Mr Ugly must fall


If there is anything that has brought shame and ridicule in bucketloads to Zimbabwe, it must be the Mr Ugly pageant, which has attracted the global media’s attention.

NewsDay Comment

Pageants are by their nature supposed to be a rich and spectacular affair, but all these attributes are missing from the Mr Ugly, which is derogatory and insulting for both the participants and the country at large.

While the organisers of the show might initially have wanted a few kicks, this pageant has now outlived its usefulness and should be canned.

We can only guess what inspired it, but at this stage the inspiration is irrelevant and unhelpful.

What is more worrisome is that there seemed to be a kerfuffle over who was the ugliest between the runner-up and the eventual winner and we wonder if this is what we have been reduced to, a country that squabbles over who the ugliest person is.

The pageant is extensively self-deprecating, flying in the face of the ethos of most Zimbabweans, a proud lot who – even in the face of insurmountable problems – soldier on, trying to forge a better future.

While some may find the pageant harmless fun and comic relief during the country’s trying times, discerning people should be appalled at and the damage it is causing to Brand Zimbabwe.

Most international media outlets on Sunday and Monday reported on the Mr Ugly show, not as a spectacle to be enjoyed, but with derisory scorn.


The pageant is stereotypical and clichéd and except for the few participants, we are certain most Zimbabweans will not miss it if it were canned.

There are more things to celebrate and we can expend our energies on other pageants that are struggling to get sponsorship, rather than this show that denigrates us and reduces us to a global joke.

As advocates of free speech and association, we cannot call for the banning of the pageant, but we believe there is a fair case for the organisers to can it, for the greater good of the country.

To add insult to injury, the pageant mainly attracts poor people, who are so desperate for money that they are willing to do anything they can just to earn a few dollars.

It is an indictment on the country’s economic policies that poverty has dehumanised people so much they are willing to be the butt of such a disparaging pageant.

The publicity it generates is not complimentary for the country and it ensures we continue to be the laughing stock.

It is also disconcerting that the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) thinks it is a noble idea to partner the pageant and add value to it.

We are gobsmacked how ZTA can describe this ghastly event as entertaining and interesting, when ordinary Zimbabweans can see that it is anything but.

The event attracted a lot of media attention, not because of its value, but rather in the same manner scavengers are attracted to the stench of a dying animal.

The media attention is driven by at best voyeurism, where the international community is puzzled at how people can stoop so low to celebrate ugliness.

We have to reiterate that we are not calling for any legislative intervention, but we hope the organisers may see the light and realise their pageant is more harmful than helpful.


  1. fuckjust f***** off and leave mr ugly alone! You pple are busy murdering pple, dissapperances, torturing, poisoning elephants, grabbing companies, job losses, unemployment etc … and of all these things….you have beef with a silly ugliness show as dammaging to a non existant brand zimbabwe? comeon! let pple have some fun in this country where everyday is just suffering! It is entertaining. If it doesnt entertain you, thats your problem but those who attended and follow it do it for entertainment.

  2. I see nothing wrong with the pageant, it’s a very innovative way of Entertaining and should be supported even by media as it promotes tourism.

  3. In America,they legalised gay marriage and I wonder what is your take on that one.Think upright,what is more denigrating and dehumanising here between these two (Mr Ugly contest and gay marriage).I hope you wrote an article criticizing gay marriage in the same manner that that you are critizing Mr ugly pageant.When things are done in Europe we applaud and talk of rights,back home when we come up with initiatives which are unique,we say we are embarrassing our nation

  4. “”If there is anything that has brought shame and ridicule in bucketloads to Zimbabwe”” its ZANU PF, ROBERT AND GRACE

  5. Its not Bad at all to participate freely in what you like. Zimbos are just keen on having standards and activities imposed on them by the West or by Dictatorial front runners. Asingazvifariri ngaaende kuma pageant evasikana vanotamba vasina kupfeka nduhwe

  6. There is absolutely nothing wrong in this pageant, its so entertaining as there is no one that has been jailed for being ugly, it seems the writer did not do his research very well, or worse still, has never attended such shows which are so humorous and entertaining.
    to show its substance, look at the number of participants and the amount of money that the winner(s) has taken home, that alone is testimony to its relevance.

  7. This article to me , is sad and i think the journo behind this article only wanted to show that he knows a few English words, while i marvel the writing skills in the article i am rather shocked by the fact that the journo lacks imagination.Mr Ugly is indeed a very good and noble entertaining event that in fact must be sponsored.This generation will forever be blamed for not thinking outside the box, and in such an environment someone comes up with such a innovative pageant.What is wrong with Mr Ugly,and seriously the statement ”If there is anything that has brought shame and ridicule in bucketloads to Zimbabwe” is misplaced and can only come from a demented writer who wants to parade his writing skills, surely in country with corruption, unemployment , one full assumed learned writer says Mr Ugly has brought shame to Zimbos.

    In a global world that host various festival from the Naked March to the Beer Fest surely Mr Ugly is as noble and indeed as decent and entertaining and must be applauded.

    Zvima Agenda Setting Zvenyu izvi zvekuti hama yako haina kuwinner, So as a writer you see irony in the fact that unemployed people took part rather than the fact that they are not employed, or their miseries as family man, their sacrifice of facing the public insults so that they win that 500 dollars>


  8. I completely disagree with the author of this article…. the contest is nothing to be ashamed of…. people participate by choice and the aim is definitely not to denigrate anyone… actually it helps to reduce the stigma associated with ugliness.

  9. For now, as long as ZPF is in power, I think the idea of a “Mr Ugly” contest is a noble idea. Zimbabweans, you Newsday included, claim to be learned but they are the most idiotic bunch on earth, who want to pretend that everything in the country is well when it is not. You want the pageant banned, simply because it brings derision to the country; but are we not in a messy situation?

    Zimbos pretend that every thing is well when it’s not. RGM has lied to you are these years that you are the most educated, the most literate, the most beautiful etc. No Zimbabwean can be compared to Alfonso Dhlakama, yet you claim to be better than him. You want to be called handsome, yet you are ugly. Most Zimbabweans are just ugly, like Masvinu, or much worse. Look on the streets where you live, and you will notice that the Prophet Job would have said about you if you were his children “My children are the ugliest, O Lord, please save me!”

  10. I dont find any insults on this idea but I can see recognition. Becoz ugliness is not only for Zimbabweans but something that we started like beauty contest from west, according to you I think you only find it normal when its coming from the European community llike pornography don’t you think thats an embarrassing act

  11. you are a joke. bcoz some “international media” are criticizing it doesnt mean zombos canthve their own thng. we love mr ugly n what has that got to do withevrythng you are mentioning. do you need to be validated by someone else so…we are who we are, zimbos and their mr ugly…

  12. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, but there is everything wrong with people paying Dr Parirenyatwa advance payment when they can’t pay their workers.

  13. kkkk newsday newsday yu pipo just dont have anything good to say about Zimbabwe do yu? as a Zimbabwean l thing mr ugly is original its something for us by us. hence the media frenzy

    • i do not see anything wrong with mr ugly. i will take you to task with Miss Zimbabwe, Miss Curvy, miss rural (now disbanded) where rural teenagers were sexually abused by the “elite” If something is critised by the so called international media, it does not make that thing wrong. Have something positive about Zimbabwe and Mr Ugly is a noble positive idea to start with. You should be suggesting what the Mr Ugly contest can improve on. If you disagree with something, please offer sound alternatives. Thank you.

  14. just because the writer is interest in miss world or zim or harare etc .please leave the organiser alone they are doing good job making zimbabwe read on international media.

  15. I never make comments but today I felt compelled to comment. I am proud to be Zimbabwean and I wouldn’t be ashamed to say that in my country we have such an event. It makes my country unique. Remember as well that when we were born we were given a lot of talents including our looks etc. If one chooses to use their beauty to contest in the usual contests it’s their choice. There is equally nothing wrong with those using their ugliness to earn a living. I remember the words of the wife of the previous winner and I quote ‘tinotenda Mwari nekushata kwababa kwakatiwanisa mari mumba’. I remember reading somewhere where it said his prize included money and school fees for his children. And later we saw his picture advertising some chemicals saying ‘Tauya kuipa!!’ Writer you have a right to your opinion but hey, zvandibata. Zimbabweans are making a living out of this and who cares what other countries think about us. Tisiyei nekushata kwedu. We need to introduce ladies as well to add the fun.

  16. Ashaya zvekunyora uyo ,much ado about nothing .Why does he believe that only things that he believes in should be celebrated.This is a free country and Mr Ugly is a decent contest which gives a chance to those blessed with the requisite looks to participate in.Mr Ugly forever!!!

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