Miss Zimbabwe Trust (MZT) — the organisers of the country’s flagship pageant Miss World Zimbabwe (MWZ) — have described the hosting of the glamorous pageant as a difficult undertaking as it comes with a huge budget. What drove the perceverence has been the need to empower and uplift the girl child.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
For years there has been an outcry from beauty pageant followers who felt they were being deprived of the chance to attend the esteemed pageant due to its $300 tag per head in a country that is struggling economically.
In an interview with The Standard Style on Friday on the sidelines of the sashing ceremony for the bevy of 14 beauties vying for this year’s crown, the pageant’s spokesperson Tendai Chirau said the expense of hosting a pageant of such magnitude was quite far from what fans would expect.
“What some pageant fans don’t know is that it’s not that easy to host a modelling pageant like the Miss World Zimbabwe because of the costs involved and the time of organising is quite consuming,” Chirau said.
“Hosting the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant is a serious commitment by Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife, Marry, who happens to be the licence holder as it involves a huge budget to be spent.
“After scouting, the contestants have to stay in a hotel for the boot camp for about three weeks with everything catered for and we also look at the tentage and equipment that we use.
“So the costs of hosting such an event are not light and it only takes someone who has a passion for it because there is no profit in it.”
Chirau said the Miss World Zimbabwe pageant was not a business, but a charity initiative where the wife of the Vice-President gives back to the community through empowering the girl child as there was no profit involved.
“There is nowhere you can get profit in this venture unless if you have an increase in corporate support,” he said.
“If you look at the expenditure and what we get through the tables, you will realise that it does not break even.”
While Chirau could not divulge the figures, in a recent interview with our sister paper NewsDay, Marry said a heavy franchise fee of $7 000 is paid to Miss World.
“Many people think it is easy to organise Miss World Zimbabwe. Hosting Miss World Zimbabwe comes with huge costs, including a whopping $5 000 franchise fee paid to Miss World, which has this year been revised to £5 000 [approximately $7 000] plus flights, logistics and other expenses. We have been victims of our own investment,” she said.
“There have been some claims that we have been receiving sponsorship from the government, but that it is not true. Since we started hosting this pageant, we have never received any financial or any form of assistance from the government.
“We have sponsors who are loyal to the pageant who have helped and continue to assist in the hosting of the pageant.”
Chirau is, however, optimistic that the new government led by Emmerson Mnangangwa would be able to find value in the pageant and support it.
“We are now in a new dispensation although we are yet to approach the government,” he said.
“Remember this will be our first pageant after the new dispensation, we expect that as time goes on we are going to approach them and we know and are convinced that they will support the pageant.”
Meanwhile, the 14 finalists drawn locally and internationally who survived evictions in the boot camp, where eight girls were eliminated, were unveiled on Friday at the sashing ceremony held at the pageant organiser’s office in Eastlea, Harare.
The 14 models are Yolanda Warambwa, Bridget Vambe, Patricia Muchenje, Gracious Manyanhaire, Nyasha Katazo, Yollanda Chimbarami, Musawenkosi Dhlamini, Courtney Matende, Ivy Mupararano, Francina Katuruza, Belinda Potts, Concilia Karemba, Wendy Maturi and Kuzivakwashe Mujakachi.
Miss Zimbabwe Trust’s administrator Lorraine Chawanda said after the sashing ceremony, the boot camp would continue until the final day (September 8) and there would be no further elimination unless there was need to, only in connection with disciplinary issues.
The pageant’s grand finale will be held under the theme Embracing A Woman As A Symbol of Beauty on September 8 at Orchids Garden in Domboshava outside Harare.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean designer Spero Villioti has been confirmed as the costume designer while Big Time Strategic Group has been retained as part of the pageant partners.
Apart from the modelling extravaganza, four top international artistes are billed to provide entertainment alongside Zimbabwe’s finest at the pageant’s finale.