BY SINDISO DUBE
ORGANISERS of the prestigious Miss Tourism Zimbabwe (MTZ) have crowned second-year Lupane State University student, Chipo Mandiudza as queen without holding a contest.
The search for MTZ queen was cancelled in 2019 after some of the 19 finalists were injured in a road accident in Vumba on their way to Eden Lodge for a boot camp.
Without going to contest, the 21-year-old, Mandiudza studying towards a degree in marketing was hand-picked and crowned the MTZ queen on Tuesday night at a ceremony held in Bulawayo.
Mandiudza is set to represent Zimbabwe in the Miss Tourism International that will be held virtually on December 15.
The pageant licence holder, Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, who has been locked down in Australia since 2019 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, said due to pressure from Miss Tourism International, they had to choose a queen without hosting a contest.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on all industries and the beauty, fashion and modelling industry has not been spared. As Miss Tourism Zimbabwe we were led into a forced sabbatical of course coupled with the after effects of the 2019 MTZ horrible accident,” she said.
“In an all-fairness gesture, we decided to give a first refusal offer to the 2019 finalists. Consideration and engagements done, only a few responded with some unfortunately having reached the cut-off age, some married or engaged and others now mothers.”
Mpofu-Sibanda said the queen was chosen by a panel of local and international judges.
“From the few who sent in their documents and fell within the Miss Tourism International criteria for judging, a winner was identified by our highly able national and international judges,” she said.
“The judges included former beauty queens and businesswoman, Lorraine Maphala-Phiri, Nokuthaba Sibanda Manungo, Sibusisiwe Dube, who is also the chairperson of MTZ, an internationally acclaimed model based in Germany, Marble Nyathi and Godfrey Koti, a model who is currently the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority spokesperson.”
Mandiudza said it was her dream to get an opportunity to represent the country on a global ramp.
“I am overwhelmed, confused, happy and nervous. A lot of emotions are running within me. When I got the news that I was the chosen one, I was shocked, but I thought that it was my time now,” she said.
“It has always been in mind that one day I will achieve the spotlight and an opportunity to represent my country on a global stage. It was something that I had been praying for,
finally I have got it and will use it to make an impact in the lives of the youth.”
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