Zozibini on fueling social change through social media: 'I hope to unite people to be more understanding of each other'

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Zozibini Tunzi has won the hearts of South Africans and this time it's because of her voice, again.
Zozibini Tunzi has won the hearts of South Africans and this time it's because of her voice, again.
Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
  • Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi has been nominated for a 2020 People's Choice Award in the category African Social Star.
  • Zozibini has been recognised for her incredible social media impact, in her efforts to inspire, educate and bring laughter to her followers.
  • "Social media has played a massive role with my reign this year and we're lucky to be living in this virtual and digital age," says Zozibini.
  • To vote for Zozibini, tweet: I voted for #ZoziTunzi as #AfricanSocialStar at the E! People's Choice Awards! #PCAs


Channel24 bagged an interview with reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, following her nomination at the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards. 

For the second time in the history of the ceremony, the E! People's Choice Awards has once again opened a category dedicated to Africa - African Social Star of 2020 - with eight contenders in the running. 

Speaking to Channel24 Zozibini says that initially, she was in disbelief, saying: "I thought that my manager was lying to me." But after the news finally sunk in, she adds: "It's such an honour and a privilege, especially since it's such a new category." 

Along with Zozibini, in the race to be crowned the African Social Star of 2020, from South Africa is model Karl Kugelmann, rapper Sho Madjozi; Emmy Award-nominated Thuso Mbedu and TikTok star Wian van den Berg. 

Nominated from across the continent are Nigerian YouTube phenomenon Dimma Umeh; Kenyan comedian and internet sensation Elsa Majimbo and African Movie Academy Award-winning actress Lydia Forson from Ghana.

Zozibini has been recognised for her incredible social media impact, in her efforts to inspire, educate and bring laughter to the world - especially during a global pandemic.

"It has been really unusual, especially since such a massive part of our job is connecting with people, not just physically but emotionally and in other ways as well. It has been interesting to see how it would play out.

"And social media has played a massive role with my reign this year and we're lucky to be living in this virtual and digital age where we're still able to do the things that are closest to our hearts, even if we're not able to connect with people physically," she says. 

Throughout her reign, Zozibini has used her platform not just for entertainment, but also social media activism, adding her voice to the Black Lives Matter movement, speaking out against violence against women and raising awareness of LGBTQI+ issues.

Zozibini explains that her hope for the women of the world is a "simple one," she says: "For women to go buy bread or go the post office or go to school, and return home with their life. It's not a lot to ask for - to be happy, to be safe and to be healthy." 

"Social media has changed activism in such an amazing way, and we've seen so many many changes through social media. There are many ways to be an activist, and social media is an incredible platform for people to voice their opinion, make known how they feel about an important issue, and bring about change," she says. 

Throughout her reign, Zozibini used her platform and her Universe United campaign to host women from all spheres to talk about issues that affect women all over the world. 

When asked about her most memorable interview, Zozibini recalls a conversation she had with Filipino model, and transgender advocate Geena Rocero during Pride Month.

"It was so enlightening for me to I continue to learn about the LGBTQI+ community, about trans women and their struggles, and how we can continue to be allies. It was an eye-opening experience."

She hopes that the Universe United campaign will continue to educate and spread a message of tolerance, saying: "We are different people in the world, who stand for different things but through the platform I hope to unite people to be more understanding of each other."

Social media can sometimes be a negative place, and Zozibini encourages people to make their feed a positive experience. Although she has been nominated for bringing about change through her social media platforms, many people on social media inspire her. 

"Bozoma Saint John. She is such a force, such power and incredible black woman who speaks about entering the corporate world and doing things that were never imagined for a black woman from Africa. She is just so confident, and such a bad-ass in every way and I love that about her," she says.

During a time of crisis, we've seen music connect people from all over the world, and social media had played a big part in spreading the joy - as we've seen with the Jerusalema challenge.

"Music is that thing that communicates to people without language; it's universal. It can be from any part of the world; and still touch people in ways that we can't be explained, through sound and rhythm. It speaks to their heart, even if they don't understand the language."

Zozibini goes on to thank everyone who has followed her on her journey from Miss South Africa to Miss Universe and encourages everyone to casts their vote. 

The official voting window is from 1 October to 23 October. Fans can vote up to 25 times per day, per category, per method (voting website and Twitter). On 15 October, 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. 

To vote for Zozibini, tweet: I voted for #ZoziTunzi as #AfricanSocialStar at the E! People's Choice Awards! #PCAs

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24