Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
Reigning Mr Zimbabwe brand ambassador Bernard Ndlovu, affectionately known as ‘‘Ben Chest’’ is optimistic that he will clinch the coveted title at this year’s Mr Africa pageant to be held in September in Ghana.
Ndlovu said he has begun preparations to represent the country at the pageant and is focused on winning, setting the stage for his participation at the Mr World finals to be held later this year at a venue to be announced.
“I am participating in Mr Africa in Ghana in September this year. If I do well, I will then proceed to the Mr World pageant. Taking part in that pageant is a great opportunity for me as a model. I want to grow my career internationally and I feel honoured to representing Zimbabwe.
“I have started going to the gym, engaging designers and having speech coaching sessions. Recently, I was invited to the inaugural fashion flash-mob in Harare and this has also helped me boost my confidence in public,” he said.
Male models are not being given enough opportunities and exposure to showcase their talents as compared to their female counterparts, Ndlovu opined.
“Most models have to finance themselves. It is hard out there and it affects the industry because we are not taking male modelling seriously. We are rather stereotyping it. The more our local companies engage male models in terms of commercials, the greater the chances of penetrating the international market,” he said.
The fashion and modelling industry is big but was facing liquidity challenges.
Ndlovu was crowned Mr Zimbabwe 2019-2020 Brand Ambassador, while Tatenda Njunike of Harare was crowned Mr Zimbabwe 2019-2020 People’s Choice with Ishmael Muragandi being capped Mr Zimbabwe 2019-2020 Prince at a male modelling pageant held at Dreams Night Life in Harare last December.
According to the organisers of the pageant, when they host the event they will be looking for an excellent character with good physique, great communication skills and deportment among others.
Zimbabwe has some renowned male models dominating locally and abroad who include Tichaona Maruziva, Shadel Noble, Jonathan Denga, Lungani Mkwedu, Jefferson Muserera, Kudzai Chakaingesu, Jimmy Mhlanga and Arnold Rupazo.