THE iconic Miss Rural Zimbabwe beauty pageant is set to bounce back after a 17-year hiatus triggered by the country's economic meltdown, the organisers have announced.

The pageant organisers, Mental Voices Trust, confirmed the development in a statement early this morning.

“We are thrilled to announce the return of the prestigious Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant. After a hiatus due to economic challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic, this iconic event will once again celebrate the beauty, talent and community spirit of young women from rural areas across Zimbabwe.

"The last fully-fledged edition was held in 2007 in Masvingo and was won by Nyasha Cherine Phiri of Gokwe Nembudziya from the Midlands province,” read part of the statement.

The Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant is open to all rural-based Zimbabwean girls aged between 18 and 25 years who have never been married and have no children. Contestants must have a 100% rural background, natural hair and looks. 

According to the organisers, the one-of-a-kind beauty contest provides a platform for extraordinary young women to showcase their unique qualities and inspire others in their communities.

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"We are thrilled to bring back the Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant and provide a stage for rural young women to shine. As a woman with a strong rural background, I know the power of emancipation from the grassroots level," said Sipho Mazibuko, founder and chief executive officer of Mental Voices Trust.

"This event is more than just a beauty competition, it's an opportunity to empower, uplift, and celebrate the incredible talent and potential of our rural youth. We are also thrilled to incorporate young men within the same age bracket and residential setting."

She emphasized that Miss Rural is a strategic effort to recognise potentially marginalised rural youths.

Casting venues and dates for the Miss Rural Zimbabwe pageant will be announced soon, allowing aspiring contestants to register and begin their journey towards the coveted crown.                                                                                             

The pageant will be taken to all the country's 10 provinces to ensure equal opportunities to everyone and will also feature a variety of competitions and challenges including talent showcases, interviews and cultural presentations that are all designed to highlight the multifaceted abilities of the participants.