Is the end nigh for Miss Curvy?

HARARE - It never rains but it pours for Miss Curvy founder and former model Mercy Mushaninga whose properties keep getting auctioned over unpaid debts.

Mushaninga’s 2 000 square metre stand located in Charlotte Brooke is going under the hammer on April 10.

The imminent auction follows an earlier one that took place on January 20 this year which saw property belonging to Mushaninga and Zimgossip being auctioned off.

The property that went under the hammer at Ruby Auctions in the first auction included 29 office chairs, 13 four-piece computer sets, two computer desks, an office desk, two swivel chairs, a gold air portable air conditioner, four HP printers, an Epson printer and a two-piece computer set.

Both auctions are meant to clear a debt owed to Treasure Point Travel Tours.

Mushaninga, the founder of Zimgossip Modelling Agency which trades as Miss Curvy, attributes her woes to a botched sponsorship deal she claims she struck with a local beverage manufacturer which is now before the courts.

“The debt is for Miss Curvy Africa 2013 which was held at HICC on August 16, 2013,” Mushaninga told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I organised the event that attracted eight countries on the understanding that the sponsor would pay for all the advertising material and activities that included newspaper, billboards, radio, TV, fliers, posters and roadshows but the sponsorship never materialised.”

Given the mounting problems, many people are predicting that the end is nigh for the Miss Curvy pageant, the only local beauty contest meant for voluptuous women. So dire has been the situation at the pageant that Miss Curvy 2014 Sheila Chikengezha (19) as well as first princess Chantelle Jeradi (19) and second princess Chengetayi Mnisi (20) still haven’t received any prizes for coming out tops.

But a defiant Mushaninga insisted that her pageant would rise above the current problems.

“The auctions are affecting us in a big way but we are slowly picking up. The auctions will not in any force us to throw in the towel,” she said.

The former model said the pageant was going regional this year in spite of the challenges it is facing. The beauty contest, now dubbed Diamond Queen of Africa, will be held on September 11 at the Gaborone International Convention Centre in Botswana.

Mushaninga said the expansion into the region had nothing to do with the dearth of sponsorship in Zimbabwe.

“The reason we are taking it to Botswana is that we want to move it around Africa to promote tourism. I cannot say the lack of sponsorship in Zimbabwe, or the botched sponsorship deal in particular has pushed us out. We have always had plans of making it a continental pageant. Last year we were supposed to host it in Namibia, but the Ebola scourge derailed plans,” she told the Daily News on Sunday.

Mushaninga added that they will be working with Thuto Marebela, an experienced modelling professional in Botswana to hold the September 11 edition. The event is expected to feature plus-size models from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Nigeria, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Cameron and Mozambique.

She said her pageant was generating a lot of interest in many African countries.

“When they started Miss Curvy Zimbabwe in 2011 it was after I had come across many beautiful girls that wanted to be models but failed because of their full figures. The thrust of the pageant is appealing to many countries elsewhere in Africa,” said Mushaninga.

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