THE highly anticipated 2019 Miss Tourism Zimbabwe final pageant, which was slated for Montclair Hotel and Casino in Nyanga on Saturday has been indefinitely postponed.
The postponement comes as a result of a tragic accident that occurred last night (Wednsday) in Vumba which resulted in nine finalists being injured and hospitalized.
According to the press release from the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe license holder Sarah Mpofu-Sibanda, a bus that was ferrying all the 19 Miss Tourism Zimbabwe contestants was involved in an accident on its way to Eden Lodge in Vumba last night. The transport had been provided by prominent Mutare based businessman cum politician Esau Mupfumi as part of his corporate social responsibility and sponsorship towards the national pageant.
As part of the beauty queens boot camp programme, the finalists were yesterday supposed to spend the night at Eden Lodge in Vumba after they had aborted a trip to ChimanimanI due to bad weather. “There was a mechanical problem with the bus resulting in the bus veering off the road. Nine finalists were injured in the accident and are admitted at Murambi Gardens Hospital in Mutare. They are all in a stable condition. We would like to thank the driver for his heroic efforts to control the bus. He really saved the day. He is also admitted at Murambi Gardens Clinic along with his chaperon,” read the press release which was released today (Thursday).
The finalists who were injured and are admitted at Murambi Gardens are Maria Makelve and Michelle Mupasi from Midlands Province, Rutendo Tilda Mafuratidze from Manicaland, Rutendo Amanda Taruvinga and Grace Karimupfumbi from Masvingo, Monalisa Ellen Tafirenyika from Matabeleland North, Maureen Gondwe from Mashonaland Central, Wendy Maturi from Mashonaland Central and Pauline Marere from Mashonaland West.
The license holder said while there have been many versions circulating on social media platforms about the accident, she wanted people to know the truth that the girls are stable and in high spirits. “Their families have been informed and we are grateful for their support,” she said in the presser.
“The girls are naturally still in shock, but stable and recovering. We are just waiting for the doctors to give their assessment of their conditions, so we won’t comment further on that. The 10 other Finalists are booked in a local hotel. In light of the above, the Finals which set were set for this Saturday have been postponed to a date and venue to be advised,” read the press release.
For the first time in the history of the pageant the final was going to be hosted in Manicaland Province at Montclair Hotel and Casino in Nyanga this Saturday. The glitz and glamour national pageant was supposed to be headlined by Selmor Mtukudzi and more entertainment from Spinalong Music artistes.
Mpofu-Sibanda during a press conference last Saturday said her brainchild of taking the national pageant to all provinces, which started last year with Bulawayo, embraces the domestic tourism promotion drive, which is being spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA).
Manicaland is currently the reigning province with the 2018 Miss Tourism Zimbabwe crown that was won by 22- year old lawyer Tafadzwa Jaricha who received the top prize of $10 000 and a Mercedes-Benz C Class. Manicaland also wrote its own history at the same pageant which was held in Bulawayo after its second representative Life Matunzeni, was also crowned second princess.
2019 Miss Tourism Zimbabwe full list of Finalists
Charlyn Muleya (23) Matebelaland South, Maureen Gondwe (24) Mashonaland Central, Samantha Makufa (20) Mashonaland East, Chipo Mandiunza (19) Bulawayo Metropolitan, Gamuchirai Munyoro (19) Harare Metropolitan, Pauline Marere (25) Mashonaland West, Praise Masamba (24) Matabeleland North, Rutendo Mafuratidze (21) Manicaland, Rutendo Taruvinga (22) Masvingo, Nicole Madimutsa (20) Harare Metropolitan, Maria Makelve (21) Midlands, Royna Kassim (20) Matabeleland South, Grace Karimupfumbi (22) Masvingo, Nicole Musiyarira (21) Manicaland, Monalisa Tafirenyika (22) Matabeleland North, Wendy Maturi (23) Mashonaland East, Hilary Mandibaya (22) Harare Metropolitan, Michele Mupasi Midlands, Natasha Gora (22) Bulawayo Metropolitan.