Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
THE natural look is being accepted globally and Zimbabwe must embrace it. This is the sentiment of local pageant organiser, Mercy “Catwalk” Mushaninga, who for the past two years has been attending the Miss South Africa beauty pageant.
Mushaninga is the founder of Miss Curvy Zimbabwe and Miss Tourism Zimbabwe licence holder for four provinces, namely Harare Metropolitan, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West. Through her ZimGossip Models agency, she has produced models such as Malaika Mushandu who have gone on to represent the country well at the Miss World contest where she made the top 10.
Last Saturday, Mushaninga was part of the crowd at the Sun Arena, Time Square in Pretoria where she witnessed Tamaryn Green of Western Cape crown her successor Zozibini Tunzi of Eastern Cape. Tunzi was lauded by many as she spotted short natural hair with her glitzy crown, something that Mushaninga said Zimbabweans should embrace.
“Most of the ladies on stage had a natural look and I realised that they promoted natural hair. They weren’t shy to be on camera with their hair. The winner actually had a short cut and another runner up had dreadlocks,” said Mushaninga.
During the pageant, one model Kgothatso Dithebe, who had a unique facial birthmark, was one of the stars of the show and made top five. In Zimbabwe, Mushaninga said she likely would not have made it through the first round of auditions because of her birthmark.
“There was someone (Dithebe) who had a facial mark. This was a first for me because back home, when you have a scar, you can’t enter Miss Zimbabwe or Miss Tourism Zimbabwe. In South Africa, the one who had a scar actually made it into the semi-finals and everyone was really surprised,” said Mushaninga.
What also struck Mushaninga during the pageant, was how the audience was well disciplined.
“The crowd was disciplined as there was a time they cheered, but at crucial moments like question and answer, they were quiet and attentive. They actually give each model the chance to give her answer to the judges without interrupting which is commendable.”
Time keeping, she said, was important and she was impressed that everything started and ended on time.
“Everything was seamless. The event started on time and there was a lot of time for people who wanted to pose on the red carpet and all,” she said.
The modelling guru said she has been attending Miss SA to take notes from the pageant that has produced a Miss World – Rolene Strauss.
“This was the second time and I funded the trip from my own pocket. I wanted to see if there was something different from what I’d seen last year. Indeed there was a great improvement. They seem to improve every year,” said Mushaninga.
Another thing she learnt and admired was the way sponsors fell over each other with the winner driving off in a Mercedes Benz C300 Cabriolet and receiving prize monies worth R3 million.
For years, Mushaninga said they have been writing to big corporates in Zimbabwe requesting for sponsorship without any luck.
“Sponsorship at Miss South Africa was amazing. They sponsor and partner with them. The winner drove away with a brand new Mercedes Benz and I wonder what we’re lacking here as there’s a Mercedes Benz dealership in Zimbabwe whom we’ve written letters to.
“Perhaps we haven’t gotten to the stage that they want. If that’s the case, they should advise us and tell us how to get there,” said a concerned Mushaninga.
She said she wished the good times when South Africa’s Big Time Strategic Group sponsored Miss Tourism Zimbabwe would come back.
“When Big Time Events sponsored Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, I thought we were now going somewhere in the industry. That (pageant) was world class. That’s the corporate sponsorship we long for where all the models leave with something significant (each model was given USD$1 000 for participating),” said Mushaninga.