Reigning Miss Zimbabwe Bongani Dlakama’s stay in China at the Miss World finals was a nightmare that she quickly wants to forget.Report by Silence Charumbira
Besides going to the international contest without any grooming, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust sent her abroad with an empty purse.
She said she had to use her prize money for accommodation in Beijing where she spent a night before going to Mongolia.
She had to purchase a lot of other goods that were required for the event from her own purse.
“I had to buy my own dress for the final because a designer engaged by Miss Zimbabwe Trust told me just two days before I left for China that she had not been paid and had not made the dress,” lamented Dlakama.
“I bought the dress for about US$1 500 in South Africa and I spent US$500 on portraits of the Victoria Falls and the flame lily national flower that I had to take to the final for my national identity. There were many other requirements that I had to finance on my own.
“On my return I had to pay over US$800 for luggage and I think my total expenditure could exceed US$5 000 (half of the prize money she got for being crowned Miss Zimbabwe).”
Besides the financial stress, Dlakama said she felt very low in camp as she realised the higher level of preparedness of other models compared to her.
“The competition was intense and there was no way that I could have done well. It is not like I am giving an excuse for my failure but people have to know that what we do in the name of preparation for such a stage is nothing close to what is required.
“I had just two months to prepare in which there was no significant grooming that was done.”
Dlakama said she failed the Beauty with a purpose contest because she had no video footage of her cancer project that was mandatory.
“When I wanted to film the project before leaving for Miss World the Trust had no money to hire cameras and I could not do it myself because it was too expensive.
“It was embarrassing to hear other models saying they actually had choreographers training them three months before the contest when I failed to do dance lessons that cost just US$15.
“I really felt so low and I have to say it is time organisers become more serious about the pageant.”
She said organisers have to be more serious and pledged to assist the next national queen as much as she can.
She also bemoaned the fact that the licence holder for Miss Zimbabwe pageant, Cliff Sachikonye is not directly involved in the production of the pageant.
“Sachikonye is the United Kingdom while the pageant is going through such tough times. Even now as I am going back to Bulawayo the Trust cannot afford a mere bus ticket and that should say a lot,” said Dlakama.
The model arrived in the country on Tuesday on a low key after her failure to impress in China where she came back empty- handed.
She however said her stay in China was enlightening and had a great experience in the Asian country.
Kiki Divaris, patron of Miss Zimbabwe Trust last week said everyone knows the challenges that they faced and they should be grateful that Dlakama even managed to travel to China.
“There is a lot that has been happening, everyone knows that,” said Divaris.
“We were lucky to manage the holding of the pageant in the first place and she was lucky she travelled so I think that she failed to impress in China should not be an issue.”