With past social media posts coming back to haunt South African beauty-queen hopefuls, Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi took the bold step of staying ahead of the curve and admitting to her own online transgressions.
Miss South Africa hopefuls suffered a backlash after their offensive tweets were unearthed by social media sleuths last week.
A social media storm erupted when Joburg-based model Bianca Schoombee’s old Twitter posts were discovered, resulting in her withdrawing from the competition.
A few days later another Miss South Africa hopeful, Oneida Cooper’s, questionable posts also resurfaced on Twitter.
Tunzi, who is currently based in the US, said the ensuing social media hullabaloo prompted her to go back to her own Facebook page to check if she had previously posted or shared offensive content.
Taking to Instagram this week, she posted a six-minute video clip apologising for her own “insensitive” social media posts.
She said: “I have had a lot in my mind, most of it coming from a conversation that has been happening around the country with regards to a Miss South Africa entrant, whose tweets were recently dug up and brought to light.
“Through those conversations I noticed a particular pattern, where there were people who made me an example.
“People who said ‘look at uZozi, she has no skeletons in her closet, she should be the standard that all these women should look up to’. When I saw that, it hit me… I was taken aback… When I read those things (comments) I said, ‘surely I’m human, there must be some mistakes that I’ve made?’.”
Tunzi added: “I can’t really be as perfect as I’m made out to be. And that scared me, to think that is the standard that people hold me up to. So because of that conversation, I took it upon myself to actually go to my Facebook, back to when I first created the account in 2012 to see what I posted during that time.
“I saw a lot of things that I’m proud of, a lot of things I had said about myself, about others, things that ring true to who I am; and then I saw other posts that I’m not so proud of.
“I saw posts that I shared on Facebook that were very insensitive, posts that should have never shared or posted. I was so disappointed with myself and I’m filled with shame.
“So, I want to to take the time to apologise for those posts that I shared, to apologise to anyone that is or was affected by those posts. Just to say that those posts are in direct contrast to who I am and everything that I stand for.
“For the past 9 months as a public figure, I have made my voice very clear about the things that I stand for, and the things that are important, in telling women to take up space, to empower themselves and to use their voices, not only for the betterment of themselves but for the betterment of others.
“These words still ring true today, to who I am, and because of that I felt it only right to make this video and face this head-on with you guys. I realise that we live in a society that is so desensitised when it comes to social issues.
“From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry,” she said.
The beauty queen went on to encourage social media users to be mindful of the content they share and to take responsibility for the things they publish.
“We should be careful of the things that we share even if we think it’s an offhand joke because some things aren’t just funny and shouldn’t be said. I’m really hoping that we will be mindful of the things we say and share and the ripple effect they might have on the world and others.
“Once again, I want to apologise from the bottom of my heart… I’m so sorry that I have disappointed you,” Tunzi said.
“I hope that you can continue to look at me as somebody that you can still take something from, somebody that you can still learn from.”
The beauty queen went on to encourage social media users to be mindful of the content that they share and to take responsibility for the things they publish on social media and the consequences of their actions.
“We should be careful of the things that we share even if we think it’s an offhand joke because some things aren’t just funny and shouldn’t be said. I’m really hoping that we will be mindful of the things we say and share and the ripple effects that mind have on the world and others.
“Once again, I want to apologise from the bottom of my heart and to everyone who have put in a certain standard, I’m so sorry that I have disappointed you. I hope that you can continue to look at me as somebody that you can still take something from, somebody that you can still learn from. I really am sorry., says Tunzi.