The Sunday Mail
For all its splendour, the Miss Zimbabwe pageant held at Mabvazuva Lodge last weekend has produced a demoralising shocker for the three winners who will have to return their prize cars at the end of their reigning terms.Last week, pageant chairperson Marry Chiwenga announced that the three winners of the pageant, who were presented with a car each, would not retain the vehicles after the end of their one year reign.
The queen Thabiso Phiri got a Chevrolet Cruz while the first princess Tendai Hunda and second princess Letwin Chinomona got a Chevrolet Spark Lite each.
After their terms expire, the three will have to return the cars back to Miss Zimbabwe Trust, which will use them for other purposes.
Chiwenga, who says she had to fork out her own money to finance the show, said it all boils down to the issue of sponsorship.
“People do not want to sponsor us. There is nothing else we can do for now but to let the models use the cars for the duration of their terms and return the cars to us,” she said.
Chiwenga, however, said that if her organisation manages to find a sponsor or sponsors for the cars, then the girls may end up keeping the vehicles.
She also said government should allow the Miss Zimbabwe Trust to import vehicles for its winners duty-free.
“Maybe if we were exempted from paying duty, it would reduce our costs and probably make it possible for us to just give them the cars. As things stand it is impossible for us to let the cars go because we are still starting and do not have any money so we may still have uses for the cars after a year,” said Chiwenga.
In a telephone interview with the new Miss Zimbabwe Thabiso Phiri, the vivacious beauty who is frantically trying to obtain a driver’s licence, bemoaned the lack of sponsorship for the pageant.
“After a year of getting used to driving myself around and enjoying that convenience, it is going to be tough to go back to using public transport.
“But it is what it is and we can only hope that someone is going to intervene and help us keep the cars.
“We appeal to the corporate world to assist the organisers of the pageant with some funds to enable people like us, winners, to truly benefit from the event,” said Phiri.
The repossession of the cars by the Miss Zimbabwe Trust goes against the norm in Zimbabwean pageantry.
A quick survey by this publication revealed that previous winners of Miss Zimbabwe, Miss Tourism Zimbabwe and recently Miss Carnival, and other smaller pageants like Miss Teen, get to keep the cars that they win during modelling competitions.