While Zozi (full name Zozibini) Tunzi is currently in New York, US, she was happy to jump onto a call to chat about being nominated in the “African Social Star of 2020” category for the upcoming E! People’s Choice Awards.
She is in the running with social media star and model Karl Kugelmann; rapper, actress and poet Sho Madjozi; international Emmy Award-nominee and actress Thuso Mbedu; magician and TikTok star Wian van den Berg; Nigerian YouTube sensation Dimma Umeh; Kenyan comedian and internet star Elsa Majimbo; and Ghana’s African Movie Academy Award-winning actress Lydia Forson.
“It’s an absolute honour. For one, this is the second time ever that we are doing it. That is a huge deal. Secondly, because it’s people’s choice; you get nominated for the people, by the people. I think that’s what makes it even more special. So I’m so proud to be a part of it along with other incredible Africans,” Tunzi said.
Aside from becoming Miss South Africa 2019 and subsequently taking the title of Miss Universe 2019 in December, Tunzi has been using her platform to actively raise awareness around gender-based violence (GBV) and gender equality.
“I feel like it is something we need to be talking about more and more and that’s why, whenever I step onto every platform, it’s what I speak about. Everybody knows that passion that I have for women and gender. It means that we need to close the gap in gender inequality. It’s sad that we have 99.5 years before each gender is equalled.”
Tunzi continued: “I’ve been working a lot with US women. I’ve been invited to so many panels. I’m using my voice to push gender equality.
“I always say the first step towards social justice is awareness and we can all use our voices and platforms. It’s important to learn the risks and everything that comes with every injustice, whether it’s poverty, homophobia or racial intolerance,” she pointed out.
While in a celebratory spirit, Tunzi was asked if she will be attending the upcoming Miss South Africa pageant, which will be held at Cape Town’s The Table Bay Hotel on October 24.
“Yes, I will be attending this year’s Miss South Africa and I’m so excited to do so. When I won Miss South Africa, I thought I would probably be crowning this year but that’s not how it is happening. I’m attending as Miss Universe. It’s surreal and I can’t wait to meet all the girls … ”
Although she will be dressed by a South African designer, she was not at liberty to reveal more. But she was happy to provide some advice to the finalists.
She shared: “My biggest advice is it is so nice to stay in your lane and focus in your lane, and not to look back and forth or behind you to see what other people are doing because it is so easy to get distracted. I always tell people they must be like a horse in a racecourse. You know how they put blinds on their eyes to make sure the only way is forward. They can imagine themselves in that way.
“Secondly, just be your true self. You never know how your story might inspire other people. I know it sounds clichéd when people say that but it is much easier said than done. I’m hoping it is something they can do.
“And my third advice would be to enjoy the journey. It’s the beginning of something, they should always enjoy themselves.”
Before dashing off, she added: “I want to thank everyone so much for being so supportive of my journey, not just in South Africa and Africa but globally. And vote, vote, vote…thank you so much!”
The official voting window started on October 1 and runs until October 23. Fans can vote up to 25 times per day, per category, per method (voting website and Twitter).
On October 15, the votes will count as double, equalling up to a maximum of 50 votes per category, per voting method. For Twitter votes: posts must be public to count. Posts count as a vote if the category hashtag (#AfricanSocialStar) and a corresponding nominee hashtag are used together in the same post. For example: Check it out! I voted for #NomineeName as #AfricanSocialStar at the E! People’s Choice Awards! #PCAs
The nominee hashtags are: #DimmaUmeh, #ElsaMajimbo, #KarlKugelmann, #LydiaForson, #ShoMadjozi, #ThusoMbedu, #Wian and #ZoziTunzi.
The E! People’s Choice Awards will be broadcast in the US on Sunday, November 15, starting with Live From The Red Carpet at 2am on Monday, November 16 and the ceremony at 4pm. For those unable to tune in, the ceremony will be repeated at 9:.30pm.