Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Writer
Just like the popular Venice style, the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2017 masquerade fundraising dinner held at Rainbow Towers over the weekend as it was mixture of style and glamour. It was a night of glitz as guests came dressed in their expensive designer garments with everyone in mask apart from experiencing the real masquerade ball affair from chocolate fountains, cocktails, buffet menu, and purple lightning to music.
About $7 000 was raised on the night for the benefit of the girl child in Zimbabwe to buy sanitary pads with other guests pledging packs of the pads. The dinner which was held under the theme, ‘Jacaranda season of giving’ saw First Family autographed items sold on auction for $5 500. A cap and golf t-shirt which had President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe’s signatures were bought for $5 500 by Minister of Tourism, Hospitality Industry and Environment, Honourable Edgar Mbwembwe and his deputy Anastacia Ndlovu. Deputy Minister Ndlovu later pledged to pay school fees up to high school for Alice Kadzidziwu (13) from Kajamadire Primary School. She later donated soccer kit to the same school while Chinese embassy pledged to buy 200 pairs of school shoes.
“There is no other local bigger brand than the R.G Mugabe powered by Dr Amai,” said minister Mbwembwe. Ms Katija Maques Da Silva bought signed cushions by First Lady for $350 and Sino Zimbabwe donated a paid trip for two girls to go for operation in China. The event saw former radio personality Candice Mwakylekyle and Tich Mata as the hosts of the night.
It was also a moment of glory and surprise as Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2016 Asherly Morgen and the MTZ patron Barbara Mzembi took the opportunity to reveal the final 20 girls from the 152 who came for auditions. The final 20 who are Wendy Mature, Chido Michelle Dika, Monalisa Dube, Elsie Moyo, Kundai Makuvise, Rufaro Chikwanha, Natalie Price, Tanyaradzwa Munyoro, Thelma Farisai Machero, Sakhile Sibusisiso Dube, Nelia Marisa, Thumelo Nare, Asherly Gonde, Belinda Patts, Nomukosi Chiname, Mazvita Chakava, Marizane Murashiki, Tafadzwa Primrose Jaricha, Melissa Tanaka and Munesu Munawa.
Award winning songstress Selmor Mtukudzi managed to wow guests with her hit songs as they danced to it while before choreographer John Cole had to pick selected individuals to join him on dance floor for Jah Prayzah and Diamond Platinumz song “Watora Mari”. Speaking at the occasion, Minister Mbwembwe said the MTZ has given the girl child a platform to recognize her beauty, strength, knowledge and skills on public arena.
“It is an opportunity to seek the best in every girl child an opportunity that has also equipped participants with the skills of planning. Our mission as ministry is to facilitate and support the delivery of high quality sustainable tourism products and services that contribute to economic development of Zimbabwe,” he said. He said the pageant is promoting components of brand Zimbabwe such as people, culture heritage, tourism and exports. MTZ patron Barbara Mzembi said the dinner was important precursor event to the final event that will happen on December 9.
“We chose the theme ‘Jacaranda season of giving’ as we use this event to fundraise towards our girl child initiatives. We are humbled by the numbers of girls whose lives we have transformed in the short time since we started as MTZ. Our target is to reach 5000 girls by fifth year,” she said.