Zozibini Tunzi is a model of persistence

At a time when the country's headlines are mostly dominated by gory news of women who die through femicide almost daily, Zozibini Tunzi brought joy to our hearts, the writer says.
At a time when the country's headlines are mostly dominated by gory news of women who die through femicide almost daily, Zozibini Tunzi brought joy to our hearts, the writer says.
Image: Paras Griffin \ Getty Images \ AFP

We congratulate the newly crowned Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, sithi sibamba ngazo Zozibini (we are grateful!)

Tunzi's story is one of resilience and perseverance that should be celebrated by all South Africans.

She beat 90 other hopefuls to bag the coveted title yesterday morning, just three months after winning Miss South Africa 2019.

This year was her second shot at Miss SA after she only made it to the finals in 2016. She never gave up after losing but came back with more confidence and made it, becoming the first black woman to win the local title while proudly wearing her natural hair.

Today, she is one of the most famous faces in the world. Girls and young women all over the world look up to her knowing that one does not need a weave to be accepted as beautiful on an international stage.

They know that all they need is intelligence and confidence to impress the judges and woo the audience, like Tunzi did when she answered the questions brilliantly.

"I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It's something that has been lacking in young girls for a very long time, not because we don't want to [step up], but because of how society has labelled women to be," she said just before she was crowned, and the crowd went crazy.

Tunzi's story is inspirational, not only for young people but for adults as well.

Tunzi did not only persist in her pursuit of her dream of becoming a beauty queen, but went back to complete her public relations national diploma after dropping out due to financial constrains in 2016.

She is currently studying towards her BTech in PR, proving once again that hard work and perseverance pay off.

Who would have thought that a little girl who grew up in the small village of Sidwadweni in Tsolo, Eastern Cape, fetching water from the stream, would one day become Miss Universe?

Tunzi did it. She has shown girls growing up in rural areas from all over the world that it is OK to dream big, as it does not matter where you come from.

At a time when the country's headlines are mostly dominated by gory news of women who die through femicide almost daily, Tunzi brought joy to our hearts.

We are proud of you!

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