Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi shuts out cyberbullying ahead of Miss Universe pageant

Tunzi, who is short natural hair has largely earned her praise, says she entered the competition to challenge beauty stereotypes.

FILE: Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi. Picture: @zozitunzi/instagram.com

JOHANNESBURG – The Miss Universe pageant is fast approaching and while Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi is looking forward to taking on the global stage, she said that her short reign had not been an easy one.

The 25-year-old, who hails from Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, was crowned Miss South Africa on Women’s Day in August.

But despite the glitz and the prestige that came with the title, it hadn’t been a smooth ride.

"She’s so underwhelming, we could’ve done better", "why is a man representing South Africa?"

These are some of the comments and cyberbullying that Tunzi had to endure just after being crowned Miss SA.

“It was crazy at first. Colourism and racism is a real thing and coming into the competition I knew I would shake the table. I knew I would be the first non-conventional Miss South Africa to have won because no one has ever won with their hair or looking like I do.”

But Tunzi, who has short, natural hair has largely earned her praise, saying she entered the competition to challenge beauty stereotypes.

“So people are so uncomfortable with change, once it became too real for them they started acting out but then it started changing slowly, people are like, 'hey maybe I can do it too. Maybe I can wake up and just rock my hair and be okay and feel beautiful and feel accepted.'”

In just over a month, Tunzi will be gracing the global stage, hoping to take this message with her.

“I am so excited for it, I feel like it’s our time. Whether I win, I feel like me setting step on there, looking the way I look being the way that I am, with the message that I have, means a lot to us. Just by that, I would’ve won already.”

Tunzi is hoping to be the third South African to bring the title home.