Report by Melissa Mpofu.
The pageant, which will be held ahead of the inaugural Zimbabwe International Carnival, will see 23 contestants drawn from different provinces converging in Harare for the camp. A sashing ceremony for the contestants selected through the open casting auditions in all the provinces will be held on Friday at the Rainbow Towers Hotel.
The contestants are Hilda Mabu, Tendai Hunda, Chiedza Muteyiwa, Thabiso Phiri, Dananai Chipunza, Melissa Chaka, Chantel Georg, Nyaradzo Nhongonhema, Rumbidzayi Machipanda, Victoria Ndudzo, Mitchell Bingepinge, Heather Masimba, Chenai Chaendera, Blessing Mukumene, Victoria Chadarikire, Paidamoyo Muzondo, Tsitsi Shoniwa, Charmaine Dhliwayo, Fungai Mazhambe, Primrose Peterson, Michelle Tembo, Nokwazi Chikanya, and Marble Nyathi.
During camp, the contestants will be equipped with business etiquette techniques, grooming and deportment lessons, and be exposed to presentations from various key speakers on tourism related programmes as the winner will be the country’s beauty ambassador.
They will also travel to Masvingo where they will tour the Great Zimbabwe monument.
The contest will be held under the theme: “Celebrating the beauty of our diversity” in line with the Zimbabwe International Carnivals’ theme: “Celebrating our diversity”. Those who will attend will pay $5 to watch the pageant while VIP tickets have been pegged at $15.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) spokesperson, Sugar Chagonda said the Carnival Queen pageant concept was borrowed from Brazil and Seychelles who have hosted successful pageants.
“The Carnival Queen concept was borrowed from other countries who host carnivals. The queen is used to lead the carnival procession and we will also do that at our carnival,” Chagonda said.
He added that ZTA was impressed by the quality of models they had shortlisted to compete for the crown. Judges were strict on their selection as they only took models with five “O” Level passes and above unlike other pageants where one’s educational background was not considered.
Chagonda re-affirmed Carnival Queen Zimbabwe’s prizes, saying the winner would win a vehicle and walk away with not less than $20 000.
ZTA has teamed up with organisers of the Miss Heritage World (MHW) pageant, a move which will see Carnival Queen Zimbabwe First princess being crowned Miss Heritage Zimbabwe. She will represent Zimbabwe at the MHW final to be held locally for the first time in August.