Laduma and Zozi a hit at New York Fashion Week

Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi on the New York Fashion Week runway with MaXhosa designer Laduma Ngxokolo
Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi on the New York Fashion Week runway with MaXhosa designer Laduma Ngxokolo

Port Elizabeth designer Laduma Ngxokolo of MaXhosa showed a collection titled “We Are Kings and Queens” for his New York Fashion Week debut, so it was fitting that two SA beauty queens were among the runway models in his distinctive Xhosa-inspired designs.

New Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi looked regal in a black-and-white gown with beaded detailing while Former Miss SA and Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters donned a more casual MaXhosa ensemble in a riot of prints and colours.

Nel-Peters said on social media that she was honoured to have been part of the designer’s “beautiful” show.

A murmur of approval from those watching the Made In Africa Show turned into rousing applause as Tunzi strutted her stuff in the Xhosa designs that signify her heritage.

Tunzi and Ngxokolo hail from adjacent villages in the Eastern Cape, and share a common Xhosa heritage. While she was in the US, Tunzi was interviewed by the country’s biggest African-American Women’s magazine, Essence, which focused on her fresh, natural look.

Tunzi, whose decision to wear her hair natural has attracted support worldwide, said she had the most wonderful adventure in New York.

“The response in the US was overwhelming.

“I’ve loved modelling designs from my homeboy Laduma’s collection, and from Eliana Morargy’s ‘Basking in the Osun River’ collection.”

While in New York, Tunzi spent time with a famous export from SA – Daily Show host Trevor Noah.

“Trevor is completely charming,” Tunzi said.

“He and I chatted happily away in Xhosa together.”

She also met with international modelling agency IMG, part of the mother company which owns Miss Universe.

“It was a huge adventure.

“Every day, I am grateful for these wonderful opportunities that I have been given,” Tunzi said.

The reception she had received was exceptional, Miss South Africa CEO Stephanie Weil said.

“It was a very proud moment for Zozi, for the Miss South Africa Organisation and for all South Africans to see her walk down that New York Fashion Week runway.

“It was the fulfillment of a dream for her, and also the showcasing of the best of southern Africa, letting the fashion world know that we are players who need to be taken seriously on the international stage.”

Weil said they were not surprised by the attention Tunzi had attracted.

“She has grace and poise, and is completely real.

“Her choice to embrace her naturalness tells women they do not need adornment to be beautiful; that they are beautiful as they are,” Weil said.