THE search for Africa’s cultural ambassador at the Zuri Africa-Global finals initially scheduled for Harare on November 1 has been moved to December 14 in Kenya after the organisers failed to secure the buy-in of government and other local stakeholders as the country battles an unprecedented economic meltdown.

Zuri Africa-Global founder and director Ryan Nush confirmed the development yesterday, saying Zimbabwe has proved incapable of hosting the inaugural event that would have afforded the country an opportunity to market its organic culture.

“Sadly, the competition is now being hosted by Kenya with more than 22 countries participating. National director for Kenya is now the host partner. We failed to get the right support from the Ministry (of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation) and financial support. There is no way we can sell our country without adequate resources,” he said.

“Zimbabwe has no resources to support this noble African initiative. We did all we could, we even begged but we are not ready as a country.”

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Nush disclosed that South Africa was the initial choice before they settled for Zimbabwe since it is home to the founders.

“Our major challenge was lack of financial and technical support from relevant stakeholders,” he said.

Nush said their national director, Eutychus Chamunorwa, was searching for funds to support Zimbabwe’s queen, Patience Nomazulu Gumbo’s bid to clinch the African title.

“The national director is in charge of soliciting funds to cover travelling expenses for the country’s queen. That has to be through sourcing for sponsorship,” he said.

Participating countries include Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Zambia, Togo, South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Eswatini, Tanzania and Lesotho.

Despite the cancellation of the Zuri Africa finale on November 1, a fashion show will be hosted on the day in partnership with the Zimbabwe Fashion Council.

“We are now making use of the day to officially launch the programme — have a fashion show and talent night. National directors mostly from countries represented are coming to witness and grace the Africa launch in Zimbabwe,” Nush said.

“Up-and-coming talent in arts will be showcased and musician Batsirai Shasha and Savanafrique are scheduled to perform.”