On September 13 this year, Miss Zimbabwe Trust patron Kiki Divaris turns 88. Interestingly, she was born in the same year as President Robert Mugabe.
Many will agree that Divaris has risen to become one of the iconic women in the country in respect to gender issues that have been topical the world over in recent years.
On the modelling front she has become this larger-than-life character instrumental in every success story in the sector. From Angeline Musasiwa, to Malaika Mushandu, the models owe their success to Divaris.
Divaris has, over the years, precariously yet firmly held onto the running of the Miss Zimbabwe pageant. Miss Zimbabwe Trust is the sole licence-holder to the Miss World contest.
Generally, nothing seems wrong with Divaris remaining in control. She is arguably one of the most experienced modelling practitioners on the land.
However, the turn of events in recent years have proven she has lost touch. The problem, it appears, started when the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) took over the reins.
Analysts battered the marriage left, right and centre as control seemed to shift to Karikoga Kaseke, the ZTA chief executive officer.
But while many demonised him and the arrangement, Divaris seemed to relish that she had been rescued. She seemed to show that she no longer had the zeal required of someone who runs such a project. The ZTA-Miss Zimbabwe Trust came at the right time because the challenging economic environment that prevailed in the country that time could have been unbearable for Divaris. The pageant survived the turmoil.
Now almost seven years down the line, the burden has fallen back on the old lady's shoulders. ZTA gave back control of the Miss Zimbabwe pageant to Divaris and company this year and as a result the national finals almost failed to come to pass owing to financial constraints.
The event, normally held in February or early March, was this year held on April 27, just three months before the world contest that is scheduled for this August.
By Silence Charumbira
Too many hiccups for Miss Zimbabwe
Last week the newly crowned beauty Bongani Dlakama conceded that her reign has not been rosy. Besides getting nothing for her success, she had not yet received any mentoring ahead of the Miss World pageant that is just two months away.
In the run up to the national event, Dlakama and her fellow contestants had to endure some unpalatable experiences masked as Zimbabwean experiences.
In some instances the models had to eat vegetables without cooking oil and all sorts of odd foods. Poverty was misconstrued as Zimbabwean culture and God knows what poor diet has to do with Zimbabwean culture.
Interestingly, they themed the pageant "I am Zimbabwe." Instead of engaging ZTA or the same sponsors that supported the pageant for the past period, Divaris and company played hide and seek with Kaseke.
Rumour has it that a week before the event Divaris screamed at her subordinates saying she would be turned into a beggar if she went around asking for assistance.
With typical resistance of most ageing leaders who prioritise pride over the consequences of their actions over their institutions, Divaris soldiered on and spent a fortune on holding the pageant.
But containing the pressure has always been another issue and many will remember how Divaris lost her precious handbag after leaving it unattended at some gathering.
The truth is that the pressure that comes with organising a national pageant is now too heavy for Divaris. She needs to hand over responsibility and rest.
The local modeling industry has produced people like Sarah Mpofu, Angeline Musasiwa and Mercy Mushaninga and it's time one of them took over from Divaris. Allowing an 88-year-old to run a pageant dominated by girls in the 19 to 21 age-group category is a classical case of clinging to the past instead of focusing on the future.