Brenda Phiri Arts Correspondent
Newly crowned Miss Diamond Queen of Africa Chiedza Gwanda is ecstatic about her new-found fame.
Her life took an interesting twist over the weekend when she beat several regional finalists to be first queen of the charity pageant.
A third-year law student at the University of Zimbabwe and a legal intern at Manase and Manase Associates, Gwanda is ready to take on new challenges that come with her title.
“I feel blessed to have been chosen in a competition that was so stiff. The girls were beautiful and I honestly didn’t expect to come out as the winner,” she said.
The 22-year-old, who is a first timer in modelling, revealed that she was on the lookout for Nigerian finalists as she felt they were her biggest threat. She, however, credited her preparatory measures of proper eating, praying and researching about her culture for her success.
“Initially, we had been told that there would be contestants from Nigeria but since they did not turn up, the South Africans were proving to be too hot to handle. The thing is that I understood that the pageant was more on charity more than anything. Because of that, I presented a great project that I had been working on before the show,” she said.
Growing up in Bulawayo, Gwanda is the second born in a family of four. She moved to Harare in 2010 when she was 18 and has been based in Gunhill ever since. She said her family is more excited about her new title than her.
“I am not a diva and I never will be one. Nothing much has changed now that I got this title. I am going to use this opportunity to inspire young women as much as I can. I grew up feeling inferior because I was really chubby. It is a bad feeling so I want to mentor young ladies and encourage them to realise their full potential,” she said.
Gwanda also shed light on what the future holds in terms of work and her new career in modelling.
“It is work as usual at the law firm, but my colleagues are excited about my achievement. I am capable of making that balance with my charity roles. I will continue with modelling as long as I have the opportunity to do so,” she said.
She expressed gratitude to her colleagues, family and friends Vongai Shumba, Makanaka Chonzi and Victor Shana for holding her hand throughout the pageant.