During a time in our country when women are drowning in tragic realities and uncertain of positive change, the crowning of the beautiful Zozibini Tunzi as Miss South Africa 2019 has stood out as a beacon of hope for everything good, everything that remains possible.
The 25-year-old Public Relations graduate won the title on 9 August 2019 and will now represent South Africa in the Miss Universe 2019 competition.
GLAMOUR Online caught up with Zozibini for an exclusive Q&A where she opened up about overcoming her fears, her decision to enter Miss South Africa and shares details about her skincare routine and style icons.
Take a look at the exclusive Q&A below.
Regarding the negative stigma attached to beauty pageants, what made you decide to enter the modelling industry and compete in MISS SA 2019?
The negative stigma attached to beauty pageants amongst other reasons is exactly why I decided to enter Miss South Africa. Miss South Africa is one of the few platforms in the country that give women an opportunity to be empowered and to empower others and that is a positive trait that people do not realise. I wanted to help re-write this narrative and use this platform to spread positivity and tackle as many South African issues as I possibly can.
What was the first thing you used your R1 million winnings on?
I was a Miss SA finalist for over a month and that meant also not being able to go out to do basic shopping, so the first thing I bought was toiletries.
What does your name mean and do you feel like your journey and successes in life thus far has been testament to its true meaning?
My name is derived from a Xhosa phrase “Sibamba Ngezandla Zozibini” which loosely translates to “accepting with both hands”. It is a symbol of gratitude and I have lived by my name for as long as I can remember. Being grateful for my life and the challenges that come with it has made me very strong and resilient, it has shaped my perception of everything.
What is the one thing you think South Africa would be surprised to know about you?
That I am as blind as a bat and I have to wear glasses.
When your reign is over, what is the one thing you want people to take away from this experience with you? Not what will you do, but when people remember that Zozibini was here, what do you want them to know and think?
When people think of me, I want them to remember that I never settled. I want them to know that I fought for everything I believed in and that they should too.
Who are your style icons? Local and international.
I take style inspiration from a lot of women.
Locally: Kefilwe Mabote, Bonang Matheba and Nomzamo Mbatha
International: Kendal Jenner, Victoria Beckham and Zendaya
Do you feel that MISS SA 2019 was inclusive enough?
Yes, I do. Every woman who stood on that stage stood for something bigger than themselves. I spent over a month with 15 phenomenal women who had different stories and causes. The impact that they make in their daily lives is not only for themselves but all the women in this versatile country.
You were born in the Eastern Cape, and we know that it is one of the most disadvantaged provinces in the country, what role do you see yourself playing in changing rural girls’ lives?
Where I come from it is very difficult to dream because of difficult circumstances people are faced with. I want rural girls to look at me and see proof that it is possible because I am one of them. I come from where they come from, I have seen and know their struggles. The plan moving forward is to focus on education, not only for girls but for every child that comes from a disadvantaged background. The goal is to continue with the plan even after my Miss South Africa reign.
What does your hair care routine consist of?
I treat my hair every night when I can with leave-in conditioner and lock the moisture in with comb out twists and also wash regularly.
What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
I’ve always had a fear of not being good enough for people until I realised that I only have to be enough for myself. Once I came to that realisation, I was able to conquer a lot of things I set myself to conquer.
Do you have a skincare routine/ritual you swear by, what is it?
Morning and nights: cleanse and moisturize.
Twice a week: charcoal mask and exfoliate.
Daily: sunscreen and moisturize
What are three things you keep in your handbag that you can’t leave the house without?
Cell phone, Chapstick and prescription glasses.
How will you inspire the next generation during your reign and in a way ensure that any girl can look at Miss SA and see her own reflection?
Coming into the Miss SA competition I was myself and I never compromised on it. Stepping into the Miss SA role I will continue to do the same and if that inspires one girl to see that they are enough I think I will have done a great job.
Glamour Online also caught up with Nthabiseng Phoshoko, the Commercial Director of LFP who were the main sponsors of Miss SA. This is what she had to say.
How did it feel to be recognised as an empowering sponsor for Miss SA which also fell on women’s day?
It was such an honour for us. As a brand that seeks to empower young women, both within the workplace and through our learnerships, this pageant truly resonates with our brand.
How Will LFP be supporting Zozibini in her reign going forward?
We will definitely work alongside Zozibini throughout her reign to tackle issues around youth unemployment and as one of the major sponsors, our sponsorship ensures that she the resources needed to succeed.