The Sunday News
Nothando Ndhlovu Sunday Leisure Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN pageant organisers have teamed up with other pageant co-ordinators from across Africa to come up with the first ever Miss Africa pageant. Miss Africa chief executive officer Bruce Nkgakile and former Miss Botswana-cum model-scout Boingotlo Motlalekgosi were in Bulawayo a fortnight ago to introduce the pageant in Zimbabwe. They met modelling legends Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda and Nokuthaba Manhungo, as well as former Miss Bulawayo Sizi Mpala, former Mr Bulawayo Elvis Sibanda and Talent Mpofu who are part of Miss Africa Zimbabwe team.
“This event will be a true reflection of African beauty, as we will not have any Western cultural practices at the show. For example instead of models wearing bikinis they will wear African attire such as amabhetshu (animal hides),” said Nkgakile.
He emphasised how the pageant seeks to redefine African pageantry, as African models have often fallen short in relation to Western beauty standards.
Nkgakile said they hoped to rope in 54 countries by 26 December as the concept had received an overwhelming response from all over Africa.
“We often see Westerners embracing our culture and wearing our clothes. Beyoncé wearing amabhetshu or Rihanna wearing South African traditional attire makes headlines across the globe but our people do not embrace that. If you go to Miss World, models wear bikinis and we sell ourselves short by trying to fit in and doing the same when it is not part of who we are. We want to sell Africa in its form,” said Nkgakile.
The pageant is also unique in the sense that women who are often side lined in the modelling industry will get a chance to participate.
Women who have had children before can participate as long as they are not married or engaged to be married.
The pageant will also use a different yardstick for age, height and weight.
“We are looking for models who are 165cm and above, as well as those who are between the ages of 17 and 27. We are not looking for skinny models,” said Boingotlo Motlalekgosi, Miss Africa’s chief judge and talent scout.
Motlalekgosi said the Zimbabwean Miss Africa representative should be able to speak all the official Zimbabwean languages and be abreast with current affairs.
“Miss Africa Zimbabwe should be well versed on the issues of the day and what affects her country. Often when models go to England and other Western countries, you will learn that foreigners are more informed about the basic things and issues of that country compared to the contestant.
“These girls should make people fall in love with their country,” said Motlalekgosi.
Legendary modelling instructor and Miss Zimbabwe organiser Mpofu-Sibanda said the pageant would give Zimbabwe the opportunity to improve its modelling standards.
Mpofu-Sibanda said they would soon host provincial Miss Africa Zimbabwe preliminaries in order to scout for talent and introduce the pageant to the country.
In the past 64 years, only two African countries have won the Miss World title, with one of them being black.
This has often raised eyebrows, with African countries crying foul.
This has resulted in a number of pageant organisers talking of hosting an African pageant of the same magnitude as international pageants.