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SA’s Zozibini Tunzi crowned Miss Universe

The pageant saw young women from 90 countries and territories flaunt their style and heart at this year's Miss Universe stage.

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi, of South Africa, is crowned onstage at the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant at Tyler Perry Studios on December 08, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi has been crowned Miss Universe 2019.

The pageant saw young women from 89 other countries and territories flaunt their style and heart at this year's Miss Universe stage.

The pageant was hosted at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, USA, with Steve Harvey as the host of the event.

• Zozibini Tunzi on colourism, racism: I’ll take the insults to change the game

The 26-year-old is the third South African to be crowned miss universe; the first being Margaret Gardiner in 1978 and the second being Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017.

Speaking to Eyewitness News last month, the beauty queen said she was going to use the Miss Universe stage to change the narrative associated with pageants.

Tunzi said as the country observed 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, she would use the opportunity to advocate for women empowerment and address gender-based violence globally.

“The Miss Universe platform as well as the Miss South Africa platform are some of the few platforms that actually give women the ability to lead and the sooner we start looking at it as a leadership position, the less it’s something that’s taboo and the more we can start moving forward as women,” she said.

In an earlier interview, she told EWN: “If I have to be the sacrificial lamb for people to call me ugly or whatever it is that they want to call me, it’s fine because then I open a gate for people who are different - like me - who want to be in spaces where they have been told they don’t belong.”

Since she was crowned Miss SA in August, she has had to endure cyberbullying and colourism from people around the world.

“I would get comments every time I post [on Instagram]. I once posted a photo outside my apartment - it was a very nice dark image of Joburg. ‘This picture is so black just like you Miss black South Africa’ [was a comment I received]. Comments like ‘why is this man representing South Africa in the competition’,” the 26-year-old B-Tech student said.

She was long ready to win the Miss Universe title: “... I’ll take the insults for one more year if it means doing something amazing.”

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