Ladies and gentlemen, your new Miss Universe is Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi!
Sunday 8 December saw the crowning of the 68th Miss Universe at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Zozibini defeated Puerto Rico’s Madison Anderson and Mexico’s Sofía Aragon in the top three.
The 26-year-old takes over from Catriona Gray of the Philippines. This was South Africa’s third consecutive year in the top three of the pageant.
Former Miss SA Tamaryn Green earned her spot in the Miss Universe top three last year. While former Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Peters won the competition in 2017.
The three-hour show was hosted once again by award-winning comedian, Steve Harvey alongside actress and former beauty queen Vanessa Lachey, and saw performances by Fifth Harmony member, Ally Brooke.
After wowing the judges and fans throughout the competition Zozibini managed to swoop the title, taking over from Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
Tunzi earned cheers during her closing speech, a new segment of the competition, in which she talked about wanting to empower young women to feel confident.
“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful,” she said.
“I think that it is time that that stops today,” she said to thunderous applause.
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 9, 2019
— Siyanda beyhive (@BeyhiveSiyanda) December 9, 2019
Tunzi is known for her passion for breaking beauty stereotypes and promoting women empowerment, subjects she spoke proudly about on stage.
The pictures she shared on Instagram showed her sandwiched between her parents just days before her departure to Atlanta, US, where the Miss Universe pageant was held.
“I am because you are. You have given me life, you’ve raised me to be the woman I am, so that I can stand in a faraway land proudly knowing I’m rooted and where I’m from,” she said.
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I am because you are. You’ve given me life, you’ve raised me to be the woman I am so that I can stand in a far away land proudly knowing where I’m rooted and where I come from. You’ve sacrificed so much and fought battles I don’t even know about, everything so that we could have all the opportunities the Universe has to offer. I am forever grateful and hope to make you proud, every single day of my life! Ndiyabulela, kwaye ndinithanda ngentliziyo yam yonke.❤️