Contributed by Nkafu Gabriel
For the fifth time in the history of one of the world’s biggest pageant, a Black woman is Miss Universe. South African Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday night in Atlanta, Georgia after successfully going through rounds of swimsuit, evening gown struts and questions on social issues.
26-year-old Tunzi was given one final chance to explain why she was the right choice. She said “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. I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.”
Tunzi was also asked about what she believes young girls today should be taught most, answering that she believed it was leadership due to the way girls have been taught by society that they should avoid positions of leadership.
“I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time – not because we don’t want to, but because of what society has labeled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings on the world, and that we should be given every opportunity and that is what we should be teaching these young girls – to take up space. Nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself.” Tunzi said.
The Miss South Africa won the pageant ahead of two runners-up for the crown Miss Mexico, Sofía Aragón and Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson.
Last year’s winner, Catriona Gray from the Philippines spoke during Sunday’s pageant, saying the past year has been “unforgettable, life-changing and purposeful.”
“We’re getting this amazing platform to voice the things we’re passionate about, the things we care about. I always had a voice, but Miss Universe allowed me to amplify it.” she said in a video.