Dar es Salaam — Come this August and Tanzania will usher in a new beauty queen in the annual Miss Tanzania beauty pageant. This year's contest, according to the event organizer - The Look Company, will be unlike any other.
Speaking to The Citizen, the event managing director, Basila Mwanukuzi said this year's contest will feature 20 contestants to be selected in what will be a first of its kind special audition in various Zones in Mainland Tanzania.
What sets this year's event apart from the previous is the fact that the whole idea of doing auditions is a unique experience in Miss Tanzania formalities.
Mwanukuzi said in order to avoid various challenges from their agents, they have decided to use auditions to select this year's contestants instead of competing in regional and zonal beauty pageants contests.
She said over the past editions they have experienced challenges from agents who do not perform their duties as per rules and regulations.
"There are some agents who violate our rules and regulations thereby denting the image of the pageant. There are so many challenges that we have experienced in the two years since our take over," she said.
Pointing out some of the challenges, Mwanukuzi revealed there are agents who fail to pay prizes to the winners. She also added that staging substandard contests is another thorn that was piercing at the fragile Miss Tanzania balloon.
"Such shortcomings led to a lot of grievances from Miss Tanzania enthusiasts, most of whom complained of dissatisfaction with how the pageant events are staged," said Mwanukuzi.
Mwanukuzi, a former beauty queen herself, said another burning issue was the way contestants selection was done, a deviation from expected procedure and criteria given to organizers.
"In short, we did not have direct supervision of regional and zonal beauty contests. This led to some of the qualified contestants to miss out on a chance at competing in the final event," she said.
About the new procedure
Mwanukuzi elaborates that through the structure of auditions that they've put in place this year, they strongly believe only contestants who meet qualifications as per Miss World Beauty pageant will be selected.
"Our committee will supervise all auditions and select the contestants ahead of the Miss Tanzania pageant," she further explained.
Another plus in the new procedure, is the fact that there is no limitation in the number of selected contestants, a contrast to the previous mode of selection.
"We can select as many qualified contestants as we can and prepare them for the Miss Tanzania camp. So, we might have 40, 50, or even 60 beauty queens," she said. It is from this lot that 20 finalists will be selected for the rehearsal camp after each has submitted their 'Beauty with a Purpose' project and gone through the final auditions.
The Zones classification remains intact. As such, there will be Central Zone, Eastern Zone, Southern Highland Zone, Lake Zone, Northern Zone and Dar e Salaam Zone which comprises of contestants from Temeke, Ilala, Ubungo, Kigamboni and Kinondoni.
Central Zone will open this year's audition on March 7, followed by Northern Zone on Mach 14 before Lake Zone stages its auditions on March 21.
Further explaining on the changes in this year's contest, Mwanukuzi said contestants will have to take part in the FastTrack events, from which winners will qualify directly into the top 10 finalists.
The Fast Track events are Miss Photogenic, Beauty with Purpose, Top Model, Talents, Miss Personality, Sports and People's choice (Multimedia).
She also said that this year's contest will have three themes namely; tourism promotion, reforestation and beekeeping and honey production.