Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Arts Reporter
Organisers of the Miss Deaf Zimbabwe 2017 have said sponsors and the corporate world are shunning them in terms of assisting the beauty pageant.
The pageant which is in its fourth year running, will be held tomorrow at LongChen Plaza under the theme “Beauty with Silent Voice”.
The event will see a bevy of 14 girls battling for the coveted title while radio personality Rebecca Muchenje will host the ceremony.
In an interview, pageant organiser and founder member Madeline Yohane said all is set for the event but there are no cash prizes for the winners.
“So far, we don’t have anything to give to the winners apart from Oceanes perfume, courtesy of the company who have sponsored us.
“It is a shame because we have been approaching a lot of companies to assist us in this initiative but they haven’t been forthcoming. Imagine we don’t have any cash prize to give to the winners. Does this mean disabled people are not respected or appreciated?
“I know there are other local beauty pageants and a lot of companies, individuals and stakeholders flock in to partner and sponsor but when it comes to us we are left alone. We are also gifted,” she said.
Yohane said the 14 models never went to camp as is with other beauty pageants but they have to fork out their money to come for rehearsals.
“Unfortunately we still have to continue with our plans of holding the pageant as some of the girls have come from as far as Rusape, Bulawayo and Gweru. We couldn’t put them in camp because of the financial constraints.
They were coming daily for rehearsals and choreography at D28 and we were helped by one local model who doesn’t want to be mentioned. Everything is going according to plan and we thank God for some of the sponsors and individuals who are assisting us. But all the same, we want the pageant to be treated the same as other pageants,” she said.
She said they should be respected, appreciated and supported the same way with those who are not deaf.
“We hear of a lot of conferences, workshops, fashion shows and even corporate events taking place centring on disabilities but at the end they are too selective. How can you talk about the emancipation of the girl child ignoring the deaf. Who will hear them when we continue silencing their inner voice and talent,” she said.
Yohane said the winner of Miss Deaf 2017 will represent the country at Miss Deaf World in Czech Republic in July and Miss Deaf Africa in South Africa.
Previous winner Kuda Mapeture was crowned first princess Deaf Africa.