Zozi Comes Home

“Noth­ing is as im­por­tant as tak­ing up space and ce­ment­ing your­self,” so says Miss Uni­verse 2019, Zoz­ib­ini “Zozi” Tunzi.

Indwe - - Contents -

/ One can never take the op­por­tu­nity of be­ing a par­ent for granted. It may take more than a vil­lage to raise a child nowa­days. Still, you can guess the joy Miss Uni­verse 2019 Zoz­ib­ini Tunzi’s par­ents, Lungisa Tunzi and Philiswa Nadapu, must have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing when their sec­ond­born daugh­ter made her grand en­trance into this world. One is al­most con­vinced that it must have hap­pened ex­actly that way be­cause of the ubiq­ui­tous vibe and flare that she pos­sesses.

She was named as if des­tined for grace and suc­cess all along. The Xhosa name Zoz­ib­ini means grab­bing an op­por­tu­nity with both hands, or can be trans­lated as a ges­ture many na­tive Xhosa speak­ing peo­ple use as an ex­pres­sion of grat­i­tude (sibamba nga­zo­zoz­ib­ini­izandla).

Fondly known as Zozi, this beauty queen was born in a vil­lage of Tsolo 40 km out­side

Um­tata in the Eastern Cape. She rose to star­dom when she rocked her nat­u­ral hair on the Miss South Africa 2019 stage, and by ad­vo­cat­ing for women to push the bound­aries and take up lead­er­ship po­si­tions. She walked away with the Miss South Africa crown, and went on to earn the Miss Uni­verse ti­tle too. Work­ing hard and be­liev­ing in her dreams have al­ways been val­ues that her par­ents in­stilled in her. Still, as pre­pared as she was for the Miss Uni­verse 2019 com­pe­ti­tion, which took place in De­cem­ber last year, she had no idea that she was faced with yet an­other vic­tory.

Var­i­ous spon­sors, part­ners and fans of the Miss South Africa pageant de­scended on OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port on 8th Fe­bru­ary. They had gath­ered to wel­come the beauty queen Zozi as she touched down on home soil for the first time since tak­ing over the reins of Miss Uni­verse 2019. Dur­ing the press brief­ing held on ar­rival, Zozi fondly con­fessed that as well as her wild craving for Aro­mat, she also re­ally missed eat­ing Nando’s! She stated that the first dish she would eat for sure when she got home though would be um­ngqusho (samp).

Although it seemed that it was the South African flavours she yearned for while in New York, the one other thing she was look­ing for­ward to was be­ing re­u­nited with her fam­ily. “Ev­ery­one is wait­ing for me at home. My mom and dad are pre­par­ing for my ar­rival – ev­ery­one who knows me knows that I love my home. In fact, my fa­ther is the unof­fi­cial Mr Uni­verse – he is my big­gest sup­porter and prob­a­bly out and about at this very mo­ment ar­rang­ing for my wel­come and han­dling things.”

After her over­whelm­ing wel­come in Jo­han­nes­burg, her first stop was home, where her com­mu­nity waited pa­tiently to

give her a tra­di­tional-style wel­come and a feast fit for a queen.

Speak­ing of sup­port, the team at SA Ex­press couldn’t be more de­lighted to be part of the #Zoz­iComesHome ju­bi­la­tion – as it is in days like this one that the value of its route net­work is re­alised for be­ing vi­tal for con­nect­ing cus­tomers with smaller re­gions. The SA Ex­press crew who had the hon­our of fly­ing Zozi home was led by Capt. Bryan Ro­se­veare. Dur­ing his in­tro­duc­tion, he de­scribed Zozi as a star who not only put South Africa in the spot­light, but whose coura­geous work has made her a role model who in­spires change. He added that the occasion was a very proud day at SA Ex­press, and it was a great hon­our to fly Miss Uni­verse 2019 home.

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing him was Pi­eter van Zyl, Chris­tian Fer­reira and cabin crew mem­bers Lee-Anne Price and Gwynne Roberts. They were gen­uinely hum­bled by be­ing able to re­con­nect some­one ex­tra­or­di­nary with her fam­ily and com­mu­nity. Cap­tain Iain Find­lay, and first of­fi­cer Clive Haynes had the plea­sure of fly­ing Zozi on her re­turn jour­ney to Jo­han­nes­burg, and were as­sisted in the cabin by Nonhlanhla Mat­ladi and Non­du­miso Nkala.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with SA Ex­press, we had the plea­sure of catch­ing up with Zozi.

SA Ex­press: How does it feel to be back home?

Zozi: It’s been ev­ery­thing I dreamt it would be and maybe more. The love you feel when you see all the con­grat­u­la­tory mes­sages on­line is fan­tas­tic, but be­ing here is a to­tally dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence – you feel the en­ergy, and the at­mos­phere is ex­cit­ing.

SA Ex­press: Was pageantry your child­hood dream, or did you see it as a ve­hi­cle which could give you a plat­form and the tools to up­lift young women?

Zozi: Grow­ing up, I stood for a lot of things, and even though some­times I didn’t know what it was at the time, it also wasn’t by chance that I found this path and luck­ily found the Miss South Africa com­pe­ti­tion, which then el­e­vated me to the Miss Uni­verse plat­form.

SA Ex­press: How has your life changed since rep­re­sent­ing South Africa and se­cur­ing your place in the Miss Uni­verse com­pe­ti­tion?

Zozi: I would say it was an in­stant 180 de­grees. Im­me­di­ately after I won, I re­ceived an out­pour­ing of mes­sages and tremen­dous sup­port on­line, espe­cially on plat­forms like In­sta­gram and Twit­ter.

SA Ex­press: Liv­ing in a ru­ral part of the Eastern Cape, did you get to travel much when you were grow­ing up?

Zozi: I only started trav­el­ling five months ago – grow­ing up in the out­skirts of the coun­try, “trav­el­ling” was of­ten clas­si­fied as com­mut­ing to school and go­ing home to Tsolo on week­ends, and later to East Lon­don, or go­ing to var­sity in Cape Town. I had my first trip out­side the coun­try to New York for the Miss Uni­verse com­pe­ti­tion. I would love to ex­plore African coun­tries, and Ghana is on the top of my bucket list.

SA Ex­press: What are some of the things you are hop­ing to achieve by the end of your reign?

Zozi: Ev­ery­thing that I ad­vo­cate for – I hope peo­ple out there are lis­ten­ing, and they can reach out and help so that by the end of my ten­ure we can see tan­gi­ble so­lu­tions to some of the is­sues af­fect­ing women to­day. Con­grat­u­la­tions again, Zoz­ib­ini Tunzi, and best wishes for the re­main­der of your ten­ure as Miss Uni­verse.

Text: Pam Ko­mani Im­ages © Chris­ti­aan Mostert (in­di­rect­media.co.za) & Kopano Tsen­giwe (K-Ros Con­sult­ing)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.