To 10-year-old Zozi After being crowned Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi won over the rest of the world: in December 2019, she was named Miss Universe. ‘ I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my skin and hair, was never considered to be beautiful,’ she says. ‘It ’ s time that stops.’ Zozi now uses her platform to fight for gender equality and against gender-based violence. At 10, she was living in a small town in the Eastern Cape. Little did she know how bright her future would be.
I know you ’re probably sitting directly in front of the TV on the floor, or you have your nose in a book at the very tiny public library in town. You used to get into so much trouble for losing your library cards – and some books. Sorry to disappoint you kid, but nothing has changed: you still tend to lose and misplace things, even as a 26-year-old Miss Universe.
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Yes, you heard me right! You, a shy, skinny 10-year-old with uncontrollable hair will become Miss Universe one day. Remember how you used to get frustrated when Mommy did your hair? It would be ‘nice’ and ‘neat’ for no more than two days before going back to being coarse and unruly again. Mommy would look at you, laugh and say: ‘Suqumba kaloku, MamTolo [Don ’t be sad]. Your hair is special, that’s why it looks like that.’ She was right.
Your hair is very special, and it will become a part of your life story, your legacy! You don’t have a lot of friends now, but don’t worry – you will grow up to be surrounded by a small circle of people who love and support you each and every day. Here’s something that will blow your mind: right now, you barely say two words a day, but when you grow up, you will speak for a living, and you will love it so much.
Then again, this might not shock you – you know deep down inside that you have so much to say. All those books that you read have given you opinions, and make you want to do and be more. Don’t worry – you will be that person. There’s so much more I want to tell you, but there isn’t enough paper and time. I will say this: chin up, kid! Roll your shoulders back and walk tall. You will live a BIG life!