Auditions to search for the next Miss Tourism Manicaland have commenced with a number of aspiring beauty queens having attended auditions that were held in Mutare over the weekend.

The auditions had initially been penciled for the last week of April but was deferred as participants failed to turn up citing failure to raise the required $20 administration fee that had to be paid by each participant.

Miss Tourism Manicaland provincial licence holder, Mrs Caroline Marufu-Buwu said the organisers of the beauty pageant responded by setting aside the administration fee to afford an equal opportunity to every girl in the province to be the next Miss Tourism Manicaland and represent the province in the national contest.

“A number of participants requested for a waiver of the administration fee and we took note of that and decided to grant them that waiver. We realised that we have a lot of young ladies who would want to take part but unfortunately, they don’t have the resources required. These young ladies come from different backgrounds so we accommodated them because we believe in equal opportunities for all the young ladies,” said Mrs Marufu-Buwu.

Mrs Buwu, a former beauty queen herself, says there is still a long way to go in terms of convincing some people that modelling goes beyond the looks.

“Over the years pageants have been viewed as dumb women who have nothing to offer society except their looks, but that is not the case, most of the women competing in the pageants are bright and intelligent young women with multiple talents and sometimes those talents are not shown to the world because they do not have a platform to showcase them.

The Miss Tourism Manicaland finals will be held on the 27th of July in Nyanga and organisers are hopeful that they will groom yet another young beauty who will ensure the province retains the national crown.