on December 3.
The vivacious model – who was voted Miss Zim USA last year – will compete with 94 other contestants drawn from various countries around the world.
Zimbabwe was last represented at the contest in 2007 against models from the US Virgin Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize and Zambia.
The contest will be held at the University of the Philippines Theatre in Diliman, Quezon City Philippines after it was shifted from its initial venue in Bangkok, Thailand, due to floods.
This year’s theme is “Smile for Earth, for All” and in line with the idea of the pageant models are expected to show an in-depth understanding of environmental issues both in their countries and the world at large apart from their beauty and poise on the ramp.
The 23-year-old model said she was going to lift the country’s flag high by advocating for a greener environment.
“The implementation of Woodland Management Techniques in Zimbabwe will help preserve forests. The initial stage involves educating people on proper and effective ways of managing forests. It is also important to highlight fire protection by creating fireguards around the forests,” she said.
Thandi, as she is fondly called – said she was also passionate about advancing the livelihoods of rural people.
“Villagers can be engaged in beekeeping projects. The beehives which are kept in the trees will discourage the cutting down of trees but will be beneficial to the people as they will get honey as well as wax they can use for candles and such other projects,” she said.
Thandi said being Zimbabwe’s sole representative at the pageant would also help in marketing the country’s environment and tourism sector.
She cited resort areas like the Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and Great Zimbabwe Monuments as areas that can market Zimbabwe to the outside world.
“Zimbabwe boasts excellent examples of San rock paintings to accompany a significant wildlife population.
“The Victoria Falls provide awe-inspiring sightseeing and has become one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. Activities range from white water rafting to the famous Victoria Falls bungee, whilst the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park provides numerous safari opportunities. “The Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe’s largest and oldest wildlife reserve and is renowned as one of Africa’s greatest conservation areas.
“Mana Pools National Park and World Heritage Site consist of four main pools and several smaller pools scattered along the course of the might Zambezi River.
“Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo is remarkable; lofty, majestic, awe-inspiring, timeless and these are the places that I will market as a model to the outside world,” she said.
Thandi was born in a family of three and enjoys travelling.
She attended an all girls Catholic school where she learnt that women also deserve respect just like their male counterparts.
“When I was a child we always had different women living and working in our home as nannies and housemaids. My mother instilled such a great level of respect in us that we never viewed them as being house help but rather people who deserved our respect and who did a great job; taking care of us,” she said.
But the issues that are closest to her heart are environmental preservation and farming.
“My environmental advocacy is forest restoration through tree planting. I am supporting tree-planting schemes in areas facing deforestation in Zimbabwe. I have been encouraging replanting of trees in rural and urban areas where trees have been cut down for firewood.
“On a national level I am seeing to it that the Tobacco Wood Energy Programme is implemented. As it stands tobacco is a high export product in Zimbabwe.
“The farming of tobacco has an adverse effect on the environment as trees are cut down and used in the curing process of the tobacco. It has been mandated that all tobacco farmers set aside 10 hectares of land for the planting of the fast growing eucalyptus (gum tree),” she said.