Once again, the city of Bulawayo put on the glitz on over the weekend with the Miss Tourism Bulawayo pageant finals as a bouquet of 22 beauties vied for top honours. In the end, one walked away with the top honours pocketing US$2 000, courtesy of one of the pageant sponsors, businessman and politician Farai Taruvinga of Progress Mines and Consha Enterprise.
By Admire Kudita
Twenty-four-year-old law student with the University of South Africa Anelisiwe Ndebele excelled on the night, which was peppered with mindblowing incidents. At some point, a businessman called Sasha Gomez rained a thick wad of mint US$20 bills into the VIP section.
He pounced on the stage and boom; it rained money literally on to the stunned but obviously gleeful audience. One of the night’s masters of ceremony was left speechless but he should have taken the blame for the “rainfall”. After having had the crowd eating out of his hands with a string of old-school hits from Dr Dre’s Still Dre and Lil Wayne’s Make it Rain, the crowd’s joy quotient surged. Thus it rained “paper” courtesy of this colourful Gomez, who clearly owned the VIP section. “I picked US$40,” chortled one of the finely dressed ladies.
As if that was not enough drama, one of the people in the VIP section, Davis Muhambi caused a furore over a misunderstanding with the crew streaming the event live from CnC Productions, which threatened to disrupt proceedings. Thankfully, the sound of his voice could not drown out the pulsating groove that filled the venue.
As the night wore on, model after model sashayed and displayed sultry moves on the ramp before a judging panel made up of past beauty queens and businessmen.
The judges were ex-pageant queen Nokuthaba Manungo, Lorraine Maphala-Phiri (former Miss Tourism Zimbabwe), former Miss Bulawayo Happiness Tshuma and businessmen Feliz Dzumbunu and Mqalisi Nyathi.
The pageant was the last round of the search for models that will battle it out in the national finals on September 8. Each province will send a representative.
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe licence holder is Fingers Modelling Agency, run by Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, who is a 32-year industry veteran. Models and pageant winners such as Maphala and Samantha Tshuma have passed through her hands. Incidentally, the winner of the Miss Tourism Bulawayo, Anelisiwe Ndebele, was groomed by Tshuma’s Open Eye Studio.
“I thank everyone who has supported my journey and, most importantly, Fingers Academy for giving the girl child a chance to showcase a talent. Special acknowledgment goes to my mentor Samantha Tshuma of Open Eye Studios,” Ndebele said. Anelisiwe Ndebele is a 24-year-old law student who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree. Other winners were former Miss Environment Sibusisiwe Falala who snagged the first princess accolade, while Tenda Sibanda was second princess. The Miss Talent prize went to the teen beauty Mahlengiwethu Mahlangu, who stole the crowd’s hearts with her performance of Beyonce’s music. Natasha Gora took the Miss Personality plaudit with Thelma being named most promising model.