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Miss Universe Zimbabwe crowned – Chronicle

Harare Bureau

History has been made as Zimbabwe booked a place at this year’s edition of the Miss Universe to be held in El Salvador, Central America, in two months.

Despite all the hullabaloo, finally a new queen has been crowned.

Saturday saw the rebirth of the beauty pageant as 21-year-old beautician, Brooke Bruk Jackson, was crowned winner at the glitz and glamour ceremony held at the giant Harare Hippodrome auditorium.
Jackson walked away with a ticket to represent the country at the Miss Universe in November after beating other 11 finalists.

Among her huge prizes were a US$10 000 cash prize from Style by Minnie, a trip to Victoria Falls courtesy of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry, a one-year contract with clothing company Hilz Couture, a spa treatment from Essentials by Tanya, two-year accommodation from West

Properties, beauty products from Langa Cosmetics, air ticket to and from Central America courtesy of Traverze, photoshoot contract by Optimas Photography and latest Apple products courtesy of iHelp Company.

Jackson will also be brand ambassador for several companies that sponsored the pageant.
First princess went to Chegutu-based model and former Miss University of Zambia first runners up Nokutenda Marumbwa, while second princess went to Amanda Ziyambi Mpofu.

In an interview with our Harare Bureau soon after being crowned, Jackson said she was shocked to emerge the winner as this was her first time to enter into pageantry.

“I am proud to be Zimbabwean,” she said. “This is shocking and amazing at the same time. I am so overwhelmed. I can’t wait to perform my duties as the queen of Zimbabwe this year in El Salvador. I have been modelling few years back in Cape Town and have been travelling around the world, but this is my first pageant.”

Jackson said she is working in Harare as a beauty therapist and hasn’t thought what to do first with her prize money.

“It came as a surprise and like I said I need time to absorb this. I work at a local beauty spa as a therapist,” she said.

The 21-year-old model, who was crowd’s favourite and also the tallest of them, came as no surprise because according to what the judges were looking for she had the requirements.

A close source revealed that she also did good during the boot-camp.

During the question and answer segment, Jackson was flawless and like any well-taught Shona girl with morals, she eloquently started by greeting her fans and judges, Manheru akanaka Zimbabwe, to the jubilation of many.

Her question was: “What is your biggest fear?”

She said; “My biggest fear is not to have an impact in people’s lives. Anybody who enters my life, I would like them to leave inspired and transformed not by the way I look, but with what is inside my heart.”

Immediately, social media was ablaze after she was crowned winner with many wanting to know more about her.

“My roles and duties in my life have changed, but I have not changed as a person,” said Jackson. “I am still Brooke Bruk Jackson, who has definitely grown on this journey so far, and I can’t wait to be an ambassador for our beautiful nation, to serve our people, represent our country internationally and inspire the youth of Zimbabwe that anything in life is possible.”

In a speech read on her behalf by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Miniyothabo Baloyi-Chiwenga, First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa said she was happy with the bouncing back of the the Miss Universe Zimbabwe pageant.

“We have been out of this pageant for two decades and we are happy to be here today, providing a chance to our girls to showcase their beauty from inside and out and our beauty as a country,” she said.

“It is an event that shows that as Zimbabweans we are stronger and determined than ever and thanks to this beautiful girl Tendai Hunda who had a dream and followed it. She was determined and we thank you so much. Whoever is going to win this pageant would not only represent themselves, but will promote the brand Zimbabwe.”

Dr Mnangagwa said it was important to dispel the misconception that beauty pageants were all about beauty.

“They are not about beauty  alone, but there is more to it,” she said. “Whatever happens today (Saturday) at this event will be a ground-breaking for ideas, intelligence and for leadership to manifest.

“I personally believe that a woman should be a shining example of beauty with a purpose. As a woman one should be able to move mountains, be shakers in the fields they are in,” she said.

“I know this event has a global reach and for Zimbabwean daughters to participate as we return in this show, it is something we are proud of. We welcome them with open arms, we will always support them.

As First Lady of Zimbabwe, I am a staunch advocate for girl child empowerment, this pageant aligns perfectly with my vision of providing opportunities for young women to excel in various areas.”

She said it is an avenue for girls to showcase their talent, intelligence and beauty.

“This pageant, not only does it align with my personal advocacy for girl child empowerment, but for Vision 2023 for Zimbabwe,” said Dr Mnangagwa. “It serves as a beacon of scope, showcasing our country’s potential for development through opportunities for young girls to education and employment. I want to emphasize on the role of the winner as they are going to be a brand ambassador for Zimbabwe. They are going to make people know that Zimbabwe is a beautiful country.”

Radio and television personalities Tich Mawoni and Becky K facilitated the programme and apologised to the crowd for the late start due to some technical glitches.

The high profile judges included Young Rich and Famous reality star Luis Munana (Zambian), businesswomen Zodwa Mkandla, Pokelo Nare and Joana Sharpe, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe Langa Sibanda, Simbarashe Chinyemba and Karin Davis.

It would be unfair not to talk about the popular DJ Iroq who entertained the crowd with his playlist which accomodated all ages.

The event saw musicians such as Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Nutty O, Diamond Musica and Enzo Ishall putting up scintillating performances.

Prior to the event, songstress Ammara Brown, who had been on the poster for the show, posted alerting her fans that she was no longer coming as she was in Johannesburg.

The Mukoko hitmaker called on the organisers to take down the fliers with her picture at the last hour stating that it was false advertising.

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Letters: A review of the August 23 elections – NewsDay

It is with great embarrassment that we find ourselves celebrating the absence of violence as the primary measure of a free and fair election.

I WRITE to you today with a heavy heart and a deep sense of concern regarding the recent Zimbabwe elections held on August 23-24, 2023.

As a proud Zimbabwean, I feel compelled to express my dismay at the state of our electoral process and the alarmingly low expectations we have set for ourselves as a nation.

It is with great embarrassment that we find ourselves celebrating the absence of violence as the primary measure of a free and fair election.

Are we truly content with defining the credibility of our democratic process solely on the premise that we refrained from brutalising and killing one another?

Such a mindset is not only disheartening, but also an insult to the principles of democracy that we should hold dear.

While the ruling Zanu PF party may argue that the elections were free and fair due to lack of widespread violence, we must not allow ourselves to be deceived by this façade.

The numerous irregularities that plagued the elections cannot be ignored.

The banning of opposition rallies, the exclusion of opposition voices from national television, and the manipulative tactics employed by fringe groups like Forever Associates Zimbabwe are blatant examples of the erosion of our democracy.

Furthermore, the deliberate hindrance of the opposition’s ability to participate fully in the electoral process, including the delay in delivering voting materials to their strongholds, are grave injustices.

By forcing citizens to vote in darkness and disenfranchising them, we undermine the very essence of democracy and disregard the fundamental rights of fellow Zimbabweans.

We must not allow the absence of violence to blind us to the truth.

Our elections have become nothing more than a farcical display, designed to deceive the international community while leaving us, the citizens, disillusioned and disheartened.

It is high time we demanded true accountability and transparency in our electoral processes.

As Zimbabweans, we must rise above the complacency that has engulfed us.

We must unite in our demand for meaningful reforms that address the systemic issues plaguing our electoral system.

This includes dismantling barriers to political participation, ensuring equal access to media for all parties, and establishing a genuinely transparent and inclusive electoral process.

It is imperative that we reclaim our dignity as a nation and restore the faith of our fellow citizens in the democratic ideals we hold dear.

We cannot allow ourselves to be content with this illusion of democracy.

We must strive for real change, for the sake of present and future generations.

I implore you, esteemed editor, to use the power of your platform to shed light on the plight of our electoral process.

Let us foster public dialogue and encourage a collective commitment to a genuine democratic progress.

Together, we can bring about the change that Zimbabwe so desperately needs. – Concerned citizen


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From Zimbabwean refugee to ‘wine poet’ in South Africa – New

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By Forbes Africa

BARELY two years after his first sip of wine, Joseph Dhafana was head sommelier at the iconic La Colombe restaurant in Cape Town and began to explore making his own wine. His Mosi Wines and Spirits is a household name today.

With its prolific wine region and world-class restaurants, Cape Town has long been the jewel in South Africa’s tourism crown. Yet the industry isn’t powered by good food and wine alone, but rather, by the dedication of its people.

People like Joseph Tongai Dhafana, sommelier, wine judge and founder of Mosi Wines and Spirits. Impressive title aside, it’s Joseph’s story that truly sets him apart.

Dhafana now lives in Cape Town but grew up in Zimbabwe, an entire world away from his current life. He was raised in Chirumhanzu in the Midlands province, by parents who were subsistence farmers.

“I remember waking up as early as 03:00, going to the field to till the land with an ox-drawn plough. Then, when the sun rose I would run back home via the river to take a bath and get ready for a 12km walk to school – sometimes barefoot,” he explains. “These early mornings before school were very tough but they made me who I am today.”

This resilience is what would ultimately change the course of his life forever. In 2008, at the peak of Zimbabwe’s crisis, Dhafana made the difficult decision to leave his home country in search of better opportunities in South Africa. “Leaving was very painful and I had never dreamed of living outside Zimbabwe,” he says.

Initially, he worked as a gardener in Riebeek-Kasteel, a small town 80km outside of Cape Town, which led him to work in the garden for a local bar.

Here, he moved to washing dishes and waiting tables and was soon promoted to barman, where life took another fortuitous turn.

Here, Dhafana celebrated his 29th birthday and had his first taste of wine – a sparkling wine from nearby Riebeek Valley Wine Co. His first thoughts? “I didn’t like it,” he says simply.

“I remember, the wine was quite tart and astringent with cutting acidity and that was very foreign to my palate.” He adds, “Now I can describe it but back then I had no words to explain how I felt. They now call me the ‘wine poet’.”

Despite a rocky start, this taste of wine awakened something in Dhafana, and before long he had enrolled to do a course at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust; he joined the Cape Wine Academy and eventually, the South African Sommeliers Association, the Michael Fridjhon Wine Judging Academy and Court of Master Sommeliers Europe.

Barely two years after that first sip, Dhafana was head sommelier at the iconic La Colombe restaurant and began to explore making his own wine.

“I had saved money and bought grapes to make a barrel each of Chenin Blanc and Syrah… in Riebeek-Kasteel, where it all started.”

Today, Joseph’s Mosi Wines and Spirits – named after breathtaking Victoria Falls nestled between Zimbabwe and Zambia – is a household name.

Regularly appearing on the wine lists of the country’s top restaurants, there is no denying that his hard work and determination have paid off. “Seeing people swirling and sipping my wine just melts my heart,” he says.

“I believe wine is a bottled story and this brand has a lot to say.”

Dhafana’s story is nothing short of remarkable, but as he says, there are a lot of stories like his out there.

“I am proud of the person I am today but I am thankful to those who helped me.”

He doesn’t take this gratitude lightly and now helps others wanting to enter the industry.

“The journey has just started because I am already helping young up-and-coming sommeliers and wine stewards to do better than what I did.” And it doesn’t end there.

Along with his work as a sommelier and a wine judge, he also helped establish and captain Team Zimbabwe at the World Blind Tasting Championships in 2017 and 2018, documented in the documentary, Blind Ambition.

He is a board member of the Black Cellar Club, a non-profit that aims to promote a responsible wine and beverage industry in South Africa and is a judge for the country’s biggest annual restaurant awards, hosted by Eat Out magazine.

Having triumphed over immense challenges, Dhafana’s continued commitment to wine has enriched the industry. “We can’t all be actors or artists to tell our stories but I chose to tell mine by bottling it,” he adds.

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Pay children’s school fees, parents urged – The Herald

Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief

PARENTS must pay fees and levies for their children to keep the education system functioning normally, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Dr Torerayi Moyo, has said.

Addressing pupils, teachers and stakeholders during the third National Annual Science, Sport and Arts Festival (NASSAF), which ended last Friday at Chaplin High School in Gweru, Minister Moyo said it was the responsibility of every parent to ensure that their children are not disturbed by the failure to pay fees on time.

“There is an issue that keeps on happening in schools and that is barring pupils from schools over failure by their parents or guardians to pay school fees and levies,” he said.

“As the ministry, we emphasise that no pupil should be turned away over non-payment of fees according to the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Turning them away is a violation of the pupils’ rights.

“No school is allowed to turn away students for whatever reason and if you commit a crime, the long arm of the law will descend on you.”

The minister said parents should understand that the responsibility for failure to pay school fees is on their shoulders hence they must realise that quality education will be compromised unless they play their part.

“However, it’s a prerogative of parents and guardians to pay fees and levies for their children on time,” he said.

Given the prevailing socio-economic challenges, the minister explained that the Government has put in place safety nets such as the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) programme to cushion those from disadvantaged homes.

The programme was adopted in 2001 and pays tuition and examination fees, and levies for underprivileged students.

“Those who come from disadvantaged homes we have social nets such as BEAM, which is disbursing fees for the pupils from disadvantaged homes,” said Minister Moyo.

“Yes, we hear that here and there, there will be delays in the disbursing of the fees and we will appeal to the Ministry of Finance to expedite the payment of BEAM so that school activities are not disrupted.”

He applauded the teachers for playing an important function in unpacking the curriculum and delivering it the best way to achieve the 21st century transformation.

“As we celebrate the contribution of our teachers, we also recognise the important role that our school leadership is playing on the ground because this sector will rise and fall on the basis of service delivery on the ground, at school level, inside the classroom, outside in the field, in the practical learning areas,” said Minister Moyo.

“Of course, the most important results are achieved when our school leadership, parents, pupils themselves and the wider communities work as one team.”

Minister Moyo emphasised the need to link character development and mentorship to ensure knowledge and skills is couched within a sound value system, the right attitude, healthy self-empowerment, as well as good personal habits that bring out Zimbabwean virtues of unhu/ubuntu.

“We all know that the issue of substance and drug abuse is of national priority because if we did not take care of this menace, all these beautiful things we have seen here and the potential benefits of the curriculum may not be achieved because of this important imperative,” he said.

“All schools should, therefore, consistently reinforce current efforts to eliminate substance and drug use, misuse and abuse amongst our pupils, around our communities and even in our families.

“We have to fight this as a united force using our schools as centres of excellence to ensure that vision 2030 is achieved,” said Minister Moyo.

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