Miss Zim contestant inspires mentor

HARARE - If Dorothy Mathe wins Miss World Zimbabwe 2017 tonight, it will be the ultimate triumph over diversity for her mentor- Miss Strides Supermodel founder Sipho Mazibuko.

Dorothy, who is among 16 girls vying to be national queen at Borrowdale Brooke Golf Course tonight, was among 12 models who graduated this year after being groomed by Mazibuko who had quit running Miss Strides Supermodel in 2007 due to a battle with a bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, which is also known as manic depression, is a mental illness involving episodes of serious mania and depression.

Mazibuko credits Dorothy for persuading her to revive Miss Strides Supermodel.

“Dorothy brought me out of retirement. She approached me for grooming and at first I turned her down because I felt I was done with the industry after all my difficulties with Miss Rural Zimbabwe and my eventual nervous breakdown,” she told the Daily News.

The Miss Strides Supermodel founder, who also created the defunct Miss Rural pageant, added that she was immediately blown away by Dorothy’s beauty.

“She was so tall, majestic, cultured and very friendly. Immediately my passion for modelling was ignited and I took on her challenge and request for grooming. She joined my first class and as predicted she graduated top of the class,” said Mazibuko, who is convinced that Dorothy will give a good account of herself tonight.

“When the time for Miss Zimbabwe castings came up early this year, she told me she wanted to try but had never been to Harare and didn’t know anyone there. I arranged transport for her and asked my sister to take care of her

“I feel she is in good hands with Marry Chiwenga and wish her all the best in her pursuit of the title tonight. By merely participating, she has already won,” she told the Daily News.

Mazibuko said her return to the modelling industry was ample proof that mental illness “is just like having any disease or condition you can think of.”

“You take your medication everyday and if you do that you basically lead a normal life. Mental illness is not a curse but simply a hurdle in life that can be overcome.

“I haven't started on sensitising people or communities about mental health because am doing one thing at a time. I will work on Miss Strides Supermodel first then people can really see that mental illness is nothing but a hiccup in life,” said the Miss Supermodel founder has groomed models such as former Miss Zimbabwe Lorraine Maphala and ex-Miss Summer Strides winner Sibusisiwe Dube.

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