Who still remembers Angeline Musasiwa, Brita Maselethulini, Vanessa Sibanda, Nomusa Ndiweni, Lorraine Maphala, Caroline Marufu, Greatmore Chatya, Tendai Hunda and Oslie Muringai?
What do these people have in common?
They have written their own piece of history in the modelling world by not only representing Zimbabwe at the global stage, but landing some of the top spots in such competitions.
Talk of Brita being the inaugural Miss Malaika!
Earlier this year, model Jemima Mandemwa finished fourth at the Miss Environment International that was held in Mumbai, India.
But one cannot talk of modelling in Zimbabwe without mentioning the late Kiki Divaris, — “Miss Zimbabwe Forever”, as she gave hope and light to the pageant, despite the many obstacles surrounding the sector.
Now the onus is on those hosting the pageant.
There is Miss Zimbabwe World which is in pending mode, but that doesn’t stop having another pageant to have winners crowned at world stage.
The year 2022 saw the birth of Miss Zimbabwe Queen, which is set for this Saturday at the Harare International Conference Centre.
With two days left for the inaugural crown to set on Miss Zimbabwe Queen winner’s head, organisers said they were optimistic about the show.
After a vigorous search during the auditions which were held in all provinces across Zimbabwe, the organisers last weekend unveiled the top 12.
The finalists are Tatenda Manungo, Gina Mutemeri, Chipo Pangoline Chigwende, Stacy Hall, Tamia Tanatswa Chawaguta, Anelisiwe Ndebele, Sakhile Dube, Charlotte Muziri, Elizabeth Gunda, Lyshanda Moyas, Samantha Manhenga and Oniesha Tadiwa Chuma.
These are scheduled to strut their stuff on the ramp come Saturday.
The girls are already in boot camp at a secret location, somewhere in Harare and according to their itinerary, they will definitely take something home after the 10 September.
Whether they win or not, the sessions at the boot camp are a learning curve for the girls.
Some of the activities they have already partook in include a tour at the National Heroes Acre, where they are expected to know and understand the role of the gallant heroes of Zimbabwe.
They have also visited Harare Children’s Home to have an understanding of charity and philanthropic work.
For the fitness side, the girls have been doing physical training and gym sessions courtesy of popular fitness and Zumba instructor Zororo Nhira.
They also got to experience and learn about some of the local traditional dishes at different restaurants.
All this is in preparation for the world stage, hence it is all documented.
The swimming segment has been a talking point in the past, with cultural purists against the semi-naked display, but the girls have been trained on how to handle the session without necessarily offending anyone.
Besides being also coached on how to catwalk by seasoned model Samantha Tshuma, they had an experience of motivational and empowerment sessions from seasoned speakers.
What makes this pageant edition tick is that it has a 90 percent female cast on production.
The pageant is the brainchild of former beauty queens Tendai Hunda and Hilda Mabu.
Then, just like the international standard level, especially at Miss World, the organisers have already lined up the judges for the Saturday pageant and it is an all-female panel made up of the country’s former beauty queens.
They said they could not reveal the judges’ names to avoid manipulation, corruption and rigging.
The lead host of the night is former beauty queen Maselethulini, who will share the stage with seasoned media personality Tich Mataz.
The red carpet will be led by former model Lillian Madyara, affectionately known as Hollywood Lee, socialite and comedienne Madam Boss, among others.
Remember 2016, the same venue hosted Miss Tourism Zimbabwe which was a world-class event and now six years later, the same venue is bringing a different pageant, but aiming to achieve success.
Will this event set the bar high in terms of pageantry in Zimbabwe?
For the past years, the pageant was affected by a lot of scandals, resulting in local girls losing trust in it.
But kudos to the pageants that continued running such as Miss Curvy Zimbabwe, Miss Earth and Miss Intercontinental.
If pageant licence holders had not slacked, the country could have been a different story – just look at how South Africa is dominating the international stage.
The line-up of entertainers on Saturday includes Jah Prayzah, Enzo Ishall, Trevor Dongo and dancer John Cole.
So this becomes the 10 percent of the male production on the script.
Again, top local designers have been engaged to work on the girls’ dresses.
As far as pageantry is concerned in Zimbabwe, many still wonder why it has been slacking and sometimes not happening at all, considering there are a lot of young talented girls.
They end up going abroad and dominating the model industry in the foreign countries, yet back home nothing of note washappening.
The issue is about prize money, sponsorship from stakeholders and lack of appreciation.
For the Miss Zimbabwe Queen, which is almost two years old in planning, it seems the organisers did a diligent job to come up with such a show.
They are yet to unveil the prize money and some of the consolation prizes, but everyone hopes they will own up to their promises, avoid past scandals, including non-delivery of prizes.
The organisers have been on this road before and they know all the nitty gritties for a successful and proper pageant.
Come Saturday, Zimbabweans are expecting fireworks.
The organisers will have a pre-production rehearsals on Friday to avoid loop-holes on the finale. Gateway Stream Music will stream the Saturday event live.
The pageant will feature guests from South Africa, Botswana, the US and Nigeria, including former beauty queens and grooming experts, among others. Herald