Teen model makes history… wins three awards at Miss Teen  Ecotourism World pageant Ashanthelle Chapenga

Patrick Chitumba, [email protected]

ZIMBABWE is buzzing with excitement for 16-year-old Ashanthelle Chapenga. The Bulawayo girl recently returned from the Miss Teen Ecotourism World pageant in Durban, South Africa, bringing home a whole collection of titles.  Ashanthelle, the reigning Miss Teen Ecotourism Zimbabwe, impressed on all fronts, making history by winning not just one, but three awards — Miss Teen Ecotourism World Brand Ambassador, People’s Choice, and the First Runner-Up spot.

The Miss Teen Ecotourism World pageant is an annual global event where young women from over 30 countries gather to champion ecotourism, conservation, and sustainable development. This year’s edition in Durban saw each contestant displaying their beauty, talent, and unwavering commitment to protecting our planet.

Balancing her studies in English, Geography and Travel and Tourism at Midlands Christian College (MCC) in Gweru, Ashanthelle is a shining example for young people everywhere. Her humility and dedication to her new role as an ambassador for sustainable tourism and climate action are truly inspiring. These titles are a powerful testament to her passion and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the world.
“I was born in Bulawayo and attended Petra College before enrolling at Midlands Christian School, and now I am in high school at Midlands Christian College. I am currently staying in Gweru,” she said as she introduced herself to this reporter.


MissTeen Eco-Tourism World Brand Ambassador Ashanthelle Chapenga

Ashanthelle’s pageant experience started early. At 14 in 2022, she competed in Miss Teen Universe Zimbabwe, securing a spot in the top five and the hearts of the viewers with a People’s Choice win. “I was later crowned Miss Teen Asia Pacific Zimbabwe in 2022. A year later I then participated in Miss Teen Ecotourism Zimbabwe, where I was crowned as the Queen and I’m still the reigning Queen for 2023-2024.

I became a finalist for Miss Teen Eco-Tourism World and I represented my nation in the world pageant, which resulted in winning the Public Choice award and ending up in the top 2 with Teen Namibia, where I was crowned as the Miss Teen Eco-Tourism World Ambassador 2024-2025,” she said.
Asked what she thinks of the titles she has amassed in her short modelling career, Ashanthelle said: “My titles are not just any titles. They define who I am. Having these titles means that I am an ambassador and a representative of the youth taking action against climate change. I am a person who raises awareness on the importance of responsible and sustainable tourism.”

Ashanthelle embraces her roles as an ambassador and youth representative, understanding the weight of responsibility that comes with her titles.

“I am committed to raising awareness about climate action and sustainable tourism is crucial for a better future. I want to be an excellent example for young people worldwide, showing them the power of determination and hard work in making a positive impact.

“I hope to have a positive impact in every room that I enter by encouraging the youth and everyone else to work hard and never doubt themselves. I believe that I am a walking testimony. I will stand as a representative of the youth taking action against climate change,” she said.
Ashanthelle cites both her grandmother’s love for modelling and Miss Teen Universe Zimbabwe 2022, Tumi Sibanda, as her sources of inspiration.
“She’s the reason why I entered Miss Teen Universe Zimbabwe. In addition, pageants give me a platform to raise awareness and advocate for the cause that is close to my heart.

It provides network options and it can serve as a stepping stone to various careers,” said Ashanthelle. In a bid to promote sustainable tourism, Ashanthelle took the initiative in April by developing a bicycle rental application (app). This eco-friendly app offers a convenient transportation solution for travellers, encouraging them to explore destinations with a lighter carbon footprint. “I intend to go for a few pageants and continue to create a better future for the next generation. I believe that with this, I can finally get sponsorship to run my bicycle rental app which I innovated in April 2023 because I was coming up with ideas that can promote sustainable tourism by reducing carbon footprints,” she said.

Renowned modelling guru Mavis Koslek, who has been coaching and grooming Ashanthelle since 2022, believes that she has truly outdone herself through sheer determination and hard work.

“She knew her set goals and she applied herself to this. She worked very hard in the past year researching, training and executing her preparation despite her school work. She managed her time between the competition, her school, sport and her time. I definitely will continue to support her future dreams in this industry . . . as she’s still very young I see her rising into higher international pageants,” she said.
Ashanthelle’s father, who also serves as her manager, has been by her side throughout this journey for the past three years. He stands tall and proud, celebrating his daughter’s remarkable achievements.

“As a parent, I believe if your child has a dream, the best thing that you can do is show support. The most important aspect is that I am there to protect her by carrying out due diligence and research on all pageants,” he said.

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