Zozibini Tunzi – on her homecoming tour after being crowned Miss Universe at the prestigious international pageant in Atlanta, US last December – travelled in colourful style on her arrival home in the Eastern Cape with thousands coming out to welcome her home.
As the 68th Miss Universe winner, Tunzi is currently on a week-long festivity that includes visits to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mthatha and the two villages she grew up in – Tsolo and Dutywa in the Eastern Cape. She was welcomed at OR Tambo at the weekend by dignitaries and members of the public before flying to the Eastern Cape. On Thursday morning, February 13, Tunzi will ride in an open-topped bus through the streets of Johannesburg (route to be announced), and later that afternoon she will fly to Cape Town where she will be the personal guest of President Cyril Ramaphosa as he gives his State of the Nation Address in Parliament. The following day (Friday, February 14), it will be the turn of Cape Town residents to see Tunzi as she makes her way through the city in a street parade (route to be announced).
She was delighted to see her family – father Philiswa Nadapu, her mother Philiswa Tunzi and sisters Yanga, Sibabalwe and Ayakha.
“I am so thrilled to be home. I can feel the energy and the passion and it has been truly special. This win hasn’t just been about me and I share it with all South Africans.”
— JoziStyle (@JoziStyle) February 8, 2020
“The support of my family has been crucial to my success,” she said. “My mother has taught me the importance of remaining kind and humble and always being helpful to those around me. My father has taught me the importance of an education, hard work and discipline. Most important they have equally moulded me to be who I am today,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to eating her mother’s umngqusho.
Tunzi’s mode of transport from Mthatha to her home in Tsolo was a float swathed in ribbons in the colours of the South African flag, and fitted out with a throne that is a replica of her Miss Universe crown.
Capetonians will also have a chance to see Tunzi and the float on Friday morning during a street parade in the Mother City.
She said: “It is the most wonderful form of transport ever. And I should know – I’ve ridden on those New York horse-drawn carriages that take you around Central Park!”
Tunzi added that the float felt familiar and she was “at home” on it, which is not surprising as it was modelled on her national outfit – The Wave of Love – which she wore at the Miss Universe Pageant.
That outfit, a wave that swirled around her body, was made up of pieces of ribbon in the colours of the South African flag. Each ribbon was printed with letters of support from South Africans eager to take up the cudgels and help Tunzi fight gender-based violence in this country.
The brains behind the expertly manufactured the float is Henk Henderson from Henderson Worx, in Pretoria. Normally limited to manufacturing Christmas décor and customised props for shops, Henderson said he was thrilled to do something for a woman he so admires.
“Zozi is a woman we need in South Africa right now. Her philosophy allows every girl and woman to feel beautiful in her own unique way. I’m a big fan!” he said.
The float was made in Pretoria and then covered so that it was not visible to the public while being driven to Mthatha.
Henderson said: “It’s quite spacious on the float with steps at the back and room for several people. It took us almost two weeks to make, with four teams working on the unit – which is, in fact, a car trailer. We used chrome glitter for the crown which was shaped and cut so that it is an exact replica of the original.”
The Miss Universe homecoming sponsors are The Department of Arts & Culture, The Ministry of Communications, South African Tourism, Brand South Africa, Mercedes Benz and Sun International. The OR Tambo airport welcome sponsors include Gautrain, South African Airways and ACSA/OR Tambo. SA Express partnered with the Miss South Africa Organisation on the Mthatha flights.