They say an idle mind is the devils workshop, well then Malawi’s most beauty queens are in danger as they continue to lack funding as ALBERT SHARRA reports.
Just six months after the end of her tenure, former Miss Malawi 2011 Susan Mtegha is no longer working on charity projects but she is back in school.
Mtegha struggled a lot during her tenure due to lack of funds and was even stranded in Ordos, China, after the Miss World pageant when she fainted at the airport. Extra money had to be raised through government to get her safely back home.
Miss Malawi 2010, Faith Chibale, revealed that her exit from the office marked the end of all her projects and glory.
“I had a plan of continuing my projects, but upon stepping down, it was the end of everything. I have written several companies to support my projects, but none has come forward to the extent that I gave up and continued with my previous life. Most companies do not give credit to former queens and this affects our plans after our tenure,” said Chibale who was elected Christian youth ambassor for youths in Sadc after her tenure in 2011.
Chibale revealed that she had many projects planned but none of them is on. It is just recently, when she founded her Uni-sex Modelling Agency in Blantyre.
“It has been my dream to contribute to the growing modelling industry in Malawi, but due to lack of funding it has been a hurdle. I have just collected the few coins I had to open the agency and I hope well-wishers will come forward and support me,” said the former queen who got a spot to feature in a film by former Zimbabwean BBA star Munyaradzi Chidzonga.
Chibale said Malawi’s beauty pageant industry does not create opportunities for the queens. She however, blames it all on lack of direct support from government as is the case in other countries.
Former Miss Matofotofo, Florence Banda concurs with her. She said Malawian companies do not recognise the importance of working with beauty pageant queens to contribute to the society.
“In most countries companies work with beauty queens to carry their corporate, social responsibilities, but not here in Malawi. That is why most former queens end up being idle after their tenure. Even when they approach the companies, they are not considered,” she said.
However, Banda said the success of former queens should be judged individually. She said some are successful after their tenure while others are not.
“Beauty with brains anchors the future of every queen. The crown is a recipe for exposure and identification after the tenure and what remains is creativity of the individual to come up with projects and source funds. There are many in this calibre, but as pointed out, our corporate world does not recognise us,” said Banda, adding that her crown and academic background have exposed her to many opportunities.
Former organisers of Miss Malawi, Artistic Agency, push the blame back to the beauty queens.
AA director Vitu Kamanga says beauty with brains is the concept his office has been promoting, but, the queens’ creativity has been a setback to their success during and after their tenures.
Kamanga said the minimum qualification for Miss Malawi and other national crowns is tertiary qualification and the objective has been to enrol people who can deliver.
“In the past it was an MSCE, but now anyone between the age of 18 and 24 with or pursuing tertiary education is eligible to contest. However, I should not hide, most queens do not do well in the creativity part and coming up with successful projects. This affects their success locally and at Miss World competition and even when they are out of office, “said Kamanga.
On the future of Miss Malawi, he said he had a meeting with officials at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and will have a round table meeting shortly where they will discuss to adopt a system that will see the pageant running every year.
He said if Malawi succeeds in having the Miss Malawi this year, it will not participate in the Miss World whose deadline is in July.