EXACTLY 19 years ago, Sandiswe Chikomborero Bhule could not believe her eyes when her favourite candidate in the Miss Zimbabwe 1995 pageant landed the coveted crown.
Bhule then, was only six years old, eyes glued to the screen watching her favourite model Dione Best being crowned Miss Zimbabwe 1995.
“I told myself there and then I wanted to become like her.
“I wanted to know what it felt like to have that crown and be watched by millions on television,” she recalled to Southern Eye Lifestyle this week, a few days after being crowned Miss Earth Zimbabwe.
For Bhule, who shrugged off fierce competition last week to land the title, that was tantamount to living her dream.
“I have always wanted to be a model since I was six years old,” she said, but was quick to add that as she grew older the interest faded since she thought she did not meet the requirements.
“I was a tomboy. I also didn’t understand the role of beauty queens,” she said.
But her love for nature made her change her mind later in life to contest for the Miss Earth pageant.
“I used to spend the holidays at my mother’s rural area in Rusape. This made me fall in love with nature and I began to pay attention to the environmental degradation in both rural and urban areas. I entered Miss Earth Zimbabwe because the mandate of the beauty queen was well spelt out and it resonated with me,” Bhule said.
A confident woman not afraid of a challenge, Bhule said she was inspired by women in her life.
She is the youngest daughter in her family. Bhule cites her family as having had a positive influence in her life and the source of her strength.
“My mother and my grandmother are my ultimate inspirations. Each of them has a quality that I admire,” she said.
Bhule hoped the Miss Earth Zimbabwe title would give her the power to spread environmental awareness.
“By teaching our friends and family that the physical environment is fragile and indispensable, we could begin fixing the problems that threaten it,” she added.
“My project was called Environment Matters. Through it I laid a foundation for future environmental work through sustainable community-sourced and implemented solutions. I also set up school environmental clubs to set a standard of environmental living in the young ones from an early age. I learnt a lot of lessons, but the biggest ones I learnt were patience, planning for unexpected outcomes and perseverance,” she said.
Her next step would be to work towards a 10 000 tree project with her runners-ups and next stop will be King George Primary School where they will plant trees.
She is scheduled to represent Zimbabwe in the global finals in the Philippines in November.
“The Philippines is a big step for me. I would be conversant with issues concerning my country, so I could represent our nation well for the pageant. I will also work harder, even more, to get that sculpted look, take better care of my skin, and learn about culture, language and places in the Philippines,” she added.
Born in Harare, Bhule grew up in Bulawayo where she attended primary school at Fairview Adventist and later Mabelreign Girls’ High, Harare.
Currently she is studying for Bachelor of Business Management at the Institute of Marketing and Management.
Bhule has two other jobs.
She works at Hypercube Hub as a hyper geek. She started Footprints, a trust that provides educational, social support and networks for young Zimbabweans.
The 14 finalists in the Miss Earth pageant worked on various projects across the country in a bid to discourage deforestation, encourage the planting of trees, and promote wildlife management to drive eco-tourism in Zimbabwe.