Sidwadweni is a little village with about a 150 people for its population, in the Eastern Cape which has produced a Celebrity!
Mthatha - Hundreds of people descended onto Mthatha Airport in the Eastern Cape on Sunday afternoon to welcome newly crowned Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, as she arrived from Johannesburg to her home province, to celebrate her crown with her family.
Tunzi's flight was scheduled to arrive at exactly 5.10pm and the crowd was already waiting with excitement for her arrival. People from her village, Sidwadweni in Tsolo, could not contain their excitement as they ululated and broke into traditional songs amid the loud blare of Gqom music coming a long convoy of cars entering the airport parking lot.
“Almost everyone from eSidwadweni is here, we are very proud of her achievement. Look around, all the cars from our village are here; they brought the village residents here for free to come and welcome her home,” said Nosandiso Ningiza, who claimed to be Zozi’s cousin. Tunzi will spend the night in Sidwadweni, where she will wake up to a traditional ceremony thanking ancestors for the achievement, together with the local chief, prior to heading to the small town of Dutywa, where she grew up with her teacher mother.
Perseverance have paid off for the beauty queen who first entered Miss South Africa in 2017. Refusing to be discouraged by an early elimination, Tunzi gave the national beauty pageant another go in 2019. Her courage to try again paved the way for victory as Miss Universe 2019. She shared the following heartfelt message with fans from her hometown, the village of Sidwadweni, in the Eastern Cape: “This was big for us, for our province, for our little beautiful village. Yes, I do realise that this became more than just about me. Some of the judges pulled me aside and told me I was absolutely outstanding throughout my journey, I stood there, looked at them and thought ‘then why am I not in the top 12?’ Then again I thought to myself ‘God’s timing is perfect. He is never early, he is never late, he is always on time’.” From the preliminary competition on 6 December 2019, Tunzi seemed to be a one-way track to the final. On the night of the finals, on Sunday 8 December, she advanced to the top 20, becoming the first semi-finalist from the Africa/Asia-Pacific region.
After progressing through to the top 10, then top five, and then being one of the three final contestants, she was crowned Miss Universe 2019.
In a voice note to the media, Zozibini acknowledged the support she has received from South African supporters. “Ah, I’m so ecstatic. I think everyone is still waking up by the way. They are going to wake up to a storm of news. I don’t think I have ever had as much support as I did coming into the Miss South Africa crown and so I think this will be something extra and very special for everyone back at home as Miss Universe 2019!.”