Vongai Mbara Arts Reporter
As we celebrate New Year today, it is always good to look back at the year gone by and revisit some of its highlights. In the arts sector, pageants are among events that bring people from all walks of life together. Beauty pageants were held throughout the country highlighting the good looks and talents of their contestants.
While there are some obvious positives that were taken from these contests and the crowds they attracted, there are also some notable negative factors. We take a look at some of the pageants that took place in 2017.
Miss Cultural Zim
A pageant that was once deemed preeminent this year failed to live up to its billing when organiser Nilton Makazhu failed to pay the winners. Miss Cultural queen Zandile Ncube, First Princess Amanda Nyoni, Second Princess Anita Kubie and Miss Personality Sithembiso Sibanda were left stranded after Mukazhu failed to pay the prize money of $600 in total which he had promised the winners. .
The three winners were supposed to get $300, $200 and $100 respectively, but things took another turn when the event failed to attract a full house, causing Mukazhu to leave the models stranded at the venue. It was bad for the models that had travelled from different parts of the country to Bulawayo for the final. It should have made sad memories for them in 2017.
This year’s Miss Deaf beauty competition could make it in the World Guinness Book with a record of the lowest grand prize in the history of beauty pageants. Miss Deaf 2017 Chiedza Hukuimwe was devastated when she was told that she was walking away with a shocking prize of $8.50.
Event organisers had no cash prizes before the pageant and they tried to raise some cash from well-wishers in the crowd but only managed to get $26 which was then shared among Miss Deaf and her two princesses.
Out of 14 contestants, the three winners each walked away with a ridiculous $8.50 and hampers from Oceane Perfumes. It exposed the failure by local sponsors to support local pageants, especially those that are meant to uplift the disadvantaged sects in the society.
The much-anticipated inaugural Miss Albinism pageant was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to venue-related problems and has been rescheduled to February 16 at Reps Theatre. Many people were turned away at the venue as they only found out about the developments when they got there.
Battling for the crown are 15 finalists drawn from different parts of the country and the pageant is meant to fight against stigma towards people living with albinism and will be running under a theme, “Beauty Beyond the Skin”
Miss World Zim
Although it had its challenges including failing to include foreign contestants that had been booked for the final, the pageant lived to its billing. Chiedza Mhosva took the crown at a colourful ceremony although at the Miss World competition she found herself in a stiff competition where only two African countries, Kenya and South Africa made it to the top ten.
Mhosva failed to make it into the top 40 via the Beauty with a Purpose project category and her other option was through the head-to-head challenge which was dependent on social media votes which she failed to attain as well. It seems Zimbabweans are yet to rally behind their representatives at Miss World because more votes could have spurred her to a better level.
Beauty pageants are often slammed for being “shallow” and focusing just on the outer looks of a woman but Miss Legacy changed the rules by promoting beauty with brains in the pageant.
The annual tourism, charitable development beauty pageant aims to promote culture, empowerment of the girl child and heritage of Zimbabwe. Twenty-year-old Tapuwanashe Manyange from Hwange was crowned Miss Legacy at the inaugural pageant that ran under the theme “Embracing our Culture”
The beauty queen shrugged off a stiff competition from 15 other contestants and walked away with a grand prize of $1000 whilst first princess Anita Kubie (30) pocketed $750 and second princess Eustas Gomba (24) took $500. The event that was held at the massive 7Arts Theatre however failed to attract fans and could barely fill a quota of the venue.
Miss Mt Pleasant
It was double delight for model, Sikhulile Shumba, who was crowned Miss Mt Pleasant at the inaugural edition of the pageant that was held at 7Arts, Avondale in Harare.
Shumba walked away with a brand new Honda Fit and was endorsed to participate at the now cancelled edition of Miss Tourism Zimbabwe. Nineteen-year-old Vimbai Mungofa was crowned second princess, while Floret Chikomwe was voted first princess with Betty Chinzou being named Miss Personality.
The pageant that was open to contestants aged between 18 up and 35 years. Mt Pleasant legislator, Pageant founder and main sponsor, Jason Passade promised to offer free driving lessons to the girl child and help those supplementing their ordinary levels with free lessons.
Kuwadzana legislator and former model Betty Kaseke brought lights in the streets of Kuwadzana when she launched Miss Kuwadzana beauty pageant. Everything was magical and classy and it was done was for a worthy cause, to empower the girl child.
A massive crowd of Kuwadzana residents came out and anticipated at the outdoor event in an effort to support their MP’s vision. Nineteen-year-old student Michelle Badza was crowned the inaugural queen of the pageant and she bagged $1 500 in addition to automatically qualifying for the next edition of Miss World Zimbabwe.
First Princess Sheereen Selemani got $1 000, whilst Second Princess Melissa Jack pocketed $750 and Miss Personality Previous Chindinhi took $650.The four winners were also awarded with holiday vouchers to Victoria Falls as well as full-time jobs in the MP’s office where they will be paid a fixed salary of $300 each monthly.
Usually it is beauty that is rewarded, but not in this reverse pageant that celebrates the ugly. Ugly men got to walk down the runway showcasing their ugliness. Inaugural winner William Masvinu took the title again at this year’s edition of the competition.
Although Masvinu lost the competition last year to Maison Sere in controversial circumstances, this year he managed to retrieve his throne. However, the pageant indeed turned ugly when Masvinu was dethroned after he threatened organisers for failing to give him his prize on time.
Masvinu is known for his rowdy behaviour from previous pageants and he will not be able to reign as he has done before because he has lost the title on disciplinary grounds.