By Sindiso Dube
THE annual Zanu PF national conference has forced the Mr and Miss Rural pageant for Matabeleland South province to be postponed with organisers saying sponsors and partners were tied up preparing for the event.
The conference will run from October 26 to 31, with some of the party leaders converging at Bindura University of Science Education in Mashonaland Central while senior provincial party leaders will follow proceedings from designated centres in the country’s provinces virtually.
The pageant run by Sipho Mazibuko, was re-launched this year after a 14-year sabbatical.
It was supposed to kick off with the provincial finals for Matabeleland South in Filabusi yesterday.
Mazibuko recently swore allegiance to the ruling party and according to sources most of the resources for the pageant are being channelled through Zanu PF.
“We won’t be having our opening provincial search in Filabusi as planned because some of our partners and sponsors that we are working with are tied up at the moment preparing for the Zanu PF annual conference,” Mazibuko told Standard Style.
“However, we have moved the Matebeleland South search to November 26, meaning we will kick off the provincial searches with Matabeleland North province on November 13.”
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She added that her organisation will empower queens from district to national level with skills and funds to run their respective projects.
“At Miss Rural Zimbabwe we will empower them with knowledge and fund their respective projects,” Mazibuko said.
“We don’t want our beautiful queens to just wear crowns.
“We are not like other pageants where models are promised cash and cars.
“As we go to the national finals, I expect to get them funding for boreholes. I want the queens to have solar-powered boreholes at their homes.
“We are getting them water sources so that they don’t spend a lot of time going to the river fetching the precious liquid.”
The pageant recently got a nod from government and will be working closely with the Youth and Tourism ministries.
Miss Rural Zimbabwe was founded in 2003 by Mazibuko and stopped in 2007.
Efforts to rescucitate it hit a brick due to alleged controversy that surrounded it, including embezzelment of funds and abuse of girls, among other issues.