The Miss Universe 2019 final competition took place today, with South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi being crowned the winner. The Philippines won the best national costume category. (Confusion arose during the live telecast where Steve Harvey announced the Philippines as the winner but Malaysia walked in her national costume instead, seemingly as the winner. This brought flashbacks to Harvey's gaffe when he announced Colombia as the Miss Universe 2015 instead of the Philippines. Recent reports show that Malaysia was chosen as the production's choice though the Philippines won the vote.)
This year saw many elaborate costumes. Here are the African-inspired costumes.
1. South Africa - Zozibini Tunzi
South Africa's national costume, called the 'Wave of Love' showcases love letters written on ribbons by men to the women of South Africa as part of Tunzi's and United Nation's campaign against gender-based violence. The costume has more than 2,000 ribbons on 50m of recycled fabric. Each ribbon took about two minutes to weave into the costume. Additionally, the costume has about 40m of spring steel holding it up so the dress weighs 10kg. The costume's crown weighs 1.5kg.
2. Nigeria - Olutosin Araromi
Nigeria, represented by Olutosin Araromi, was the only African country in the top 20, aside from South Africa. The costume represents Nigeria's major tribes – Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Hausa and Efik people. The ball skirt is made of an Igno symbolic fabric called "Isiagu" meaning "lion head". The magnificent headpiece and staff highlight the royalty and beauty of the Efik people, the neck beads trail are from the ancient Benin kingdom and are a symbol of royalty, some of the hand beads and the horsetail represent the Yoruba tribes, while the rest of the hand beads represent the irresistible beauty of the Fulani people. Araromi wanted to showcase the beauty, creativity, strength, funfair, unity and oneness of a peaceful Nigeria.
3. Kenya - Stacy Michuki
Michuki's costume was an ode to the great women of Kenya. It featured a headdress, a cape with a light touch of feathers and intricate beadwork. The costume was designed by Cate Odera and the beadwork was done by Maridadi Couture Statement. The costume's debut was accompanied by a poem by Michuki in which she wrote: "This is for all the First Females in Kenya.
This is for those who wore capes and fought our freedoms. This is for those who took up manes and clawed their way into a male-dominated world. This is for those who picked up spears and leveled the playing/farming/working fields for us. This is for those who forthrightly strived to give us a voice. This is for those who stood their ground for the future generation of girls like me. Today, I can be confident in who I am, what I believe in and the dreams I pursue, because of these formidable FIRST FEMALES. Prof. Wangari Maathai, Lupita Nyong'o, Mekatilili wa Menza, Muthoni Nyanjiru, Grace Monica Aketch Onyango, Dr.Phoebe Asiyo, Chelagat Mutai, Dr. Julia Ojiambo, Joyce Laboso, Anne Waiguru, Charity Ngilu, Rosemary Karuga, Magdalene Odundo, Muthoni Ndonga, Wanuri Kahiu, Lorna Kiplagat, Janeth Kipkosgei, Catherine Ndereba, Nyiva Mwendwa, Rebecca Njeri, Elizabeth TatuOjiambo, Prof. Mabel Imbuga, Tegla Lorupe, Orie Rogo Manduli, Syokimau, Koki Mutungi, Sabala Sir, and Joyce Aluoch, among many more. This is for every little Kenyan girl who dares to dream. WEAR THE MANE, PICK UP YOUR SPEAR AND BE THE FIRST TO DO WHATEVER IT IS YOU FEAR. THIS IS FOR YOU KENYA."
4. Angola - Salett Miguel
Miguel's costume represents women from one of Angola's provinces. The red, white and blue costume signifies strength, joy and courage.
5. Belize - Destinee Arnold
Arnold's costume represents the Garifuna people of Belize. The Garifuna people, also known as Black Caribs, are descendants of black Africans from a shipwrecked slave ship who intermarried with the Arawak Indians of the island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean. The Garifuna fled to the island of Roatan and then the rest of Central America to escape persecution. Today, they live mainly in small towns on the Caribbean coasts from Belize to Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
6. The Dominican Republic - Clauvid Daly
It is written that Cristopher Colombus discovered America. He did not. He went looking for India and stumbled across Hispaniola (Haiti in Taino). He thought he was in India, so he called the people there, and other native peoples in the Americas, "Indians". Spaniards mistreated and killed the natives on the island and forcefully shipped Africans from their home continent to the island as slaves. Hispaniola now holds two sovereign nations: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Due to the complex history of the Dominican Republic, Dominican culture features influences from several different cultures and ethnic groups. Daly's costume features patterns and imagery common across many African cultures.
7. Egypt - Diana Hamed
Hamed's costume is a modern take on the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. It features a red and gold dress with a sleeveless jacket and glitzy crown.
8. Equatorial Guinea - Serafina Nchama
Nchama's costume is traditionally worn by a tribe in Equatorial Guinea.
9. Haiti - Gabriela Clesca Vallejo
Haiti, also on Hispaniola island, shares a similar history to the Dominican Republic. Vallejo's costume pays homage to both the Taino and African cultures in Haiti.
10. Mauritius - Ornella Lafleche
Lafleche's costume represents the colours of the national flag of Mauritius. Red represents the struggle for freedom and independence; blue represents the Indian Ocean, in the middle of which Mauritius is situated; yellow represents the new light of independence and green represents the agriculture of Mauritius and its color throughout the 12 months of the year.
11. Namibia - Nadja Breytenbach
Breytenbach's costume represents the beauty and diversity of Namibia. The headpiece reflects Africa's wildlife while the bodysuit portrays its colourful landscape.
12. Sierra Leone - Marie Esther Bangura
"Sierra Leone" translates to "Lion Mountain", and Bangura's costume symbolizes the goddess of lion mountain. The costume has a gold cape with the country's map on the back.
13. Tanzania - Shubila Stanton
Stanton's costume, which has wooden carvings, celebrates the tiny honey badger. The skirt is covered by husks of a plant eaten by elephants and baboons. The honey badger, elephants and baboons are widely distributed in Africa.