This came after former Miss Zimbabwe 2014 Tendai Hunda was awarded a licence to hold the local version of Miss Universe Zimbabwe after 22 years’ hiatus.
The last model to have taken part was Tsungai Muswerakuenda in 2001, while the licence was held by Yvette D’Almeda-Chakras.
On April 4, Hunda got a call from the organisers of Miss Universe congratulating her for being awarded the licence after she had applied for it.
Speaking at a press conference held in Harare at Rainbow Towers, Hunda, who is the national director for MUZ, said they were ready to host the local pageant, with the winner to be sent to the international pageant.
“We have scheduled an introductory fundraising dinner for June 10 ahead of September 9, the date earmarked for the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant in Harare,” she said.
“The main purpose of the MUZ contest is to choose a Zimbabwean representative to appear at the Miss Universe stage in December in El Salvador, Central America. As you can imagine, holding the national competition to choose our delegate won’t be a simple task, thus we humbly ask for support from Government, the corporate sector, media and every other sector key to make this endeavour a success.”
Hunda, who is also co-director of the Miss Zimbabwe Queen beauty pageant which selects contestants to represent Zimbabwe at regional and international pageants like Miss Intercontinental Africa and Miss Top Model of the World, said this was a great opportunity for Zimbabwean girls to shine.
“Good thing, the Miss Universe has opened doors to the young girls, married or not married, pregnant and those with children to take part. The age limit is 28.
“By the way, I was crowned Miss Zimbabwe 2014 and represented Zimbabwe at the Miss World competition 2014 hosted in London, United Kingdom. I created a platform called Hundah, which today is one of Zimbabwe’s leading modelling agencies.
“As the Miss Zimbabwe Queen organisation, we realised that Zimbabwe was not being given a fair chance to participate on the Miss Universe global platform which claims to be an inclusive stage for the modelling and beauty industry.”
Hunda said against this background, she felt compelled to take on the challenge to have Zimbabwe reinstated to the Miss Universe competition, resulting in her acquiring the licence to host Miss Universe Zimbabwe.
“I am absolutely elated that Zimbabwe is about to end its protracted absence and resume its participation in the coveted Miss Universe pageant. One of the top four beauty pageants in the world, Miss Universe, is owned and operated by the Miss Universe Organisation in the United States.
“Simply by joining, its candidates are exposed to a variety of networking and employment prospects.
“This organisation exists to advocate for a future fashioned by women with the guts to push the boundaries of what is possible.
“We have engaged the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, key stakeholders in the successful hosting of this pageant as they are the custodians of our arts sector and youth empowerment.”
Hunda said the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe was valuable.
“We also firmly believe the return of Miss Universe Zimbabwe is symbiotic and will provide a valuable lifeline to the country’s arts sector while contributing towards youth empowerment as the country’s fashion designers, makeup artists and even musicians get an opportunity to showcase their work,” he said.
“If successful, the competition will not only be a historic occasion, but will also significantly raise Zimbabwe’s international status.”
Hunda said the pageant perfectly fits the Government’s policy of engagement and re-engagement and presents a great opportunity for progressive corporates to come on board and collaborate.
“After all, the proverb goes, ‘Alone you can go far, but together we can go further’. Again, in line with the President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mantra ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business,” what better way to signal that Zimbabwe is open for international collaboration than by participating in one of the world’s biggest competitions,” she said.
Hunda said they had started the process of registering the competition.
Speaking at the same press conference, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Langa Lloyd Sibanda, said the return of Zimbabwe on the international scene was good news to the industry.
“I have pledged my full support to the organisation, coming from a background that I was once there, on such a stage,” she said. “I remember 27 years ago in Las Vegas, the US, that I represented Zimbabwe on that stage.
“It was a great opportunity coming from a rural background. It was something I never thought would happen for a Zimbabwean girl. It was exciting and daunting at the same time.
“Nobody called me Langa at the show, but they just shouted ‘Zimbabwe’. Congrats to the licence holders and let’s make it happen and I am happy for this.”