Johannesburg – On Monday Zozibini Tunzi opened up about her Miss Universe national costume and how South African's can play their part in the final product.
According to a statement, Zozi is "aligning herself with the United Nations solidarity campaign #HeForShe for the advancement of gender equality."
As part of this campaign, and her ongoing work as an activist against gender-based violence, the beauty queen has asked South African men to pledge their support by writing love letters to the women of South Africa, which she will incorporate into her national costume.
"I am asking men to write love letters to the women of South Africa. Those letters will be inscribed on to ribbons of fabric which will, in turn, form part of my national costume. In what will be a first, I will literally take South Africa with me to Miss Universe; I will wear a wave of love from men in the form of love letters celebrating and honouring the women of this country," Zozibini explained in a press statement.
The PR graduate says she wants to shift perceptions around gender-based violence.
"Women are constantly being taught how to defend themselves against attack from men. I would like to shift the perception. I want to say that responsibility should no longer rest on the shoulders of women alone. I want the men of our nation to stand and take a stand against gender based violence [sic']."
Men who wish to add their voices to Zozibini's costume can start by pledging their support on the #HeForShe website. Following this, participants have been asked to share their "love letters" on social media either as a written message or through a video.
Compiled by Nikita Coetzee