Miss Zim­babwe: The crown that lost its shine

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Bruce Ndlovu

FOR some Zim­bab­weans, when the reign­ing Miss World Zim­babwe, Belinda Potts, made her ap­peal for votes on so­cial me­dia for the on­go­ing Miss World pageant last week, it would have been the first time that they saw or heard of her.

Af­ter all, they had hardly been any fan­fare when she left the coun­try for China, where the fi­nals of the global pageant are set to be held in Sanya on 8 De­cem­ber.

Most of the beau­ties that will take part in that con­test are largely un­known to Zim­bab­weans, face­less beau­ties from dis­tant lands that they would not be able to iden­tify even if they meet face to face on Zim­bab­wean turf.

There’s noth­ing sur­pris­ing about that fact, as most of the su­per mod­els gun­ning for the crown do not pos­sess any su­per­star qual­i­ties that might make them ap­peal­ing beyond their coun­try’s own bor­ders.

What is sur­pris­ing, how­ever, is that most Zim­bab­weans would not know their own beauty queen if they meet her on the streets of Masvingo, her home­town.

Given the con­tro­versy that has ac­com­pa­nied the Miss Zim­babwe crown in the last few years, one might think that Pott’s rel­a­tive anonymity is not a bad thing.

In the past few years, the Miss Zim­babwe crown has brought a lot of noise and at­ten­tion for who­ever wears it, with scan­dal and drama mak­ing it a crown of thorns that rarely leaves who­ever dons it in healthy mo­ral and so­cial stand­ing.

How­ever, one could ar­gue that were it not for the con­tro­versy brought by the scan­dals sur­round­ing the past few win­ners of the pageant, there would have prob­a­bly be lit­tle known about the beauty from Masvingo.

If they were to be asked, many would prob­a­bly strug­gle to name the last rep­re­sen­ta­tive the coun­try sent to the Miss World pageant let alone the dis­graced model that she re­placed.

It is per­haps a sign of the crown’s di­min­ish­ing lus­tre that Zim­babwe is still hold­ing on stead­fastly to its beauty queens of old. The Brita Mase­lethuli­nis and Lor­raine Mapha­las still roll off the tongue of most Zim­bab­weans when asked about the beauty queens they love, trea­sure or re­mem­ber.

Those women have gone on to ex­plore other av­enues in their lives, be­com­ing moth­ers and busi­ness­women, but for most Zim­bab­weans, they will al­ways be the queens that stole their hearts. Their names and faces are en­graved in the hearts of Zim­bab­weans who per­haps have not been given sim­i­lar coro­na­tions to the wear­ers of the crown that came af­ter them.

One would think that in the age of so­cial me­dia, where good look­ing peo­ple seem to get fol­low­ers by the bucket loads for merely be­ing beau­ti­ful, earn­ing the ti­tle of Zim­babwe’s most beau­ti­ful would raise the stock of who­ever wore the crown. In the last few years, how­ever, this has not been the case, and the past few win­ners of the crown have sunk into rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity in the months that fol­lowed their reign.

So why has Zim­babwe’s new breed of beauty queens failed to cap­ture the pub­lic’s eye like their coun­ter­parts of old? Ac­cord­ing to Miss Tourism Zim­babwe li­cence holder Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, be­fore one ques­tions the coun­try’s mod­els, they should look at the con­di­tions around their own lives.

“I get why peo­ple want to com­pare mod­els and pageants with those from the hey­days in the 80s and 90s. How­ever, you have to look at the whole coun­try in gen­eral. Things have gone down in many spheres and noth­ing is the same as it was in the 80s or 90s. These pageants don’t ex­ist in a vac­uum. If var­i­ous as­pects of the coun­try’s life have been af­fected by cer­tain fac­tors, those same fac­tors are bound to have af­fected the coun­try’s pageants and mod­els as well,” she said.

Mpofu-Sibanda added that al­though it was now some peo­ple’s favourite pas­time to crit­i­cise Miss Zim­babwe and the mod­els it pro­duced, the truth was that the coun­try was lucky that the pageant still ex­isted at all.

“Let’s give credit where it’s due. By that I mean we should be thank­ful to these peo­ple that are keep­ing the dream alive, those peo­ple that are mak­ing sure that the pageants are still hap­pen­ing ev­ery year be­cause in re­al­ity a lot more peo­ple have given up and thrown in the towel,” she said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.