Miss Tanzania 2018 Elizabeth Makune today leaves for Sanya, China where she will contest at the Miss World contest that is scheduled for December.
She carries Tanzania’s hopes on her little shoulders in her quest to at least emulate Nancy Sumari who 15 year…s ago surprised the world by becoming the continental winner.
With over one billion viewers across the planet, it promises to be a mouth watering scenario as the beauties take to the ramp to outwit one another in different aspects. In the 24-year history of the pageantry, 2005 remains an isolated case in Miss World pageant for Tanzania and the years that followed have been riddled with turmoil.
On that December night in the glare of global audience, Nancy Sumari dazzled as she walked away with the Miss Africa World crown in the Chinese city of Sanya.
Incidentally, it is at the same setting that the confident Elizabeth looks forward to emulate this same feat or even go one extra by winning the contest itself. As many insiders admit, they had anticipated her win which reverberated across the country and continent as she achieved what many can only afford to dream about.
“Nancy had a very special personality, presentable, exposed and very knowledgeable, even as she was departing for miss world contest in Sanya, China, we all knew she would go the distance,” Hashim Lundenga once told the Beat.
This is as far as Tanzanian contestants have gone with many posting very dismal shows that left fans wondering why they ever made the journey.
What are Elizabeth’s chances?
The 22-year-old Tanzania Institute of Accountancy student is not a stranger to beauty contest; Makune competed in World Miss University 2017 where she was named continental queen of Africa.
“After I participated in that contest I felt like I wanted to compete in the Miss world because I knew that I had what it takes to be at the very top,” she says.
She says she has got enough support that puts her in a good position to compete amongst the best out there.
Apart from the Miss Tanzania franchise she says she has got support from her Pastor Paul Bendera and her family who has her pillar in her quest for glory.
In an earlier interview she admitted that her sight was set for the Miss world quite early even as she vied for the local honours.
Like many have put it, it is probably the experience that she got at the Miss University that has become the source of her confidence.
Mode of selection
In the past ,the mode of selection which involved a countrywide search through the preliminaries was blamed as one of the factors that came under scrutiny because it did not give organisers enough room to interfere with the regional selections.
In most cases the type of beauties that they got from these contests did not meet the criteria, yet they still have to select winners from that pool.
According to pundits the current scouting procedure which goes through the preliminaries needs to be disbanded. “As we have learnt some countries like India the scouting procedure starts with young girls who are exposed to the field of beauty at around the age of 12,” says a former official at the defunct administration. This according to him allows the selected bunch of young girls time to be tutored into the basic skills like etiquette which most of our contestants lack.
This was the exact approach that the new administration took as they banned the preliminaries and instead opting for the zonal contests.
According to pundits the country is still a long way from achieving success in that arena as they point fingers at the mode of preparations leading towards the World stage.
Even with the change of guard at Miss Tanzania organization with Basilla Mwanukuzi taking over,11th hour preparations leaves contestants with very limited time to master the competition’s rudiments.
Most countries that have excelled in this competition always select their beauty queen a year in advance.
For example as the beauties begin to arrive and cameras follow the events in Sanya, some countries like South Africa which has a great track record in the event have already launched the search for next year’s beauty queen.
According an insider, given the time limit the winner usually doesn’t have enough time to acclimatize with her new celebrity surroundings.
More than just beauty
Having featured at the contest some of the previous beauty queens think it is important for the contestants to have some natural talent and not very ordinary things that most contestant confess at contests.
“To win, you need to demonstrate special qualities such as talents in order to be noticed, because you are over 100 young women fight for that single spot,” Miriam Gerald once told The Beat.
She thinks this is the reason why Nancy sailed through to the top spot.
“Nancy was very good in sports, she won in a sport, that’s why she was easily spotted,” she says and blames her own naivety for her failure to shine.
But even as odds rear their ugly heads, there is more that Tanzania can get from the Miss World contest than just the crown.
The only reason why countries pump in money into this contest is because of the business potential that it has.
The source maintains that Miss Tanzania and Miss World is a marketing tool that is yet to be exploited especially in the tourism sector. “It is common knowledge that Tanzania is the home of one of the most beautiful tourist attractions yet the number of tourists doesn’t demonstrate this,” he says.
He adds: What the Tourist board can do is to fund the contestants to come here for even three days instead of funding unfruitful campaigns that hardly bring in any results.