“I shall not stop at it until the safe is empty” — this was the opening statement from McKenzie Scott, the recently crowned Miss University of Zimbabwe (Miss UZ) Mitchel Kudzai Matizha’s role model, at a global conference in 2019.
Being crowned Miss University of Zimbabwe (Miss UZ) does not mean one has to walk around campus smiling and waving at people, rather it comes with a responsibility to be the ambassador of the institution.
The queen has to form an alliance with the Student Representative Council (SRC) and different leaders of the university clubs, most of all she has to be vocal about social issues that deeply affect the students while trying to keep her grades up.
Matizha, who is a first-year law student and the reigning Miss UZ 2022, is finding it hard as she has to do a lot of adjustments.
“My reign so far has been tough as I am not used to the whole concept of being queen and it gets overwhelming, but I believe I will pull through,” she says.
Coming from a home which is more of “school first, then everything else”, Matizha has to balance being a queen and a student so that she will not disappoint her family and get to prove wrong those who say she did not deserve to win.
She says when she won as some were saying she did not deserve the crown.
“I honestly feel like deserve has got nothing to do with it as all the girls that contested did put a lot of work and we all deserved, but sometimes luck may roll your way,” she says,
“At the end of the day, there can only be one winner.”
Her wish is that during her reign, she will increase the awareness of women representation and women empowerment to build her own brand. The 19-year-old queen acknowledges the university for the work it is doing to improve women representation.
But she pointed out that it was not satisfying that the institution had only one female SRC president Abiona Muzvare, yet there are more women than men at the university.
She believes that the issue of female leadership is being stigmatised, be it in the SRC or college clubs.
“I will ensure young women’s voices are heard and their issues are fairly recognised as studies show that women legislators are more likely than men to address women interests,” she says.
Matizha adds that representation by women even in Government affects more than just policy as it is a tool for social empowerment, hence should be taken seriously.
Being passionate about women representation, Matizha felt that the only way she could make a powerful impact was by going into law to be able to produce tangible influence wherever she goes.
She has not been in the modelling industry for long, with the Miss University of Zimbabwe pageant being her first.
Matizha is willing to take part in other pageants if given another chance despite the journey being hard and demanding for her.
When she was crowned Miss UZ 2022, she walked away with US$1 400 as prize money and she says she will use her money to expand her thrift store.
“I want to expand my thrift store with the money I won such that some profits will go to charity and will fund a foundation that I am working on,” she says.
“I will spoil myself as well for I worked extremely hard for this.”
Matizha opened her thrift store last year with the help of her mother and she has been running it on her own.