Zozibini Tunzi Uses Platform To Fight Racism

Johannesburg - When Zozibini Tunzi marched in the Black Lives Matter protests in New York City, the latest Miss Universe kept thinking how young people in her native South Africa died fighting for the same cause 44 years ago.

"South African students were marching against systemic racism," said the 26-year-old, recalling the 1976 Soweto Uprising when tens of thousands of students protested against apartheid laws that segregated and controlled the black majority.

"So many years later, that's still happening, not only in South Africa, but across the world," she said in an interview from New York, where she is spending her year as Miss Universe.

As one of only a handful of black women to have won the title, Ms Tunzi was intending to use her influence to challenge racism, inequality and perceptions of beauty even before the Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the United States.

More than a quarter of a century after the end of apartheid - a system of segregation and white minority rule - South Africa is considered one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank.

Ms Tunzi grew up with four sisters in rural South Africa and started entering church beauty pageants when she was six years old because her mother thought it would help her make friends. She said she was never a huge fan of the dresses and make-up, but she did like being asked for her opinions on the world.

"Women don't get too many platforms to share their opinions and I thought: this is my opportunity to speak up, to say important things," Ms Tunzi said.

The coronavirus pandemic has limited what she can achieve, and she said that at times she had felt like her hands were tied.

But she is using her own social media accounts - she has 2.7 million Instagram followers - and those of Miss Universe to speak out.

It was a continuation of her ambitions when she first entered Miss South Africa in 2017 in hopes of gaining a platform for her views and because she was tired of not seeing women who looked like her represented in fashion magazines.

She was a semi-finalist that year, and took home the crown last year.
"I remember growing up opening magazines and not recognising myself and feeling like I'm not represented so I was like, I'm going to kill two birds with one stone," she said.

Ms Tunzi has won support for doing it wearing her natural hair and not giving in to pressure to wear a wig or weave.

"People have been talking about it ever since and I'm happy that it's happening," she said. "But I do wish we can finally get to a place where, if a black woman arrives with natural hair, people don't ask why. Because it looks like this, it grows out of my head, that's why!"

Hair might seem a relatively trivial issue, but Ms Tunzi recalled how in 2016, 13-year-old Zulaikha Patel led protests against a demand by her school that black students cut their natural afro hairstyles.

Her and her classmates' protests led to a change in school policy.

"They were not just marching for hair. They were marching to dismantle the system they were put against," she said. Reuters
Borehole Experts Zimbabwe Are Experts In The Design, Installation, Ongoing Maintenance and Emergency Repair of Borehole Pumps In and Around Zimbabwe.
ProWater Solutions - Borehole Drilling and Solar Systems in Zimbabwe Is An Online Media Resource Specialized In Delivering Borehole News In Zimbabwe.
Gravity Offers Zimbabwe's Widest Range Of Quality Building and Construction Products To Meet All Of Your Building and Construction Needs in Zimbabwe
Freshville Express Are Suppliers Of A Variety Of Fresh Quality Produce with A Comprehensive Product Range and Consistent Service at Competitive Prices.
Solana Windscreens Are Specialist In Autoglass, Windscreens, Rear Glasses, Door Glasses, Vents, Laminates, Crack Treatment, Stone Chip Repairs.
Bradford Pharmacy Is A Leader In The Pharmaceutical Industry In Zimbabwe with A Vast Experience in Health and Beauty Products.
Synergy Brands Is One Of Zimbabwe's Fastest-Growing Energy and Chemicals Solutions Companies. Our Goal Is To Provide Affordable Solutions.
Mutare Boreholes - Borehole Drilling in Mutare Specialises in Borehole Siting, Drilling, Casing and Installation of Solar Pumps in Manicaland Province
Blue Water Systems Is A Boreholes Drilling Company Based In Harare, Zimbabwe. Excellence and Safety Is At Our Core When Borehole Drilling in Zimbabwe.
Think Water Zimbabwe Is Your One-Stop Shop For All Borehole Drilling, Irrigation, Solar Powered Pumping and Water Management Needs in Zimbabwe.
DrillCorp Zimbabwe Offers Borehole Drilling Services and Has Built Reputation As Leaders In Borehole Drilling Services Across All Sectors In Zimbabwe.
Builders Express (Building Materials in Zimbabwe) Provides Top Quality Building Materials Supplies At Competitive Prices and Great Customer Service.
Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !