Last month on the 29th of April 2016 Sarah Mpofu the head of Fingers Modelling Agency launched a spectacular well-choreographed show at the inaugural Miss Africa Zimbabwe leg. A newbie beauty contest, Miss Africa is an internationally recognized pageant which is gaining traction from all over Africa attracting over 28 countries to date. With its head office in Botswana the pageant seeks to redefine African pageantry and according to the local organiser and maven Sarah Mpofu to “uplift the plight of the girl child, and to highlight the true reflection of an African beauty queen. This is in view of the fact that African models have often fallen short of being crowned at many western beauty pageants. Without undermining the pageants that have led the way, the pageant aims to use the celebration of true African beauty and depth to address Africa’s woes, unite Africa and is also unique in the fact that it gives a different lease of life to girls/ women who are often side lined in many pageants and some modelling avenues. A good example is girls who have had a child but have never been married or engaged to be married can participate in the pageant.”
The entertainment showcased a coterie of Zimbabwe’s foremost urban talent in Calvin the local hip hop king, veteran songstress/dancer Sandra Ndebele, Prayersoul, Guluva and Mzoe 7. Of course the audience was treated to sterling exhibitions of stagecraft. Other performers were the likes of drumming ensemble Drums of Peace led by drumming guru Lewis Ndlovu, Babongile Sikhonjwa (who doubled as master of ceremonies) and Khuliyo. Whilst Zimbabwean hip hop king Calvin gave a well to do account of himself amongst the urban performers, it was an Afro beat muso that stole the show. It was during his set that the audience stood up to dance uninvited. It was magic to behold, an adulterated moment of showbiz savvy as the crowd connected organically with rising showman Mzoe 7 as he moved the audience to “Shake their kilimanjaros” in the song “Kwasa kwasa”. I heard others wonder out loud whether he would sing his other hit “Dollar Bag”. Dance queen Sandra and Khuliyo not to be outdone served up a groovy collabo which also had the crowd on their feet in ecstatic dance. Everything flowed seamlessly except for one glitch: a temporary power outrage during the Q&A final moment which was thankfully rectified. Operating since 1989, Fingers Academy, a modelling agency based in Bulawayo Zimbabwe were chosen to host the prestigious Miss Africa Zimbabwe pageant that culminated with twenty mostly gorgeous ladies battling for top honours at the inaugural Miss Africa Zimbabwe beauty pageant. The girls had been selected via modelling agency partners from different provinces of the country which include the metropolitan city of Harare, metropolitan city of Bulawayo, Midlands, Masvingo, Victoria Falls, Kariba and Beitbridge.
At the end of the night, the self-assured and buxom Hararian Maita Kainga age 22 and an economics major at Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University walked away with the crown with prizes including 15 000 rands and several hampers. First princess was fashionista and fashion design school graduate Danai Pawandiwa aged 26 from Bulawayo and Zanele Ncube aged 21 from Esigodini. The winner gains automatic entry to Miss Africa International. Contributing fashion designers for the pageant included celebrated Zimbabwean designer Saneliso Mpofu of Sanaa Designs, Bridget Mukaro, Tapfumaneyi Munenge, Annie G, Clix, Sdue and Iphithulinkosi Nkomo lended their skills to see the girls decked in superlative original garments. Names of models – Ashley Morgan, Sithabile Mahlaba, Princess Mpofu, Nomagugu T Mkwebu, Bionica Dana, Zandile T Ncube , Christabel Tshuma, Lerato Nare, Danai Pawandipa , Fungai Ncube, Marizana Murashiki, Vuyokazi Sibanda, Pamela Sibanda Carole Ngwarai, Maita k Kainga.