Zim’s pretty women in city pageant

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - FRAN­CIS HWESHE

A UNIQUE beauty pageant is to be held in Cape Town tonight – en­try is open to Zim­bab­weans only.

The in­au­gu­ral Miss Zim­babwe Cape Town is ex­clu­sively for mem­bers of the Zimbabwean di­as­pora liv­ing in the city, and aims to fos­ter self-con­fi­dence and na­tional pride among Zim­bab­weans who have had to strug­gle to sur­vive in a coun­try which has of­ten been hos­tile.

The red- car­pet af­fair is ex­pected to at­tract a 300-strong au­di­ence, and was or­gan­ised by lo­cal Zim­bab­weans Julius Shamu, May­nard Mazavare and Taona Kan­demiri. It is to take place at the Bel­mont Square Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Ron­de­bosch.

The or­gan­is­ers said prepa­ra­tions be­gan last year. They were fund­ing the event them­selves be­cause they couldn’t find spon­sors. Twenty con­tes­tants are to par­tic­i­pate, and the win­ners will help with char­ity work at Nazareth House, a home for or­phans.

At en­er­getic re­hearsals on Tues­day, par­tic­i­pant Char­lene Phiri, 23, orig­i­nally from Vic­to­ria Falls, said she started mod­el­ling when she was five.

Phiri, who has been liv­ing in Cape Town for three years, said the pageant was an op­por­tu­nity “to rep­re­sent my coun­try in some­one else’s coun­try”.

De­spite neg­a­tive per­cep­tions about Zim­babwe, it was a “great coun­try and there is no place bet­ter than home”, she said.

She chal­lenged her coun­try­men to be proud of their iden­tity and stop chang­ing names in or­der to try to fit into South African com­mu­ni­ties.

Queen Bosha, 20, who lives in Ta­ble View, said out of the 20 com­peti­tors she was lucky to be se­lected as one of the two poster girls to ad­ver­tise the event.

She said she left home for South Africa to find a job, as well as to re­alise her dream of be­com­ing a model.

She is signed up with a mod­el­ling agency, but works in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try to earn a liv­ing and sup­port her fam­ily back home.

Asked if she was ready for the con­test, Bosha said she was ner­vous, but hoped to win.

Tanya Mukarakate, 22, said she had been “wait­ing for this mo­ment for all my life”. She ar­rived in Cape Town two months ago, but started mod­el­ling when she was in pri­mary school.

She said this event meant a lot to her “be­cause it has a Miss Zim­babwe ti­tle”.

She said many neg­a­tive per­cep­tions had been cre­ated about Zim­babwe, and “peo­ple won­der if there are any beau­ti­ful things or girls there”.

For her, the com­pe­ti­tion would be about show­ing na­tional pride and iden­tity.

The or­gan­is­ers said they aimed to or­gan­ise sim­i­lar di­as­pora events in all the ma­jor cities in South Africa in the fu­ture.

They said the suc­cess of Miss Zim­babwe Cape Town would hope­fully help them to se­cure fu­ture spon­sor­ship. – West Cape News

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