THIS is the darkest hour in the beauty pageant industry. The customary spectacle of celebrating national beauty through Miss Zimbabwe is over courtesy of what many view as an ambush by the Zimb
abwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) which has turned the national beauty pageant into a tourism catwalk now known as Miss Zimbabwe Tourism.
The cosmetic surgery becomes the first of its kind in the history of Miss Zimbabwe which has seen it inheriting a surname, in what is largely viewed as a marriage of convenience between the Miss Zimbabwe Trust and the ZTA. Both parties appear to have set out to gain mileage from each other.
In the face of dwindling tourism activity, the ZTA hijacked the pageant to market Zimbabwe’s tourism while in return the Trust will secure financial support from the tourism authority.
Speaking at the launch of the new pageant brand last week, Miss Zimbabwe Trust patron, Kiki Divaris, expressed gratitude to the ZTA for deciding to come aboard. “I want to thank you for approaching us. It’s a dream come true for us,” she said while categorically setting the record straight that the ZTA had come knocking at their door.
ZTA chief executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke, dismissed suggestions that his organisation had muscled into Miss Zimbabwe: “We’ve not taken over Miss Zimbabwe. What we have done is to ask Miss Zimbabwe Trust to have one Miss Zimbabwe pageant,” he said making reference to the harmonisation of Miss Zimbabwe and Miss Zimbabwe Tourism respectively.
Kaseke also called for the media’s support and an end to “damaging reportage” to enable the new-look pageant to be a success story. “We are kindly asking for a new chapter and call for a ceasefire,” he said. “We need your total support. We’re not requesting for a cover-up, although pageants have their own controversies. Give Miss Zimbabwe Tourism a chance.”
Miss Zimbabwe has been haunted by a plethora of ills although it
has scored some notable successes. Last month it was enticed into entering its first princess, Edwick Madyopa, for the Miss International Beauty contest by US-based beauty scout, Ashley Shumba, which turned out to be a transvestite pageant.
In 2003, the then national beauty, Linda Van Beek, was forced to relinquish her crown after she had reportedly fallen pregnant. Van Beek was at a loss for words during the April 23 handover ceremony.
However for consolation former Miss Zimbabwe, Britta Masalethulini, scooped the inaugural Miss Malaika beauty pageant.
Going for gold was Angeline Musasiwa, the finest beauty queen Zimbabwe has ever produced who came fourth at the Miss World pageant finals in 1994.
Reigning Miss Zimbabwe, Oslie Muringai, becomes the last Miss Zimbabwe crown bearer before its change yesterday.