Wednesday, 10 June 2020

ROW OVER MISS RURAL PAGEANT


MISS Rural founder, Sipho Mazibuko is fuming after a pageant, Miss Rural Africa, organised by Oil Castor Zimbabwe is being run without her consent.

Miss Rural Africa is a beauty pageant for young African women based in rural areas. It is run by Oil Castor, a bio-technology company based in Harare in search of an ambassador for their company.

According to Mazibuko, Miss Rural is registered as a trademark and patented by her and as such anyone who wants to use that name must seek permission from her. She has threatened to sue the Miss Rural Africa organisers for copyright infringement.

“My lawyer and I are looking for the address of this pageant (Miss Rural Africa) and I want to sue them. I’m also going to the police in Bulawayo to report them for cybercrime.
“If they want to use the name Miss Rural, they have to seek permission from me. Thereafter they can buy the licence from me,” said Mazibuko.

She said she sought audience from the organisers and was snubbed.

“I’ve been trying to call these people for a long time. They weren’t picking my calls and were only responding on WhatsApp. When I asked them what they were doing, they said it was their pageant. I told them it was mine and asked if they knew who they were talking to, of which they replied saying no.

“I then said I’m the owner of the pageant and thereafter, they switched off their phone and blocked me on WhatsApp,” said Mazibuko. 

She said her pageant which was last held in 2007 was registered under her name 16 years ago.

“I registered Miss Rural in 2004 and with the registration, I’m supposed to renew it every 10 years. So, in 2014 I did that and I’m working on a lot of things for the Miss Rural pageant.”

Contacted for comment, organisers of the Miss Rural Africa pageant said they were ready to meet Mazibuko in court.

Oil Castor co-founder Alvaro Arellano said their pageant’s name was different from Mazibuko’s.

“My pageant’s name is Miss Rural Africa June 2020. There were no trademarks on that name. The claims (by Mazibuko) are baseless and yes if she sues, we will have to defend in court,” said Arellano.

He acknowledged Mazibuko’s efforts of reaching out to them but said she was aggressive. 

“Mazibuko reached out through someone else and was very aggressive. I’m only trying to empower women.

“The motive behind the pageant is to empower rural women by giving them a platform to express themselves to millions of Zimbabweans around the globe,” said Arellano

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