Beyond pageantry: The interface between modelling and mining
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
The modelling industry has over the years been associated with beauty, fashion, cat walking on the runway and advertising. That is what comes in mind without taking a deep dive into the industry’s potential in mining communities. Apart from showcasing beauty, talent, fashion trends and competing, pageantries have the potential to make Zimbabwe an investment mining destination, empower women in rural mining communities and contribute to sustainable natural resources governance.
Nomsa Mpofu (31) (pictured), the brains behind Miss Mines Zimbabwe did not miss out on that one! Miss Mines Zimbabwe (MMZ) is an annual beauty pageant fostered to promote the mining industry and girl child empowerment through showcasing beauty and talent.
Growing up in Gwanda’s Mlowezi area of Matebeleland South and witnessing some of the painful experiences that rural mining women endured in a mining set up inspired her to look into mining girl child empowerment through recognizing beauty, self-confidence and self-worth. She is a living testimony on the hardships encountered by women in a mining environment as she had to fend for her children after separating with their father.
“I endured hard labor through gold panning for survival with my family after a failed marriage,” Mpofu told the Mining Vision Magazine. “I also witnessed HIV/AIDS victims, high death rates, school dropouts, child pregnancies, violence by miners and prostitution by young girls for survival”
Since the inception of Miss Mines Zimbabwe in 2018, Mpofu who was appointed the Young Miners Foundation (YMF) brand ambassador in January 2022 says she does not regret taking this noble step. She reminisced how it was hectic for her to pitch the importance of her beauty pageant to mining brands when she started.
She said: “Some people don’t believe in modeling and have the wrong perspectives about modeling, which is a mindset l am trying to change in people. But now the responses are slowly becoming good.”
“Women living in mining communities are facing challenges which need attention. Some are being bullied by men at their claims or by some greedy registered mining companies and individuals when they are striving to work in order to feed families,’’ Mpofu told the Mining Vision Magazine while articulating the role of pageantries in confronting these issues
“We look into humanitarian concerns after mining business profits and losses especially those related to women in mining, girls in mining communities and environmental concerns,” the 31-year-old model revealed. “We raise awareness and educate mining residents, school girls and youths on issues to do with violence, abuse, early marriages, child pregnancies, prostitution, peer pressure, abortion, effects of school dropouts, environment as well as how to register a claim.”
Miss Mines Zimbabwe CEO cum events coordinator for tourism events and Simuka Modeling Agency Director is of the view that the interface between mining and pageantry can market the country’s natural resources and promote tourism in mining communities.
“It is our main objective to promote the mining sector, mining brands and companies and also market the natural resources in the country to potential investors at events like our Miss Mines beauty pageant and other mining events, given the opportunity to do so,” she elaborated.
Nomsa Mpofu also underscored the importance of a symbiotic relationship between the tourism and mining sector in attracting Foreign Direct Investment in the country. According to a 2018 Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) study on the impact of FDI in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, FDI in the extractive industry is inevitable due to its complexity, high risk and capital intensive nature of mining.
“There is need to identify natural tourism destinations in mining communities even if they will need a bit of modernization and there is also need to convince mining companies to diversify and build hotels, jewelry museums, 5 star restaurants, travel and tours business as this will create employment for residents and attract investors and tourists,” she told the Mining Vision Magazine. “This makes our beauty pageant unique considering that the mining industry is one of the largest sectors lobbing in economic financial flows in our country.”
For the record, the MMZ mastermind was the Events Coordinator for Presidential Tourism related events namely the Zimbabwe Food and Culture 2019 and Zimbabwe National Fabric 2020 event. She says the modelling industry has the power to advocate for good natural resources management and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
“It is our objective to convince mining companies to adhere to CSR in the communities which they operate in even though CSR is not compulsory, we still knock at their doors for assistance and make a difference in community.”
The MMZ Founder made a passionate plea to mining players citing that: “Mining sector players can support the Miss Mines initiative through partnering with us in our work, supporting us financially or with items on our budgets in order to deliver our objectives bearing in mind that the Miss Mines is not all about beauty and catwalk.”
She also revealed that Miss Mines Zimbabwe 2022 is scheduled for 23 September in Masvingo