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South Africa's New Miss SA Has Renewed Conversation Around the Politics of Black Hair

The beauty pageant winner is the first to be crowned while rocking her natural hair in the contest's 60-year history.

The Miss SA contest is perhaps one of the biggest and most highly anticipated annual beauty pageants in South Africa. In its six-decade run, the pageant has evolved considerably. From Jacqui Mofokeng, the first Black woman ever to clinch the coveted title back in 1993 to Sibabalwe Gcilitshana, the first openly queer contestant in the 2019 edition of the contest, the pageant has certainly made strides.

This year's winner, Zozibini Tunzi, becomes the first Black woman to be crowned while rocking her natural hair. While this may not seem like such a big deal, the debates that have been sparked on South African social media show the need to continue the conversation around the politics of Black hair, especially in a country such as South Africa.

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Sibabalwe Gcilitshana is the First Openly Queer Woman to Enter the Miss South Africa Pageant

The young officer of parliament is one of 16 finalists in South Africa's biggest annual beauty pageant.

The Miss South Africa pageant is the country's biggest annual beauty pageant. Thousands of young South African women from various backgrounds submit their applications to be considered for an eventual spot on the shortlist of 16 finalists. These finalists then go head-to-head for the crown and 1 million Rand (approximately USD 72 000) as well as entry into both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants.

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