The Miss Tourism Zimbabwe finals will for the first time since inception in 2005 be held in Bulawayo. The pageant has always been held in Harare. Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Mail Society last week, new MTZ national licence holder Sarah Mpofu said her “plan is for Harare and Bulawayo to take turns to host the event” The following are excerpts of the interview with our Senior Leisure Reporter Prince Mushawevato.
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Q: How long have you been involved in the modelling industry?
A: I have been involved in this industry since 1986 when I graduated as a model. But in 1989 I began training models with a mission of pushing the modelling industry further. I felt our African people did not understand the concept behind modelling.
Modelling was misconstrued as being a thing for the low moral people. I am glad though that three decades later much has changed. Our own Government has even embraced modelling as a tourism tool.
Q: What are your plans with MTZ?
A: In my capacity as MTZ licence holder, I will be taking the pageant back to the grassroots. I will be conducting the beauty contest in the country’s 10 provinces.
I have picked regional licence holders, some of them who happen to be former beauty queens, the likes of Caroline Marufu to conduct provincial competitions in areas like Victoria Falls, Bindura, Mutare, Masvingo, Chinhoyi, Marondera, Harare, Beitbridge, and Bulawayo.
We will be getting two contestants from each province for the finals but Harare and Bulawayo will have three contestants since they are bigger and metropolitan provinces.
So basically we will have a minimum of 22 contestants. I want to revive the pageant and get it to or even surpass standards that were set by the late Kiki Divaris who happens to be my icon.
Q: When and where will the MTZ finals be held?
A: The MTZ licence has been given to someone from Bulawayo and I’m saying let me give the people from this province.
Most of whom were never able to attend a national beauty pageant, the opportunity to feel that they own this event.
So we are going to host this year’s event here in Bulawayo and we want it to coincide with the annual Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel Expo that will be held here in September.
Q: Have you secured sponsors for the event?
A: We are still working on the issue of sponsorship. Our hope is that those that had lost faith in modelling will once again discover the need to come and work with us.
The idea is for us to get adequate resources so that we try and pick a suitable girl who will be able to market our country.
Q: Are they any chances of re-engaging South African magnate and former MTZ sponsor, Justice Maphosa?
A: I would not want to comment on that at the moment. All I’m saying is our begging bowl is open to everyone who still believes in this industry.
We want people (companies or individuals) that can help us in whatever way.
Resources are needed because our girls will need to travel, they will need to be groomed, food, clothing etcetera while in camp.
Q: As the founder and owner of Fingers Modelling Agency, will you not be biased towards your models at MTZ?
A: I have owned a modelling agency since 1989 and most of the girls that have gone on to win Miss Zimbabwe or Miss Tourism Zimbabwe are from my modelling agency.
I believe in fair and clear judgement not favouritism.
Last year I held Miss Africa Zimbabwe here in Bulawayo and my models did enter but the girl who won was from Harare.
I have worked with the Kiki Divaris-led Miss Zimbabwe and MTZ in the past and my girls have equally won and lost in the competitions. Basically I’m saying I believe in fair play and will not influence results in whatever way.
Q: What do you aim to achieve during your reign as MTZ national licence holder?
A: I want to bring sanity to this industry and I also hope to get people to realise modelling is not for the less learned or those of loose morals.
Across borders pageants have been won by independent women who are learned, some doctors.
I also need to make these ladies understand that they do not need to sleep with anyone for them to win.
In that regard I also wish to make sure that man do not abuse models.
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