Zimbabwe returns to Miss Universe pageant

It is good news for the local modelling industry as Zimbabwe is set to resume participating at the Miss Universe pageant following 22 years of absence.

The last model to take part at the show in 2001 was Tsungai Muswerakuenda, while Corrine Crew is the highest placed Zimbabwean representative at Miss Universe as she made it to the top 10 in 2000.

The last person to have the licence holder for Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant was Yvette D’Almeida Chakras, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe 1994.

Chakras’ whereabouts is still sketchy or what happened with the licence.

But sources said because of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, the pageant got entangled into the politics, hence Chakras could not afford the licence anymore, resulting in the pageant dying a natural death.

This year, former Miss Zimbabwe 2014, Tendai Hunda, who has been battling for the licence, won the right to host the pageant locally, and she will be sending a representative to the world stage.

The date has been set for the local edition of the pageant and preparations are at an advanced stage to crown the representative.

The question that is bound to be asked o is: Will Zimbabwe return its lost glory in the modelling industry through Miss Universe?

Those in beauty pageant business have repeatedly noted that Zimbabwe is full of talented and beautiful women from both rural and urban areas.

But these had lost hope over abuse of pageants, not receiving prizes on time and or being  respected as an industry itself.

Henceforth then the calibre of girls who then end up taking part will not be committed,  doing it for fun.

Who is to blame, this is just about bravery, brains and beauty and letting the girl child shine, but somehow their dreams are shattered after mismanagement either from organisations or models themselves.

Is the new crop of models different from yesteryear models or is it because of the advent of social media?

Miss Universe is the largest pageant after Miss World and the most popular in the world with the biggest viewership and millions of subscribers across the globe.

All the best to the new licence holder as she takes up the torch to light up for Zimbabwe.

Who is representing Zimbabwe at Miss Universe 2023 to be held in El Salvador in 2024 as the pageant draws near?

Miss Universe 2023 will be the 72nd edition of the pageant and R’Bonney Gabriel of the United States will crown her successor.

According to the Miss Universe 2023 page, contestants from six continents and territories have been selected to compete in the competition.

“One of these delegates was appointed to the position after being a runner-up of their national pageant or being selected through a casting process.

“This edition will mark the debut of Pakistan; and the returns of Bangladesh, Egypt, Guyana, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway, and Zimbabwe.”

“Zimbabwe last competed in 2001; Latvia last competed in 2006; Guyana last competed in 2017; Bangladesh, Egypt, Mongolia, and New Zealand last competed in 2019; meanwhile the others last competed in 2021,” read the statement.

“From this edition onwards, the Miss Universe Organisation will allow married women and women with children to be contestants.”

Again for Zimbabwean models it is also a plus as mothers are allowed to take part, as of late we have married female models who are doing great locally. One just has to fit the criteria and requirements.

In an interview with The Herald Arts, newly appointed national director Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Hunda said she was happy to acquire the licence and it is a dream come true for her.

“It’s a celebration for Zimbabwe as returning on the world’s largest and most popular platform means that the country has been opened up to being a part of a global inclusive platform that celebrates all cultures, backgrounds and religions.

“I acquired the licence in April. Miss Universe is a global spectacle that captures the attention and viewership of millions of people every year. The return of Zimbabwe to the Miss Universe stage provides a platform to come together with other nations and foster positive relationships between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, thus promoting peace, unity and cooperation.”

Hunda said the Miss Universe Zimbabwe has also opened doors for the world to explore our different cultures and gain insight into our values, behavioural patterns and society.

Preparations are already at an advanced stage for the pageant to choose the winner who will represent the country on the global stage.

“For the first edition of this return of Miss Universe we are going to be hosting auditions in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe. The idea being to be inclusive to all young women, especially in marginalised areas who have for the longest waited for this opportunity.”

“We are also opening up to all Zimbabweans in the diaspora to sign up via the website. We will run an online competition and from that pool we will also choose representatives for the coronation night,” Hunda said.

She confirmed September 9 as the date to crown Miss Universe.

“Before that on May 27, Miss Universe Zimbabwe will officially launch at a celebration and launch dinner in Harare. The Miss Universe Zimbabwe team urges all corporate, private entities and Government institutions and officials to support this cause as this is an event of national interest.”

Hunda decided to get the licence because there was a lot of untapped talent.

“I decided to host the pageant because having Zimbabwe back on the Miss Universe stage has so many positive connotations as this will reunite the country with the rest of the world. Zimbabwe has been opened up to being a part of a global platform that celebrates all cultures, backgrounds and religions,” she said.

Hunda, who only participated as far as Miss World, testified that only four Zimbabweans went to Miss Universe in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2001.

Credit: The Herald

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