…Lets re-build the Eastern Highlands tourism brand together: Minister Mutsvangwa
IT was a double conquest for the 22 –year old lawyer based in Mutare from Mhungu and Associates, Tafadzwa Jaricha that was crowned the 2018 Miss Tourism Manicaland and also scooped the Miss Personality title last Saturday at the exquisite Golden Peacock Villa Hotel in Mutare.
From a water-tight contest drawn from 14 models Jaricha, Life Matunzeni (22), Chiedza Makonese (20), Silethemba Maphosa (23) and Tanatswa Chenga (19) were selected as the five finalists in the pageant. In the end it was however Matunzeni and Maphosa who were crowned first and second princess respectively.
This year marked the return of the provincial pageant under a new licence holder Caroline Marufu-Buwu that beyond doubt rose to the occasion to organise a glamorous and well coordinated pageant. For the past three years provincial pageants were no longer being held, only private auditions were held at provincial level to select contestants for the national pageant.
Jaricha and Matunzeni will represent the province at the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe pageant slated for September 8 in Bulawayo.
ZiFM stereo presenters SoProfound whose real name is Arnold Chirimika and the dashing Amard whose real name is Nonkululeko Dube were the masters of ceremony and made every second memorable at the event with their charisma on the microphone, just to show why they come highly rated among the best radio presenters in the country.
The models contested in four categories, the professional wear, culture wear, swim wear and the evening wear, which is traditionally coupled with the question and answer category. It was a well rehearsed and polished performance in all the categories as they exchanged catwalks on the runway like pros, which no doubt made life difficult for the seven judges at the pageant.
To put the icing on the cake after the show Trevor Dongo of the “Ndashamisika” fame performed briefly as the main act. There was also a guest appearance from Jimmy Mangezi of the Extra Large duo who performed their old time collaboration song with Trevor, ‘Ndinoda Kushamura Newe’ among other songs.
Throughout the show entertainment came mostly from local artistes with the local mbira ensemble Ntswai Ntswai rising to the occasion by giving a polished performance. The most energetic act however came from the Mutare based duo Real Eeez of Edmos and Enoch Ngarakana that performed their latest track featuring Roki called ‘Eya’ which got the crowd on their feet. The boys decided to knockout the crowd further by pulling off the late multi-Grammy Award winning artiste, Michael Jackson’s gravity defying tilt debuted in his 1988 ‘Smooth Criminal’ video. The duo stunned the crowd when they leaned forward 45 degrees with their backs straight and feet flat on the floor, and paused for nearly five seconds in that position before returning upright with little apparent effort like robots.
The Bulawayo based songstress Tatenda Marufu who performed with localy based artiste Michael Mabaso better known as Flot also raised the roof with their energised performance, not leaving out the vibrant opening act of the show by the local group Platinum crew.
The guest of honour, the Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs Monica Mutsvangwa came dressed for the occasion, elegantly dressed enough to outclass the models. She encouraged the license holders to uphold the beauty and brains concept in modelling to empower women in the sector. She said being beautiful should not be a crime and encouraged the models to use their beauty positively towards community building and not be merely used as sex objects. She however applauded the local business community for giving back to the community that moulds them by supporting the pageant to make it a success.
Minister Mutsvangwa said she was fighting hard to market Manicaland province as the biggest investment destination in the country and was happy to work under a listening President (E. D Mnangagwa) that is very supportive of developmental initiatives, which is why they are undertaking the mantra, ‘Zimbabwe is open for business.”
“I am working very hard to return Manicaland to become the province we are all proud of. We cannot market poverty and expect Manicaland to develop. We need to market the positives and business potential to attract foreign direct investment but to achieve this we must work together…We are fortunate to have a listening President and my mandate in Manicaland is to listen and steer development,” said the resident Minister.
Marufu-Buwu said she was happy with how the event went smoothly and how the models gave a five-star recital like professionals.
“I am happy with this pageant and want to thank all our sponsors. There were quite a number of sponsors on the local front that came on board. To mention a few there is the Nyanga is Supa Foundation, ZiFM, Black Opal, Montclair Hotel, Nyanga Parks and Wildlife, Golden Peacock Hotel, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and many individual local businesspeople that chipped in, in cash or kind. I also want to thank the resident Minister (Monica Mutsvangwa) that also took time from her busy schedule to grace our event as well as other provincial license holders that came through for the event,” she said.
Marufu-Buwu added that during their boot camp in Nyanga last week, the finalists gained an appreciation of the tourism in the Eastern Highlands after going up Mount Nyangani.
“Because of time we did not manage to visit a lot of sites we intended to but going forward for next year we have learnt from our mistakes and will build on that to have a bigger and better pageant as we have a lot of attractions to market through our models and the brand of the beauty pageant like the Mutarazi Falls as well as its new baby initiated there, the Skywalk and Zipline, a brainchild of Far and Wide Zimbabwe,” said Marufu-Buwu a former crown holder, who won Miss Zimbabwe 2007 and went on to win Miss Tourism Africa that same year.
The rebranded pageant was also graced by the new license holder of the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, a former model cum-actress, Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, radio and TV personality Tinopona ‘Tintin’ Katsande as well as the outgoing first princess Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Nonhlahla Dube. Kenneth Muchina a Mutare businessman and socialite cum-politician that recently narrowly lost the Zanu-PF Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency primary elections, who was one of the major sponsors of the pageant, also attended the event.
The panel of judges comprised of locally based and guest judges namely Elizabeth Muusha, Amanda Mariga, Ropafadzo Dunira and Tanyaradzwa Siyawamwaya on the local front whilst Peter Mubi, Ashley Morgan and Georges El Badaoui were guest judges.