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No bad hair day as Zozibini Tunzi urges women to 'love your hair however it comes'

Former Miss Universe talks about 'turbulent relationship' with her crown

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Zozibini Tunzi talks about her hair journey and being the beacon of hope to young black girls.
Zozibini Tunzi talks about her hair journey and being the beacon of hope to young black girls.
Image: Supplied.


Since her memorable crowing moment in 2019 as Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi continues to be one of the liners of black hair consciousness and pride. 

The former Miss SA 2019 and the longest reigning Miss Universe titleholder of 525 days (one year, five months and eight days), believes true beauty not only lies from within but from the lessons of self-love implanted and engraved in young minds. 

Speaking to Sowetan at the Dark & Lovely serum launch at Inimitable Wedding Venue in Muldersdrift last week, Tunzi highlighted that championing blackness has been a pivotal part of her story and her journey as a black woman and a role model. 

“Growing up, I didn’t like my hair much… I’d describe it as a ‘turbulent relationship’ with my course hair. I would always struggle to look good and get ready. But as I grew older… I would ask myself, ‘What is good hair?… according to who’s standard?’ 

“I soon would ask the question, ‘What defines good hair?’… that’s when I started loving my stiff course hair and every part of it.”

Image: Supplied.

In her teens, the multi-talented pageant queen grew a loving bond with her “crown”, she soon started experimenting with different hairstyles that she realised accentuated and complimented her facial features. 

“As you grow up, you start loving how natural hair looks on you. You get to a place where no matter what hairstyle you do, it becomes an extension of who you are… something women are lucky to possess,” said the 30-year-old. 

“I realised as a young girl in grade 1 that even though I’d get my hair relaxed, it would come back fighting for its life two days later. Through the years, I realised that this beauty requires cultivation and embracing whatever form it comes in. 

“It’s an up-and-down type of relationship, especially for many women; that’s why I’m here to show everyone that you can love your hair however it comes.” 

Five years ago the philanthropist took a bold leap at SunBets Arena in Pretoria when she told young girls and women to “take up space” in every sphere of their lives– this is the night her life changed forever.

Image: Supplied.

“At the time of being crowned Miss SA, I knew what great representation that would’ve been for black women hence I chose to compete in my Afro… I wanted to show them what having such hair looked like on a national or international platform. Having an Afro was speaking to autonomy and the fact that women could look and feel however they wanted to. 

“If they wanted to feel bold and confident in a weave, Afro, or braids… my message was for them to embrace what makes them feel good, even if it means being in a five-minute haircut that I was crowned in.” 

Touching on the legacy she’d like to leave behind, Tunzi expressed that she’d like to be remembered as one who opened dialogues that resulted in societal change. 

“I don’t want to be just a number or a face when I leave this earth. I want to make an impact as an African change-maker and storyteller. I believe a huge part of my journey is to tell our story most authentically and having been introduced into the world as such, I hope I fulfill that exact thing.” 

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