South Africa-based Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa has advised on the need to protect models from sexual predators masquerading as sponsors in the sector.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
Maphosa said this last week during the unveiling of his companies, Big Time Strategic Group and SA-Zim Business Connection, as sponsors of this year’s edition of Miss Tourism Zimbabwe.
“That habit of saying ‘after our sponsorship, we want a girl’ must stop. That is not part of our ethics and moral fibre,” said Maphosa.
Speaking to The Standard Style on the sidelines of the event, Maphosa said he was willing to engage police to help in circumventing such unbecoming behaviour.
“The time has come for us to protect our children, especially girl children and it starts now,” he said.
“The law should be tough and it should bite, you cannot abuse our children. We are saying no. If it means we go to see the police commissioner and sit down with him and put your name there, we will do that.”
There have been reports time and again of business tycoons and politicians that prey on models in the name of taking care of them.
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe patron Barbra Mzembi echoed the same sentiments, adding that sufficient coaching for models by stakeholders may help them on virtuous conduct, which could revive the collapsing sector.
“I think if we train models, they will be very good girls, who are scandal free because it is all about educating people and talking to them. So, there is need for teaching and interaction as well as giving them examples of women who excelled on their own,” said Mzembi, who successfully hosted a similar pageant in 2014.
Mzembi is confident that the rebranded pageant, which is the only major contest this year after Miss Zimbabwe bowed out, is going to live up to its billing
“It is going to come out the way I am visioning it because I think I have a good cause and I have God involved in this and I think the industry in Zimbabwe will embrace Miss Tourism after this.”
Coming from a backdrop of abuse and belittling of the art, Mzembi said the pageant was a hallmark of dignity and respect for the girl child and they had tied up all loose ends to shield it from any disappointments.
Eighteen finalists from all over the country are scheduled to battle it out when they go into a boot camp on November 17 where only 15 will proceed to contest in the grand finale.