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Zim fails to send model to Miss World

Itai Mushekwe

ZIMBABWE failed to send a participant to the Miss World beauty pageant held in China’s city of Sanya last Saturday due to poor planning following the recent transformation of the Miss Zimbabwe

contest into a tourism catwalk.

Pitiable planning in conducting the Miss Zimbabwe pageant now known as Miss Zimbabwe Tourism by the Miss Zimbabwe Trust saw it running out of time thus being unable to send this year’s winner to the global event graced by over 100 beauties from across the world. Miss World attracted more than one billion television viewers.

The crown went to Miss Iceland, Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir who is a part time police officer and law student, while the first and second runner ups were Dafne Molina Lona and Ingrid Marie Rivera Santos from Mexico and Puerto Rico respectively.

The traditional spectacle of celebrating national beauty through Miss Zimbabwe came to an end last month following what is largely seen as an ambush takeover of the local pageant by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).

ZTA’s muscling into the pageant through financial intercession to bail out Miss Zimbabwe Trust from its monetary woes though commendable, came a bit late and has caused untold inconvenience to the national beauty event, pageant organisers said. They also charge that the Miss Zimbabwe Trust had enough time to prepare for the world beauty event, but due to chaos reigning supreme in its camp, it failed to send Zimbabwe’s representative.

A modelling agency owner who spoke to Independent Xtra on condition of anonymity expressed dissatisfaction over Zimbabwe’s failure to pit its own at the Beauty Crown Theatre, venue of the Miss World pageant finals.

“This is insanity of the highest order on the part of the organisers of the Miss Zimbabwe pageant. We always attend Miss World and whether we won or lost had no significance. It means a lot to the nation to have someone representing them. This rubbish of Miss World making so-called recommendations to Zimbabwe not to enter this year is utter hogwash which must not go unchallenged. It was better for the Miss Zimbabwe Trust to apologise rather than for them to throw spanners in the works giving lame excuses.”

However, patron of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust, Kiki Divaris, said it was premature to send a representative to China when she had not made enough preparations, orientation and familiarisation with her chores as the country’s beauty ambassador.

“The girl (Miss Zimbabwe Tourism) is going to be trained for a year,” she said. “She’ll be under our control. We were recommended by the Miss World to do that and its all to do with putting the house in order, never mind what the media says.” Divaris added that the Trust has now become more “professional and mature” therefore doing things in a dignified and improved manner. She also refuted allegations of being involved in a money racket at the Trust arguing that she has gained nothing and spent millions in keeping the Trust afloat.

Zimbabwe failed to host the popular national pageant last year thus extending the reign of former Miss Zimbabwe Oslie Muringai who was in office for one and a half years thereby creating complications for the Trust. To date 1994 Miss Zimbabwe, Angelina Musasiwa, is the only Zimbabwean ever to come close to the world title after finishing fourth.

Miss Zimbabwe Tourism, Lorraine Maphala, crowned last month, believes she would have come out tops had she participated at Miss World last week: “I think I was going to make it into the top six,” she said.

The 21-year-old Bulawayo beauty added that her absence at the world’s premier pageant came as no cause for concern to her and had only succeeded in giving her more time to prepare for next year’s grand finale.

“I’m not at all worried about failing to go to China. I’m actually happy because it has given me more time to prepare.”

Other countries in the region include Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana and South Africa each had a model at the show.

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