The outcry over hosting of Miss Schools pageant in a bar recently has grown louder with stakeholders in the industry, parents and promoters condemning organisers of the event and calling for action from responsible authorities. Some parents who called The Herald feel that the modelling industry in Zimbabwe should be serious and follow the rightful procedures to avoid abuse of the girl child.While the organisers of the show are defending their actions by saying children should be given a chance to shine, more voices have spoken against the pageant.
The Miss Schools 2016 beauty pageant was hosted recently at Radost Club at Long Cheng Plaza in Belvedere, Harare where Tanaka Munyenyiwa aged 17 years old was crowned the winner.
Modelling Industry Association Zimbabwe (Miaz) later blasted the organisers for hosting the pageant at a venue which was not suitable for the young models.
According to the law, people under 18 are not allowed to enter a bar.
Sources close to the event revealed that Roosevelt Girls High’s interact club, in partnership with a Harare-based man identified only as Tanatswa, organised the pageant in a bid to buy blankets for their Rotary Club.
The school headmaster Mary Machumi did not want to comment on the issue and referred all matters to the ministry.
I know nothing or anything about that pageant. I can refer you to the Ministry of Education and they too can even tell you my name,” she said.
Some parents feel that the matter was not handled well since last week when they blamed the modelling industry for using a wrong platform for the event.
“I know the matter was discussed last week with the organisers stating that they wanted to raise funds.
“But my concern is the issue of the selected venue because we started hearing that some of the girls were dancing in the bar, where there were smokers and drunkards.
“What are we doing as a society? Yes modelling is good but this has gone out of hand and having a pageant for school children in a bar is not acceptable. I am disappointed with the school for letting the students partner and organise such a pageant in that manner.
“Yes the ministry should chip in and assist before we start hearing more stories.
“We all want our children to shine and showcase whatever they want but they should have a guiding factor,” said one parent from the school who did not want to be identified.
Asked for comment, local pageant promoter Mercy Mushaninga said the pageant was conducted unprofessionally.
“We do not allow modelling in a bar even for adults. The only models that are allowed in a bar are promotional models advertising a certain brand such as beer or cigarettes and these models should be 21 years and above.
“On this issue I think the organisers are to blame. I only later heard about it from one model whom we groomed, but was already too late. I also approached the school to stop it,” she said.
However, the saga still continues as some are threatening to take the matter to court after it is alleged that there was binge with some girls and boys during the show.