Ready to roll . . . Miss World Zimbabwe finalists in swimwear at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls

Ready to roll . . . Miss World Zimbabwe finalists in swimwear at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls

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Mtandazo Dube – Leisure Editor

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VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour at this year’s rebranded five-star Miss World Zimbabwe to be held at Mermaids Pool in Shamva this Saturday, in a clear sign that organisers of the pageant have upped the stakes.

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Interestingly, the boot camp for the contestants was held in the resort town of Victoria Falls while the finals will also be held at another tourist destination, Mermaids Pool.

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Running under the theme “Probity”, the event remains a black tie event with a US$300 price tag for an individual ticket and US$3 000 for a table.

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However, glitz and glamour is not the only appeal at the event — organisers of the show have pulled all the stops to ensure that the remaining finalists are the best Zimbabwe can offer.

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RELATED: Chiwenga blasts Kasukuwere

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From the initial 91 models that were set to get into boot camp on March 27, only 57 made it after the rest arrived late and were instantly turned away while some failed to put together minimum requirements to compete. By Tuesday last week only 15 models were still in boot camp after a few others voluntarily dropped out after failing to stand the heat. “One of them actually said that the competition was too tough for her,” said Mrs Marry Chiwenga, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson.

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The 15 finalists returned to the capital last week for their final leg of the grooming course before the finals this weekend.

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After a gruelling weekend, which saw the models attend a sashaying ceremony and the Independence Celebrations — the finalists will today have time to unwind when they are hosted for a braai at Eldorado Farm.

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The rest of the week will be dedicated to fine-tuning the girls in every aspect with one-on-one engagements with the judges set to take place this Thursday.

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Mrs Chiwenga said the models were being taken through the same paces as the programme at the Miss World finals.

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“This training that they have undergone, including these final touch-ups this week, is the same as Miss World activities. A model has to be emotionally, mentally and physically ready for the challenge if they have any hope of representing their country well.

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“On Thursday, for instance, they will have one-on-one encounters with the judges. This is a pre-judging ceremony where they will be scrutinised and interrogated thoroughly to ensure that they are 100 percent ready for the show on Saturday,” said Mrs Chiwenga.

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Unlike last year’s event, which had numerous artistes performing on the night — on Saturday Leonard Zhakata will be the star attraction. In between Zhakata’s performances will be little known band, In Total Dreams, while Trevor Dongo will sing the grand finale song for the finalists.

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Before the main event, which will be televised live on national broadcaster ZBC TV from 8.30pm, a two-hour cocktail and tour of Mermaids Pool will take place.

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“We wanted to make it a cocktail hour but we have realised that since we want those attending the event to also enjoy the Mermaids Pool itself, which is a tourist resort — an hour would not be enough,” said Mrs Chiwenga.

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The former top model emphasised that the event is still a black tie event and will take in only 600 guests. “Tables are running out and those seriously interested should immediately contact us or go to the Miss World Zimbabwe head office in Eastlea.”

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Miss World Zimbabwe programmes and communications manager Tendai Chirau, however, said that members of the Press from accredited media houses would have a place at the five-star pageant.

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“All members of the media that will be accredited just have to find their way to the venue — everything will be taken care of,” said Chirau.

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In terms of prizes to be won by the models — Mrs Chiwenga said there were slight changes. She said in line with recommendations from their stakeholders, the Miss Zimbabwe Trust was this year upping the stakes by heaping most of the gifts on the winner.

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“This is a winner takes all. Almost all of the gifts will go to the winner because we want every contestant to fight for the crown. While the first and second princesses will also walk away with little tokens — they should know that real money is in being the queen.”

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Like last year, the People’s Choice Award will still be conducted via an SMS platform and will cost 20 cents per message.

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The RED flags . . .
Following last year’s Miss Zimbabwe debacle, here are the red flags noted so far:
>> The prizes for winners have not yet been confirmed
>> Some contestants are dropping out voluntarily — are we not likely to see a repeat of last year’s drama where the country had more than one queen in one term?
>> Miss Zimbabwe is alienating the generality of Zimbabweans and most people now view it as elitist
>> How national is the supposed national event?