi has done it, she has changed the world! Her win will forever be one for the history books but more than that, that Xhosa beaut will forever be treasured by us for not only taking up space on the global stage but in our hearts as well.
Words will never adequately describe what Zozi’s win did for the Black woman in SA, Africa and the rest of the world, however, the effects will be felt long after our generation has passed.
Our Zozi held the title for over 490 days, officially making her the longest-reigning Miss Universe ever. She was crowned Miss Universe in December 2019, just a few months after she won the coveted Miss South Africa title. The Eastern Cape born model’s victory made her the third South African woman to win the title.
Needless to say, if there was a bar to set, she pushed it to heights that seemed impossible. Below are some of the reasons Zozi will forever be the “landlord of the Universe” for us.
She Took All Of Us With Her To The Top!
Zozibini embodied the words of the great poet Maya Angelou as soon as she won Miss SA and later Miss Universe. When Maya said “I come as one but stand as 10000” she must have had Zozibini in mind because that is exactly what she did. Even at the end of her reign - which got many of us emotional, Zozi reminded us that her journey also belonged to us.
Reflecting on the journey, Zozi confirmed that just as we felt she took us with her, she never felt the absence and constant support of her people. Zozi carried all of us in her spirit and throughout her reign.
Zozi Changed The Game
If trailblazing had a face, it would be Zozi’s beautiful face. The model’s win was iconic because she was the first of her kind in every way imaginable. At the time of winning the Miss SA title, Zozi trended because she had kept her hair short. This was a different aesthetic to the usually long flowing hair that the contestants typically have. Her historic win helped shift the status quo for beauty standards. Her message, although totally relatable, was shared with a passion we had previously missed from women who had a platform such as hers. And you know what they say about changing the game, once you start there’s just no stopping.
As Miss Universe, Zozi stayed true to who she is. No matter what question was thrown her way in an interview or during a forum, Zozi always made sure she raised the SA flag, the Black woman flag and embodied Ubuntu every step of the way.
She didn’t stop there - even with all eyes on her all the time - she stayed true to her style and always made a statement. Her final walk’s Xhosa inspired beaded dress, accessorized with a traditional Xhosa doek that cemented what she had been saying all along: “I came, I took up space and I left my mark”. Both short hair and wearing a doek on that Miss Universe stage was as unique and as trailblazing as Zozi herself.
Zozibini Really Cared
Pageants are a bit like politics because by nature the contestants always put their best foot forward before the win but most lose their magic as soon as they bag the crown. But not the landlord of our universe. Not Zozi.
Zozi used every inch of her platform - on social media, on mainstream media and everywhere else - to fight for us. She fought against gender-based violence (GBV) and highlighted the situation in the country. She rallied behind the message that #BlackLivesMatter, without fear or favour. Zozi never sat on the fence on important matters or debates about socio-economic matters, especially those that affected black people. She chose a side and always gracefully defended her stance.
"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." - Zozibini Tunzi
Zozibini’s Personality Always Shined
One of the most notable things about Zozi's reign is the pandemic that changed the world as we knew it right under her feet, weeks after she was crowned. I don’t know if any other person that is not Zozi could have done what Zozi did with her 490 days of reign. More so, I doubt if they would have done the job as excellent and with as much prowess as the Eastern Cape born star did. There was something about Zozi that said she was chosen for a time such as this, something that felt like this particular colour of reign would only suit her. Her heart, her humility, her wit, her compassion, her humor, her laughter, her smile, her eloquence, her being… everything that makes Zozi unique qualified only her for a reign during a pandemic!
Zozibini Has a Voice And Knows How To Use It!
Whether the Tsolo beauty was singing a soothing rendition of Andra Day’s Rise Up or Amazulu by Amanda Black, there is no doubt that this black woman can SANG! Zozi has an amazing - I mean chart-topping - kind of voice that you just can’t help but love. That was a winning ingredient for our fave if you ask me because… who doesn’t love music? Sis already has us as fans (and she should really drop an album now that that universal gig is done.) And even though most of us wouldn’t mind hearing her sing, she didn’t only use her voice to give us heart soothing harmonies, she used it to speak boldly. Her voice demanded that you listen when she spoke and that superpower is one that Zozi used to build us as women raising young queens and kings. Her voice will echo on as we take up space, forever inspired by the longest-reigning Miss Universe who loves herself some aromat!
Zozi Brought People Together
It is a fact that all through from when she held the title of Miss SA, to when she got crowned Miss Universe, as she took us along the journey with her, she brought us all together. Flying high the SA flag and reminding us just how amazing we are and can be. Bringing people together did not stop there, not even after her reign ended. Just this year, on March, she hosted an event that we must admit was one for the books. The event, The Bridgerton Affair, was graced by Lords and Ladies across Africa. "A night to remember " as Zozi stated.