Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Correspondent
TWENTY TWO-YEAR-OLD Natasha Carol Gora was on Saturday evening crowned Miss Tourism Zimbabwe Bulawayo ahead of 13 other contestants.
The contest to find Bulawayo province’s representatives for the national beauty pageant was held at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. Initially there were 18 contestants, but four dropped out at the 11th hour without giving reasons.
Aulynda Mudzingwa was crowned first princess while Chipo Mandiudza was second princess. All three walked away with $700, $500 and $300 respectively and received various hampers too. They will represent Bulawayo at the national finals to be held on a date and venue to be advised.
Miss Tourism Bulawayo 2018 Anelisiwe Ndebele handed over the crown to Natasha. After finishing as Miss Personality in the same competition last year, Natasha, who is the Face of Cosmopolitan Night Club, said she gave her all to clinch the crown this year.
“I feel excited and over the moon. I don’t know how to feel right now as I wasn’t expecting this. I knew that I had put my all into it, but I wasn’t excepting it (winning). I’m just so grateful to have won,” said an elated Natasha.
The beauty who is studying towards a Diploma in TV and Film Production at the College of Creative Arts in Bulawayo said she pushed her mind and body to the limit to get herself ready for the competition.
“Unlike other times, this time I put my all into it and pushed myself over the limit, especially when it came to my body. I’m grateful that it all came right,” she said.
Dedicating the crown to her mother, Natasha said she is confident she will land the national crown.
“I’m confident that I’ll bring the national crown to Bulawayo. With everyone’s backing from the city and province I can do it. I’ve realised that with the support of everyone you can do anything,” said Natasha.
Besides Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, Natasha said she will be representing Zimbabwe in China at the Miss Tourism Global City next month.
In attendance were Miss Tourism Zimbabwe 2018 first princess Natalie Mangondo and Miss Personality for that year, Chido Michelle Nyika. Also in attendance were MTZ Byo 2018 first princess Sibusisiwe Falala with Butho Kgosi Nyathi, National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo’s regional director as the guest of honour.
Going with the theme, Pageantry is Art, models wore outfits made out of recycled material in one of the categories. For instance, one model Ashley Guwu spotted a dress made out of Pepsi plastic bottles and a crown made up of Fanta cans, with a Chibuku red lid bodice inspired by her father’s love of the beverage. Another was by Mhlengiwethu Mahlangu which was a dress made up of newspapers as she said she was inspired to create a paperless society. The outfits designed by the models blended well with the display in the exhibition.
Rapper Cal_Vin was part of the entertainment and got people singing his soulful track Banjalo Abantu, while Novuyo Seagirl shared the stage with her twin sister Ntombiyolwandle. Their energetic performance of their collaborative track Bambelela was one of the highlights of the night. Mzoe 7 was also among the performers with a surprise youngster 15-year-old Ras Teken who sizzled with his dancehall tracks on stage.