Dar es Salaam — When Basilla Mwanukuzi was crowned Miss Tanzania in 1998, it never occured to her that she would one day end up succeeding the national director of Miss World Tanzania.
It was too big a dream for her for she just couldn't imagine being at the helm of the very organisation that brought her to the limelight some 20 years ago.
This was after she had won the Miss Kinondoni contest and went on to win the fourth edition of Miss Tanzania.
To many young women at that time it was more of a wishful thinking for that win also gave her the ticket to represent Tanzania at the Miss World which was held in Seychells later that year.
Since then she has become renowned for outstanding charity work, and through the organisation that she founded two years ago with the aim of empowering lives through different projects such as helping needy women.
Now with her The Look Company Ltd she will is set to host Miss Tanzania pageant after taking over from Hashim Lundenga.
After official launch of New Miss Tanzania last weekend, Basilla spoke to The Beat where she shared some insights on her expectations.
What was in your mind when you decided to take over Miss Tanzania pageant?
Actually it never came across my mind that one day I would become the national director of this prestigious contest.
Miss Tanzania was always a giant pageant for a anyone to think of. So I was shocked at first when Uncle Hashim broke the news to me that he wants to hands it over to me.
It was a tough decision to make but again it was an honor for me in many ways.
What is your goal?
My aim is bring back the status and admiration of the pageant that once made us all proud. Back then it was an honor to participate and be crowned as Miss Tanzania. But over the pageant lost its credibility and I think that's what I'm obliged to bring back.
What makes you think you can bring about changes?
It's no secret that during our days Miss Tanzania was a prestigeous event that every Tanzanian wanted to be associated with. It was a pageant that every girl had a dream to participating in.
It gave us fame and respect. But as it stands it has lost its sheen to the extent that it is no longer a dream for many young women. I'm experienced and have witnessed the journey of 20 years. So my experience and exposure will help it gain its status.
You are now at the helm and naturally people expect a lot from this new management, what can you promise?
We have a lot in store for this pageant but the most important agenda is to revolutionize it. Our motto is "Urembo na Kazi kwa maendeleo ya Jamii " meaning "Beauty and Work for community development. Fans, parents, stakeholders and all well wishers were at some point disappointed with previous set up, so we are going to take control of that. No more disappointments.
There already some challenges in partnership and sponsorship of an event of this magnitude. People expect a lot from this new management but it's impossible to achieve great success without external help from the government, partners and companies.
What is going to be different from the former Miss Tanzania?
There have been ups and down and we don't want those mistakes to happen again. I'm a victim of that too. I remember winning Miss Kinondoni and the organisers never gave me my winner's prize.
I was promised to travel to London and after I was crowned Miss Kinondoni they just gave me a dummy check and I never travelled.
It was a case that ended up in the courts of law after my mother tried to fight on my behalf to get the prize.
Over the years this has been repeatedly done and damaged the image and intentions of the contest.
Prize was an endless story with many winners who did everything to win title. We are not going to tolerate that because we value the sweat of competing in pageants like this.
There were also an issue of misconduct among contenstants how are you going to deal with that?
We are going to be very strict with them. As our motto says that the pageant is for community development and not to gain fame and misuse it. The whole process is set to under serious scrutiny.
Does it mean you are going to take the girls who participated in the grassroots last year befor it was cancelled?
Well, honestly, that wasn't part of our contest but we shall work on it and see how we can take them on board in this year's contest.
Is there going to be any changes in contest?
We are not going to have grassroot contest anymore. It was a good initiative because it was source of employment and entertaintment but the survey shows that's where the problem started. You know its hard to control a lot of people that's why we have decided to eliminate that part. We will only have two stages before finale which are regional and zonal.
There are very competent girls who have what it takes to participate, they tend to shy away because the contest takes too long .
We are expected it to kick off across multiple regions in Tanzania, grouping them into zones like (Central Zone,Northern Zone ,Eastern Zone , Lake Zone ,Southern Highlands and Dar es salaam which has five special regions ie Temeke, Ilala, Ubungo, Kinondoni and Kigamboni). It will also feature contestants from higher learning institutions.
More about the event
Miss Tanzania 2018 was officially Launched April 7 this year and graced by The Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Dr Harrison Mwakyembe adn celebrities like Ailinda Sawe, Noel Ndale , Khadija Mwanamboka, Mustapha Hassanali, Martin Kadinda, Fiderine Iranga and Ally Remtulah .
Now it's now up for the agents across Tanzania to proceed with early stages of the pageant