Changing notions and redefining beauty in Miss South Africa

31 Oct 2020 | Angelique Reyes

The organization of Miss South Africa has always looked forward to giving divas who are talented, strong, and confident a chance and a platform to express their views and opinions on international beauty pageants. These women have not only performed exceptionally well at the pageants but also marked their standing at the beauty pageant world as an inspiring role model who wishes to make a positive change in society.

Jacqui Mofokeng was the first Black crowned Miss South Africa in 1993, 40 years after the Miss South Africa pageant was formed. Jacqui’s win is still considered as one of the memorable ones as the country was suffering from the effects of apartheid rule and her win had a huge political impact and was an indication that blacks are capable of great things. Since then just nine Black women have won the crown, including reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.



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Over the past few years, the organization has tried to redefine the already set beauty standards and have been inclusive of more women who are a true representation of women in South Africa. The major shift in the Miss South Africa organization was seen when Zozibini Tunzi was not only applauded for her strong performance at Miss Universe 2019 but was also crowned as the winner at the end of the event finale.

Zozi’s representation of a strong, confident, and determined black woman shifted a lot of things not only in the Miss South Africa organization but across the world. Her beauty was raw, beautiful, empowering, and an inspiration for all the black women across the globe. As she accepted the Miss Universe crown, Tunzi made it clear that the beauty standards around the world need to be made more inclusive. “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me; with my kind of skin, and kind of hair isn’t considered beautiful. I want children to look at me, and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine,” she said.

Another such beauty is Miss South Africa 2019 Sasha-Lee Olivier was the first plus-sized woman to be crowned Miss South Africa 2019. Even though, Sasha faced a lot of backlash throughout her reign but not even once did it bother the queen. She was always very confident and carried herself with determination and firm. Her strong representation of being a queen who is plus size showcased how powerful and proud she was to be representing herself on the international stage. “I know who I am. I am comfortable in my skin. It’s not even about weight. It’s about every girl that hasn’t felt comfortable or like she does not fit in. You don’t have to fit in. Just be yourself. That’s all and that’s enough,” she stated.

The organization of Miss South Africa hosted the coronation ceremony for Miss South Africa 2020 on 25th October 2020 at The Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town where Shudufhadzo Musida was crowned as Miss South Africa 2020. She succeeds Miss South Africa 2019 Sasha-Lee Olivier for the title.



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With Shudufhadzo Musida’s successful win at Miss South Africa 2020, social media was filled with so much love and support for a queen who takes pride and finds beauty in being bald. She explained later that she decided to cut her hair as it helped her to feel free from seeking validation from the people and society in general. “I was walking back from the gym and realized that I always seek validation through my hair and how I look. I saw a salon and went in to cut the very thing that felt like it stifled me. It was for freedom more than anything else. It was about finding myself and not looking outside for it,” she said.

Musida thanked Zozibini for giving her strength and confidence to participate in a beauty pageant especially when she comes from Limpopo and represents an entire culture of women who have never seen a woman like them wear the crown. In her acceptance speech at the weekend, she said: "I stand here ... with immense pride and joy to be representing such a beautiful nation — one of the first Venda women, but certainly not the last, to become Miss South Africa.”

Miss South Africa organization has truly set an example for all the beauty pageants across the world on how one should not define beauty according to the already set notions but also be open change and inclusive of every woman.