The Sunday Mail
Prince Mushawevato recently in South Africa —
“WE want to leave Zimbabwe shaken. The problem is our people have become used to accepting mediocrity and that should stop. Standards are going to be set high at Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ), rather the event will be difficult to ignore, the finale will be pure magic. We are going to propel the girl child and also turn the hosting venue, Rainbow Towers, into something you have never seen before,” boldly declared South African-based Zimbabwean businessman Justice Maphosa in an interview last week at Protea Hotel Fire and Ice in Pretoria, South Africa.
Maphosa’s BigTime Strategic Group, together with a grouping of businesspeople known as SA-Zim Business connection, were officially unveiled in the capital a fortnight ago as anchor sponsors of Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2016.
The South African business magnet, who happens to be the director and president of the aforesaid organisations respectively, has promised not only to deliver a flawless finale of the pageant on November 25, but also to leave the models vastly empowered.
Could this be the dawn of a new era in the Zimbabwe modelling industry? For a long time, models have been taken for a ride. Either they do not get their promised prizes on time or they fail to get them in extreme cases.
However, it appears that will soon be a thing of the past. Anchor sponsors of the pageant are promising to turn for good the lives of all the models taking part in the event.
As part of the sponsorship package, BigTime Strategic Group has brokered a deal that will see all the 15 finalists sign brand ambassadorial deals with selected top South African companies.
The deal is set to open new avenues for the models considering the advertising and fashion industry in South Africa is rated among the best on the continent in terms of exposure and financial rewards.
A Sicas-Zimbabwe scholarship worth US$30 000 will be awarded to one of the models to study in China. The model will be selected from outside the top three winners.
Equally, the MTZ crown winner will get a cash prize to be issued on the day of the competition. This will be in addition to an executive car and an all expenses tourism induction course in the United States.
The first Princess, Miss Tourism Agro, will work with Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (ZAS) through a partnership deal that has already been signed and will also get an off-road vehicle in line with her duties.
“A lot of initiatives have been put in place for these ladies. We want to make sure Miss Tourism becomes a success in bringing dignity to the girl child. The idea is that after the pageant each and every one of the models comes out a better person than she was before,” said Maphosa.
Miss Tourism Zimbabwe vice chairperson Benjamin Chimutengo weighed in.
“Preparations for the event are progressing well and I’m happy our sponsors are making our task easy. More packages for the models are still coming and they will be unveiled in due course but definitely before the finale,” said the vice chairperson.
To his credit, the BigTime Strategic Group boss has thus far proven to be a man of his word. He recently delivered a splendid Gwanda Gospel Festival 2. The song and worship event saw the ordinary Pelandaba Stadium temporarily turning into a world class facility, which could host any of the world’s top celebrities.
This time around, they have since guaranteed a smooth flow of the MTZ preparations. Moreover, they are promising a marvel at HICC. According to the organisers the event will be punctuated by grandeur displays, among them indoor fireworks, which will be a first for many.
Also, the Princess of Monaco, tourism ministers and other princesses from across the globe will be part of the finale that is also expected to be graced by First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe as guest of honour.
“I do not wish to scare possible future sponsors. My wish is just to set the pace so that whoever comes in after knows what needs be done. This is a good initiative that needs all our support. I’m confident more people will come on board,” he adds.
Below, Justice Maphosa gives The Sunday Mail Leisure more details on his involvement with Miss Tourism Zimbabwe and other events.
Q: How long is your union with MTZ going to last?
A: I would want it to be a once off sponsorship. However, this is a decision I will take after the pageant, whether to continue or not. My role right now is to set the footsteps, and then let other people set the bar even higher. I don’t want people to see as if I’m hogging this pageant. It is not a chiefdom, it is serving the country and this will be at the highest level that I could.
Maybe in future I will also want to do something in soccer, maybe do something for local teams like Dynamos, Highlanders, Caps United and bring teams like Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Sundowns here and pair them together with local high schools. I want to do a number of things and make Zimbabwe great by doing so.
Q: What is your general sentiment with regards to Zim showbiz considering you are so particular about standards?
A: There is a visible desire for doing great things but I understand businesses in Zimbabwe are economically challenged and it becomes difficult to outlay some of the monies towards such causes.
The organisers of the Sinach show did well and it is that kind of thing that we should promote and aim to do every time. It does not have to take someone from South Africa to set the pace, I’m sure there are one or two companies in Zimbabwe that can make a huge difference.
Q: You seem to have a strong Christian background. Does it not affect you when dealing with pageant(s) that have controversies, among them sex and nudity?
A: A calling is a calling. God has called me and He will not throw me into wolves and leave me alone. Zimbabwe is our country, we will deal with whatever challenges that we face. We want to make Zimbabwe great and we are unapologetic about that.
Certainly we do not want to be associated with scandals in any way. That is why we don’t even visit models auditioning. There are people who have been mandated for that (auditions) so that the final day comes right. They give us reports and we run with them.
Q: Have you faced any challenges in dealing with MTZ organisers?
A: We are used to staging such events together so we have not had challenges so far. We had a master plan and we stuck to it. We have looked at the venue and we have seen the loopholes and we have made necessary recommendations for us to use it.
We are also the main sponsors of the annual Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards that you are going to attend tonight (last week Thursday) in Johannesburg. The event is likely going to give you an insight on what to expect at HICC on November 25.
Q: How much are you going to invest in the pageant through this sponsorship deal?
A: It is not about how much millions I have put in this project. The idea is for us to build confidence in local sponsors, make them appreciate and understand the need to support initiatives that help empower the girl child.
I do not believe I’m the only person that will be funding the pageant forever. I have just chipped in with the little I have so that I make a difference in my country. It is not right for us to deny these little girls support, in the process setting them up for potential abuse as they try to break through in life.
I have never lost investing in the Kingdom of God.
I have got better returns there than in any other stock exchange. I take some of these things as a holy offering to God. This is why even today you will never know how much I invested in Gwanda Gospel Festival. I will never tell you.