The Sunday Mail
Miss Zimbabwe, which has been in hibernation for the past three years, makes a return on June 14 with a strictly-by-invitation black tie event to be held at Mabvazuva Village (formerly Coronation Caravan Park) in Harare. The 26 girls go into camp next week on Monday.Making the announcement, Mrs Mary Chiwenga, who is now running the pageant, said they have been preparing for the June 14 event for several months now and that the pageant had not died a natural death, as previously speculated.
She said to cushion the pageantry against controversies that used to dog Miss Zimbabwe previously, all the girls will undergo mandatory pregnancy tests in their first week in camp.
“This we will do so that we don’t get pregnant girls being crowned Miss Zimbabwe and two months down the line, we get embarrassed. Remember the story of Linda van Beek who had to be dethroned after she became pregnant only a few months after she was crowned? We don’t want a repeat of that.
“Or those girls come into camp already pregnant and when they go back to their homes they allege that they got pregnant whilst in the Miss Zimbabwe camp. We want parents to send their children and rest assured that the girls’ welfare is being taken care of. They should not worry about the security of their children,” said Mrs Chiwenga.
The girl to be crowned Miss Zimbabwe will drive away a Chevrolet Cruze and pocket a cash prize in the region of $30 000, while the first and second princesses will each drive away Spark Lite vehicles and also receive cash prizes. The amounts had not been determined by the time of going to print.
“We are not saying we are going to source the cars, no. These are brand new cars which are already parked somewhere in Harare, waiting for prize-giving. We want to make sure that Miss Zimbabwe comes back, and that should be with a bang.”
Confirmed local artistes who are going to provide entertainment during the pageant are Suluman Chimbetu and Jah Prayzah, whilst the paperwork to include a top South African act is being finalised.
Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Professor Jonathan Moyo will be the guest of honour at the event.
Mrs Chiwenga took time to explain Miss Zimbabwe pageant’s hibernation since last year’s licensing. “When we got the licence we did not have enough time to hold the finals and send the winner to the Miss World finals.
“Besides, most of the girls that were coming through did not meet the requirements of the Miss World pageant, which we feed into.”
She said girls have to be at least 1,72 metres tall, below 60kg, below 99cm hip size and be between 17 and 24 years old, having never been married or had children. “We have asked all the girls coming into camp to bring letters from their pastors, deacons or someone of authority in their communities testifying that they don’t have children. We don’t want a situation where we crown a girl and the next morning newspapers will scream, ‘They crowned a mother!” she emphasised.
Mrs Chiwenga also said if there are girls who have not yet entered the competition but feel that they meet the requirements, they are free to do so.
“We don’t want to deny anyone a chance to represent their country, we have beautiful girls all over the country and we want them to participate. Even though we are working with a number of 26 girls, if more girls come, we will still screen them. Even if a girl is part of the initial 26 that we have and someone comes to camp and they are better than the one we had, we will definitely throw the other one out and remain with the more beautiful one.”
Though this year’s event is being held in time to beat the Miss World deadline of July 14, Mrs Chiwenga said future editions of the pageant will be held in summer. “This is going to be a tented event and given the cold weather that is upon us, we have put in place some heaters to warm up the invited crowds, but in future we will hold the Miss Zimbabwe pageant in summer.”
The girls are coming into camp as Miss Zimbabwe delegates, which is a plus for the Miss Zimbabwe pageantry. Previously, they would come in as provincial winners. “The previous arrangement would give the impression that a girl has to be from Harare or Bulawayo to win, but we have said all the girls are coming into camp as equals, they are all vying to represent Zimbabwe. So no girl, irrespective of where she comes from, has a better chance than the other because of the area of origin. The only advantage that a girl would need to have is beauty.”