Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
Modelling is a career, which if taken seriously, can sustain livelihoods. Checking on the international scene, the profession is regarded and respected as one of the best in the entertainment industry as it promotes culture and tourism, among others.
Back home, local models complain about lack of exposure and resources which they say are hindering growth.
They also cited exploitation and sexual abuse as some of the factors affecting the industry.
Zimbabwe is known to groom some of the best models in Africa such as Nyasha Matonhodze who clinched a deal with international brand Louis Vutton, Malaika Mushandu and Tinotenda Mjoni who struck deals in South Africa while Vimbai Mukambi too was endorsed in United Arab Emirates among others.
Is Zimbabwe a training ground which only churns out models who are later snapped up by other countries?
Who is to blame for this? We all need to support the local industry. Charity begins at home and all the models who are outside must support the local industry which offered them a spring board to pursue their careers abroad.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean born model Tinotenda Mjoni said some agencies and stakeholders do not take the industry serious. He says agencies and stakeholders exploit models.
“We are not respected neither are we given our chance to shine.
Modelling is a career and has a lot of divisions from commercial
modelling to runway modelling. I have noticed that even if you do shoots
with companies they don’t pay much and sometimes it will be more about
building relations. This is killing the industry because we are not
being taken serious,” he said.
“As much as we may say that we are abused and exploited, locally we don’t have platforms to showcase our talent.
“Apart from waiting for fashion shows there is nothing for us. I also put the blame to responsible authorities who only think music is the only form of art in the country. We have fashion, sculpture, visual art and modelling which are not being taken care of.”
He said that they end up looking for opportunities outside Zimbabwe because of frustration.
Modelling expert and guide guru Mercy Mushaninga shared similar sentiments.
“Our industry has always been the target for women and girl child abuse, more campaigns and awareness should be done but lack of funding is affecting us. Every girl nowadays and boys to some extent want to be models.
“In other countries like Zambia, Malawi and South Africa the industry is growing and has the Government and stakeholders supporting it. We also need license to hold such pageantry like Miss Universe so as to create platforms for our models before they participate at the world pageants.”