Greeting from Zimbabwe, where the search for the country's ugliest man is underway. The contest had taken a year's hiatus due to lack of funding. While the contest has been criticised in the past, its organisers say the pageant celebrates beauty in ugliness.
Zimbabwe will be selecting the ugliest man in the country at this year's annual Mr Ugly contest. It has attracted 13 participants, and the winner will represent the country at the maiden Mr Ugly Africa contest in South Africa in 2018.
The event was introduced in 2011 for people to have fun and celebrate who they are, just like any contest in the world. Just like a regular pageant, the participants have to impress the judges and audience with their personality and catwalk to emerge the winner or receive the cash prices and token hampers. It has become one of the country's popular events.
Austin Mbewe emerged the winner in what the judges called 'tightly contested'. From 2012-2014, William Masvinu won the competition but in 2015, Mison Sere dethroned Masvinu. The judges selected Sere because of his numerous missing teeth and grotesque facial expression.
The event was dogged by controversy and melee, with Masvinu contesting the judge's decision and claiming that Sere's ugliness was not natural because it was based on his missing teeth.
The two signed up to contest in the 2016 contest, but it was cancelled because of lack of sponsorship. Sere and Masvinu will both take part in this year's contest to prove again, who is the ugliest between the two.
According to David Machowa, the organiser, the selection of the winner will depend on appearance, confidence, zeal and character to avoid the 2015 situation.
"We were mainly looking at appearance, confidence and zeal but this time, things have changed a bit as we will also be looking at the person's character," Machowa reportedly said.
Machowa based the decision on complaints by Sere that he did not get any endorsements after winning the contest.
Machowa added that after the inaugural pageant in South Africa, the contest has already attracted the attention of eight other countries.
South Africa is the only other country to hold such a contest. It held its inaugural Mr. Ugly pageant in Mtubatuba, Kwazulu-Natal, attracting nine contestants.
Simon Mpuyazi won and went home with R1000, while runners-up Alfred Jobe and Lucky Mdenge received R500.