Reigning Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, received a tumultuous welcome on her arrival at the OR Tambo. It was the first time she has been in South Africa since taking the
title on December 8 in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US.
Tunzi says she is delighted to be back: “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
She was delighted to see her family – father Philiswa Nadapu, her mother
Philiswa Tunzi and sisters Yanga, Sibabalwe and Ayakha.
“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 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
Tunzi’s mode of transport from Mthatha to her home in Tsolo was afloat 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.
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.
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. “
At the unveiling, Tunzi thanked the team, pointing to their depiction of
her saying: “They got me. That painting is beautiful and I love that
they put me in traditional garb – a brightly coloured Xhosa bead
necklace and a beaded headscarf. It’s relatable to everyone who lives
here and I can carry this image with me wherever I am in the world.”
At Sunday morning’s unveiling of their _Home of the Queen_ mural, the
three were clearly awed to be in the presence of the woman they call
Said Ntlantsana: “We have been looking forward to meeting Zozi and we
are so excited to be finally doing so. It still doesn’t feel real that
we’re actually here with her.”
Miss Universe had this to say; “I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls
today is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking young girls
and women for a very long time, not because we don’t want to, but
because of what society has labelled women to be.”
“I think we are the most powerful beings [in] the world, and that we
should be given every opportunity. And that is what we should be
teaching young girls, to take up space. Nothing is important as taking
up space in society and submitting yourself.”