Reigning Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi, received a tumultuous welcome on her arrival at OR Tambo yesterday morning. It is the first time she has been in South Africa since taking the title on December 8 in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US.
As the 68th Miss Universe winner, Tunzi will now embark on a week-long homecoming tour that includes visits to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mthatha and the two villages she grew up in – Tsolo and Dutywa in the Eastern Cape.
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 Africans.”
Her whistle-stop visit includes street parades in Mthatha, Tsolo, Cape Town and Johannesburg and being a guest of President Cyril Ramaphosa at his State of the Nation Address in Parliament next week.
Tunzi’s arrival at OR Tambo included a performance by the Soweto Gospel Choir and welcomes from the Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation, Arts and Culture Nocawe Mafu as well as ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina.
The next leg of her tour is, according to Zozi, the most special part of her trip as she returns today to the place of her birth, Tsolo, the little Eastern Cape town close to Mthatha to meet “my home people who are also my most ardent fans”.
“I cannot wait to see my parents and what they have planned for me. Growing up in Tsolo I was the little girl who didn’t always feel that I had a place. I didn’t see role models or people who looked like me. My message for every village child – for every child – is to believe in the power of your dreams and believe in yourself. You can be way more than I am.”
On Sunday (February 9), Tunzi will unveil a mural that has been painted in her honour, before attending a lunch at which she will be entertained with traditional dancing. She said: “While I have been in New York, I have longed for two things: sunshine and the voices of African people raised in song. I cannot wait to be a part of the celebration – Eastern Cape style – that is being planned.”
On Monday, February 10, Tunzi, accompanied by her mother Philiswa Nadapu, will visit her primary school, Canaan Academy, in Dutywa, where many of her former Grade 1 and 2 classmates will be on hand to welcome her.
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).
Find out more on the Miss SA Website, HERE…
*Photo credits Yolanda van der Stoep