Mike Appel sponsors car for Miss Malawi winner

With the year drawing to an end, the country is expected to have a new beauty queen to succeed the reigning Miss Malawi Faith Chibale. Highly publicized, the beauty pageant was unveiled few months ago with the organizers Artistic Agency announcing that this year’s winner would be getting a grand prize of a BMW car, before it was pulled out by the sponsors Mnena Gaming after the two parties allegedly differed on the selection mode of the 2011 Miss Malawi.

Nyasa Times(NT) caught up with the agency’s Mabel Banda (MB) to answer the question that many Malawians have been asking. In this interview, she also gives an update ahead of the next month event which will see the crowing of the next Miss Malawi:

Artistic Agency's Mabel Banda (L) and Tadala Chakhaza (R)

NT: The year 2011 is going to an end and the country expects the crowning of a new Miss Malawi but what people hear is about the Miss Warm Heart of Africa contest, has it replaced Miss Malawi?

MB: We have to clarify, because people are confused, they think Miss Malawi has been taken over by Miss Warm Heart of Africa, not true, Miss Malawi is still happening and it’s going to be the best ever. The Miss Malawi pageant [preparations are] going on very well, the finalists were chosen and the final event is on the 23rd of December at Sunbird Capital Hotel.

NT: But after Artistic Agency partied ways with Mnena Gaming, who were the ‘main sponsors’ of this year’s Miss Malawi, you haven’t been doing much in terms of publicity, as I said, people are only hearing about the Miss Warm Heart of Africa:

MB: Mnena Gaming were not the main sponsor. They sponsored the grand prize and also came in as a gaming partner to handle the gaming aspect [and] we’ve got no reason to be making noise in the media, Miss Malawi has been running for years, and we already have a brand. These people [of Miss Warm Heart of Africa] are making noise because they are a new company and they need to be recognized. I should also make it clear that only and only Miss Malawi can represent the country at Miss World and only Miss Malawi becomes the ambassador of the country since we are working under the Ministry of Tourism.

NT: The 2011 Miss Malawi, as initially announced, would be getting a BMW car, courtesy of Mnena Gaming, with their pulling out; does the grand prize of a BMW still stand?

MB: The prize is still a car. We were able to give Miss Malawi a car last year before the Mnena [Gaming] people came along, what could stop us now? Besides we were also the first ones to ever give Miss Malawi a car.

NT: Is it still the BMW?

MB: Well the car is a Chevrolet, and it’s being sponsored by Mike Appel and Gatto. And just to add, the 2011 beauty queen will be getting a custom-made crown which is worth US$5,000, sponsored by Malawi National Lotteries.

NT: It was reported that one of the reasons why you divorced Mnena Gaming was that they wanted to engage the public in the selection process of Miss Malawi, what is your mode of choosing the winner?

MB: We will use the usual pageant rules with a strong focus on intelligence and artistic discipline.

NT: There has not been much activity from the 2010 Miss Malawi Faith Chibale, in terms of charity work and other related duties, why has it been so?

MB: Faith worked hard to get involved in charity activities. The situation in Malawi is different because there isn’t enough support to enable a queen carry out her activities; it is also a self-motivated ideal for a queen to source sponsorship.

NT: What’s the objective of the Miss Malawi office?

MB: Miss Malawi is there first of all to carry the national flag as a tourism and cultural ambassador, on top of acting as a role model in spearheading the education development of the youth with a complement of showing off Malawi’s beauty. As a queen, she is required to reach out to the needy through various developmental projects which are to be chosen by her and supported by her management team and the nation as a whole.

NT: You earlier said ‘only and only Miss Malawi can represent the country at Miss World’; we did not see Faith Chibale at the 2011 Miss World, which took place on November 6, what happened?

MB: It should be mentioned that the Artistic Agency wants what’s best for Faith Chibale, and we had major sponsorship woes to prepare and equip our queen to attend the international pageant. This year, there are already a few companies that have vowed to support the winner to attend international pageants including Miss World.

NT: I have heard Malawians saying and I quote: “The Miss Malawi office is just the title, nothing else”. What’s your take on that?

MB: The Miss Malawi office is not just a title. It is an office that needs to be developed by Malawians so it becomes productive and adds value to the social and economic sector of the Malawian society. It takes the nation to uplift the pageant and this needs concerted efforts from all sectors of the society. When Malawians start looking at the roles of Miss Malawi seriously, then we will move forward. The Artistic Agency is bent on ensuring that that change happens and that is why we are working tirelessly to see that change taking place.

NT: Finally, it is alleged that Artistic Agency owes Mnena Gaming K1.4 million and it has been reported that they have threatened to seek legal action against your agency, do you know anything about this legal threat?

MB: We have had a meeting with Mnena Gaming and this rumor is merely that. It should be mentioned that money issues are usually complicated but we got to the bottom of it.

NT: Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to Nyasa Times Mabel.

MB: Thanks for having interest in the Miss Malawi pageant.

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