Donning a green off-shoulder garment and gold sandals, the 2018 Miss Harare queen Panashe Kimberly Peters took to the ramp much to the amazement of people who attended the finale.
Her appearance as the hostess divided opinions, with many thinking it was all about budgeting, while some said it was an antic meant to warm up for another hostess, Floret Chikomwe, who later took over.
The event saw Peters, Floret Chikomwe and Nyasha Chamakudhengu, affectionately known as Chamaz, as emcees.
Organisers of the pageant later realised their boob and let Peters take her seat waiting to pass the baton to the newly-crowned queen.
As if that was not enough, drama continued when some parents of contesting models seated in the VIP started complaining, not only about time management, but also of hunger, as organisers selectively served food.
They complained that they had bought tickets that included meals, but were surprised to be turned away when they queued for meals.
The situation was reduced to a cat-and-mouse tale where the models’ parents were looking for meal tickets, which were not availed to them.
“I think they are taking advantage of us because we have daughters whom we are waiting for. Everything started well, but lack of coordination affected everything. We are now bored and it is now late. We are tired. Can they explain to us on what is going on,” said one of the parent.
“I am surprised today that my VVIP ticket does not include the meal as said before. It is now a different story.
“Imagine, the stage would sometimes go for minutes without any activity and when action returns it would appear as a talent show.”
The event started two hours late and ended in the wee hours of Sunday despite the fact that they had everything they needed including quality sound, lighting and a well-decorated stage.
Most of the people who had bought VVIP tables, including Genius “Ginimbi” Kadungure and his friends, were forced to leave the event hours before the queen was crowned.
When all and sundry thought the drama was over, judges and auditors pulled another shocker when the emcee read only 14 names when the list had 15.
The emcee pulled a Steve Harvey scenario saying; “…it was just a number.”
Organisers promised to give a reason why there were 14 girls after the crowd queried wanting to know what had happened.
However, the glitz and glamour of the event came out as celebrities, stakeholders’ representatives and fashion designers posed for the red carpet before taking to their labelled tables, a world class standard that was set by organisers.
The models put up a well-choreographed act each time they strutted their stuff on the ramp.
A second year University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Biological Sciences student Hillary Mandibaya (21) scooped the coveted crown and booked a ticket to represent Harare Province at the Miss Tourism Zimbabwe finale in November.
Mandibaya, also a karateka, impressed judges with her natural looks, smile and walk.
The model is not new to the ramp as she once participated in the Face of Black Opal and was voted First Princess and also face of Mount Pleasant.
Mandibaya beat other 29 girls while Alexis Thutani was crowned second princess.
The First Runner-up and Best Talent title went to Nicole Madimutsa while Blessing Mutyasira scooped the Best Project title.
Miss Tourism Mashonaland Central went to Maureen Gondwe, Miss Tourism Mashonaland East was scooped by Wendy Maturi and Mashonaland East queen was Samantha Makufa.
All the winners got cash prizes on stage from Harare businessman Innocent Shito, affectionately known as Mhofela.
Contacted for comment, one of the organisers, Mercy Mushaninga said all went according to plan and dismissed allegations levelled against them.
“First and foremost, people need to understand and accept change on such pageantry. Yes, we had Panashe hosting the show at first because she is well-spoken and had time with the girls. We wanted someone to tell our own story, thus someone who knows the situation.
“Sometimes we fail as we have an emcee who is not well versed about the event. I see nothing wrong having a queen as host.
“On to the issue of food, initially people were supposed to buy their own food. The ticket was only to watch the show. We only had a few complimentary tickets but we had branded tables,” she said.
Mushaninga said they delayed announcing the winners because they introduced the new system of auditors who took time verifying.
“I know we finished late, but it was beyond our control as we had auditors who needed time to clear and verifying numbers and details. But all the same everything went according to plan; we had a world-class standard event,” she said.
Diana Samkange, rhumba outfit Bv Labian and Spinalong bands, performed at the event.