Early this year, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust — the licence holders of the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant — announced that they were going to hold auditions for this year’s edition in February in Bulawayo and Harare.
By Staff Reporter
However, the auditions — which replaced traditional preliminary shows in provinces that fed finalists for the Miss Zimbabwe pageant — were not held in February as had been announced by the Marry Mubaiwa-led Miss Zimbabwe Trust. Even the finale that was supposed to be held at Borrowdale Race Course in April never saw the light of day.
Only a fortnight ago, a handful of models, mostly from Harare and surrounding towns, turned out for the auditions in Eastlea in the capital, which compelled the trust to further push dates of the final pageant.
After the deadline set for countries to submit their contestants’ names for Miss World having lapsed on Friday, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust faces a sticky situation.
The pageant has been rocked by scandals since Mubaiwa took over the reins at the Miss Zimbabwe Trust from the late Kiki Divaris. Initial winner of the Miss Zimbabwe crown last year, Emily Kachote was dethroned after her nude pictures surfaced on social media. Although no one at the trust ever saw the pictures, they said the model violated the rules of the pageant that prohibits beauty queens from posing for nude photos. Kachote has dragged the trust to the High Court over the issue.
Thabiso Phiri, who had been crowned queen in 2013, stepped down — also due to leaked nude pictures.
A source said the reason why the pageant had lost its lustre was that Divaris left big shoes for Mubaiwa to fill.
“Miss Zimbabwe Trust is failing to pitch the pageant up. The standards have deteriorated and it’s going to get worse now that Kiki is gone,” the source said.
The source said the decision to scrap provincial pageants as preliminary shows for Miss Zimbabwe World was ill-advised.
“The rot started after the trust decided to do auditions instead of doing preliminary pageants in the provinces. In the past, we used to have queens coming from the Miss Gweru, Miss Kwekwe, Miss Masvingo, Miss Mutare and Miss Bulawayo pageants to battle for honours with their counterparts from Harare and universities, but it’s all gone and we have these auditions which are questionable,” the source said.
The source added that after the provincial pageants, winners would go through extensive grooming with experienced chaperons in their respective cities before competing in the final pageant.
The source said the failure to have the pageant on time this year could have been caused by lack of sponsorship.
“Which sponsor would want to associate with nude pictures? I think the trust is broke and sponsors are hard to come by. This is why these people are pushing the dates and failed to meet the Miss World deadline,” said the source.
Miss Zimbabwe Trust programmes and communications manager Tendai Chirau, however, said the delay in coming up with the finals had nothing to do with the issue of sponsorship and credibility of the Miss World Zimbabwe.
“Our delay has nothing to do with the so-called credibility or lack of it, as your sources allege. We are looking for the best girls and the moment we get them, we will hold the pageant,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, our sponsors have advised us that if we don’t get girls that have the potential to represent the country, we can postpone the event.
“We are still conducting the final selection and as soon as we are done, we shall announce to the nation the way forward.”
Pageant lovers in the country fear that the trust might not send a representative to this year’s edition of Miss World, considering that the deadline to submit the names of the contestants has lapsed. However, Chirau insisted that the trust was within the time frame.
“We should take into cognisance the fact that Miss World will be held on December 20 and out of 130 countries affiliated to Miss World, only 50 have held their finals. So we are within the time frame. After all, the deadline is not cast in stone,” he said.
Licence holder for Miss Zimbabwe World in the Midlands, Mavis Koslek said she saw nothing wrong with auditions to choose contestants for the national pageant. Koslek, who has been in the game for 23 years, believes the trust needs everyone’s support.
“This is the best time for auditions, unlike the early auditions. They are upping their game and at the end of the day we are networking for the Miss World Zimbabwe,” she said.
The Miss World pageant is the oldest major international beauty pageant, which was created in the United Kingdom by Eric Morley in 1951. Since his death in 2000, his wife Morley has co-chaired the pageant.