Dhlakama deserved better

HARARE - Media reports that Mary Chiwenga, the new Miss Zimbabwe Trust chairperson did not invite Bongani Dhlakama the Miss Zimbabwe 2012 who by default was still the reigning Miss Zimbabwe to the recent Miss Zimbabwe finals made some sad reading.

Bongani was the 2012-2013 queen, but there was no queen for 2013-2014 as Chiwenga postponed the finals alleging that she could not find enough ladies who met her set criteria.

In an interview with the Daily News this week, Chiwenga confirmed snubbing Dhlakama.

“Yes we did not invite her. She did not contact us. The thing is, we started on a new chapter and we have nothing to do with the previous organisers.”

I feel it was not polite for Chiwenga to say that and more so considering that it was not Dhlakama’s fault that there was no Miss Zimbabwe contest last year, but the Miss Zimbabwe Trust’s.

Chiwenga should actually have been grateful to Dhlakama who, without any financial resources, managed to keep the Miss Zimbabwe tag up until this year when the pageant was re-launched.

What was wrong then for Dhlakama to grace the event and hand over the title to Miss Zimbabwe 2014 winner?

I would have thought that Chiwenga, as a former model would have treated Dhlakama differently considering that her role now as chairperson of Miss Zimbabwe Trust is to uplift models and the modelling sector itself.

And there is everything to do with previous Miss Zimbabwe winners and even the organisers. The Miss Zimbabwe Trust Chiwenga is chairing now is an old institution whose history and achievements cannot just be washed away so easily.

Miss Zimbabwe Trust is a big family and that family comprises past winners since the contest was launched years back.

It is foolhardy for Chiwenga to want to discard everything that has been Miss Zimbabwe all these years to tell us that she is starting afresh.

I do not see how the new chairperson can just suddenly pretend there was no Miss Zimbabwe before and that she is bringing in a whole new concept and brand for the pageant.

Miss Zimbabwe is bigger than Chiwenga and she should not forget that she was also a model fighting for beauty titles, I see no reason why she had to embarrass Dhlakama the way she did.

An invitation to the outgoing Miss Zimbabwe could not have killed nor could it have spoilt Chiwenga and her team’s fun on the day. Instead, the participating 15 contestants could have cherished Dhlakama’s presence.

I would like to urge Chiwenga to build a family at the Miss Zimbabwe Trust and not to stir divisions as we are already starting to witness.

While she re-launched the Miss Zimbabwe beauty contests, she should be reminded that hers is not a new event or concept, but a continuation of what other former chairpersons of the Miss Zimbabwe Trust built.

I would have loved to see 10 or more former Miss Zimbabwe title holders gracing the just ended Miss Zimbabwe finals because all the past winners still exist, and the pageant is their family.

The former Miss Zimbabwe title holders did Zimbabwe proud during their reign and their contribution cannot just be wished away like that.

How will former queens get jobs or assignments if they are not recognised? Should it not be the former queens who are supposed to be employed to groom contestants while in boot camp since they have been there and have the experience?

The former Miss Zimbabwe queens deserve better, they deserve their place and should be respected.

While Chiwenga and her team might be happy that they pulled off the finals, it was really out of order in beauty pageants that  the new queen could not be crowned by the outgoing queen, but by the Minister of Water and Environment, Savior Kasukuwere.

There is a lot that Chiwenga will have to learn from others and more so past Miss Zimbabwe contestants.

I hope she will quickly learn to embrace others within the world of modelling and beauty who might also not share her vision of running the Miss Zimbabwe Trust.

And she should always remember that Miss Zimbabwe is a public and national event that should not be personalised.

Otherwise, I wish Chiwenga and the new Miss Zimbabwe all the success. As for the new Miss Zimbabwe, Thambiso Phiri, I urge you to engage with Dhlakama, she is your sister and has a lot of tips to share with you about the world of beauty and the Miss World experiences.

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