The man adjudged to be the foulest-looking at Mr Ugly Zimbabwe will this year walk away with a cow for that feat as the competition, which was not held last year, makes a return this month.
The much-loved pageant taking place at the City Sports Bar in Harare on October 23 will be held under the theme ‘‘Let’s celebrate the beauty in ugliness’’. Musician Mbeu and his Mhodzi Tribe band are set to provide entertainment.
Event organiser, David “Apama” Machowa said: “A beast will be the first prize for the ugliest person and it’ll be up to the winner to choose whether they want to walk away with it or be given money instead.”
Apama said so far, 13 contestants have registered to participate.
“Thirteen contestants meticulously chosen from Bulawayo, Masvingo and Kariba among other cities and towns have confirmed participation. Judging from the contestants this year, it’ll be challenging to come up with the ugliest person as competition is stiff,” he said.
The unique Mr Ugly Zimbabwe ‘‘beauty’’ pageant started in Beitbridge in 2009 and has gained popularity since. In 2012, the organisers made it a national event. At the first national competition in 2012, there were just five competitors, but the figure went up to 36 in 2015.
There was controversy following the 2015 contest when crowd favourite and reigning champion William Masvinu claimed that the winner Mison Sere was “too handsome” to win since his ugliness wasn’t natural as it was based on missing teeth.
Now, there are plans to develop the pageant to have a Mr Ugly Africa and Mr Ugly World pageants
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The winner of this year’s edition of Mr Ugly, set to take place at Mtangaz Hide Out in Ruwa, will walk away with a bull, the pageant founder has said.
Pageant founder and organiser David “Apama Styles” Machowa is convinced that the prize will make the contest even more competitive.
“Our anchor sponsor has pledged a beast for the winner and am very sure the competition will be tight,” said Apama Styles, an award-winning dancer who is popular for his comical dance styles.
When the Mr Ugly pageant was last held two years ago, at the City Sports Bar in the capital, Harare, the winner Mison Sere pocketed $500 after being controversially adjudged to be uglier than previous winner William Masvinu.
According to Machowa, 15 contestants have so far pledged their interest to wrestle the crown from Sere who hails from the Harare suburb of Mabvuku.
“The interest has been overwhelming and we are confident that this year’s edition will be the best to date.
“Our last edition was a success and we also received overwhelming coverage globally.
“Despite the economic challenges that saw us failing the contest last year, we are determined to host an event to remember this year,” he told the Daily News.
The 2015 Mr Ugly pageant will be best remembered for almost degenerating into a brawl after Masvinu refused to concede defeat.
He argued that Sere’s ugliness was not natural since it was based on missing teeth.
He accused the pageant’s adjudicators — Sharlene Nyakurai, Abigirl Mataranyika and Denzel Masawi — of bias.
“That was not fair. How could he (Sere) win when he was number four the previous year? What has changed all of a sudden for him to win this time around?
“You made him the winner simply because of missing teeth. But does that define ugliness? Do you want me to remove some of my teeth to reclaim my position?” Masvinu said then.
The judges, however, stood their ground.
“We were looking at the appearance, confidence, body structure and the zeal in contestants.
“All the contestants — top three — were ugly but Masvinu was overconfident and that complacency on his part failed him. He lacked the zeal,” said Masawi, who was the head judge.
But Sere’s failure to land any corporate endorsements over the past two years probably lends credence to Masvinu’s argument that the 2015 Mr Ugly winner “is not ugly enough.”
Unlike Masvinu who landed some corporate endorsements, Sere has been totally ignored by companies.
Sere’s manager Tawanda Nyikadzanzwa told the Daily News that sponsors were not warming up to his charge.
“Apart from the winning prize of $500, we were hoping to attract corporate endorsements but nothing of that sort came our way.
“Mr Ugly Zimbabwe is wallowing in abject poverty. He is struggling to put food on the table, and he can’t even afford a mobile phone,” said Nyikadzanzwa.