Miss Rhodesia

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Miss Rhodesia was the national beauty pageant of Rhodesia and its antecedents. It debuted in Miss World in 1959, but was not allowed to participate after Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965. When Rhodesia transitioned to a majority democracy and became Zimbabwe in 1980, Miss Rhodesia became Miss Zimbabwe.


Miss Rhodesia was established as Miss Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1959. The winner debuted at Miss World 1959, with Vivien Lentin placing as a semifinalist. In 1960, Jenny Lee Scott appeared at Miss World. In 1961, there were two "Miss Rhodesias," when Angela Moorcroft competed at Miss World representing Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and Jonee Sierra representing Southern Rhodesia at Miss Universe. In 1965, Lesley Bunting represented Rhodesia at Miss World 1965, just days after the country declared independence from the United Kingdom. Despite this, Bunting was still able to participate, and she was a Top 7 Finalist that year.[1][2]

After 1965, Miss Rhodesia was no longer allowed to participate in Miss World, due to Rhodesia's political situation. Despite this, in 1972 the English-born Miss Rhodesia attempted to travel to Britain to compete in Miss World, but was barred entry, despite her British citizenship.[3] Four years later, when Miss Rhodesia Jane Bird flew to London and attempted to participate in Miss World 1976, she was prevented by the organization.[4][5] In 1980, when Rhodesia reverted to a British colony and was renamed Zimbabwe, Miss Rhodesia ended and was succeeded by Miss Zimbabwe

List of titleholders[edit]

Helen Elliott[6] and Myra Fowler[7] held the Miss Rhodesia title, but the sources do not include the year.

Year Miss Rhodesia Hometown Notes and references
1959 Vivien Lentin - Semifinalist at Miss World 1959

(Miss Rhodesia and Nyasaland)

1960 Jenny Lee Scott - Competed at Miss World 1960

(Miss Southern Rhodesia)[8]

1961 Angela Moorcroft - Competed at Miss World 1961[9]

(Miss Rhodesia and Nyasaland)

Jonee Sierra - Competed at Miss Universe 1961[citation needed]

(Miss Southern Rhodesia)

1962 - -
1963 - -
1964 - -
1965 Lesley Bunting Salisbury[10] Top 7 Finalist at Miss World 1965[1][2]
1966 - -
1967 - -
1968 - -
1969 - -
1970 - -
1971 Corinne Prinsloo - [11]
1972 Helga Vera Johns - Was not allowed to compete in Miss World 1972 despite having dual citizenship with the UK. Johns later moved to South Africa and won the 1975 Miss South Africa contest and tried to compete again at Miss World 1975, but was barred entry due to not living in South Africa for 5 years as per the requirements of the Miss World Organization. Johns, to this day, remains the only person barred from entering the contest at least twice.[3][12][13]
1973 Beverley Donald - Mother of Chelsy Davy[14][15]
1974 - - -
1975 Trudy Cliffe - [16]
1976 Jane Bird - Bird attempted to participate in Miss World 1976, but was barred because of Rhodesia's political and diplomatic situation[4][5]
1977 Connie Makaya - First black Miss Rhodesia[17][18][19]
1978 Blessed Unami Sikhosana Bulawayo[20] [20]
1979 - - -
1980 Miss Rhodesia became Miss Zimbabwe in 1980


  1. ^ a b "U.K. wins Miss World again, sparks new row". Ottawa Citizen. 1965-11-20.
  2. ^ a b "Politics is causing contest stir". 1965-11-13.
  3. ^ a b Strack, Harry R. (1978). Sanctions: The Case of Rhodesia. Syracuse University Press. p. 233. ISBN 9780815621614.
  4. ^ a b "What the World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love—Especially the Beauty Contest of the Same Name". People. Vol. 6, no. 23. 1976-12-06. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  5. ^ a b "Miss Rhodesia, 22 year old Jane Bird, reveals her shapely figure at her London hotel". Getty Images (in German). Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  6. ^ Thompson, Douglas (2011-10-14). Shadowland: How the Mafia Bet Britain in a Global Gamble. Random House. ISBN 9781780571546.
  7. ^ MacLaren, I. P. (1982). More Rhodesian senior schools: part two, 1950-1982 : contributed editorial. Books of Zimbabwe. ISBN 9780869202609.
  8. ^ "ORAFs - Old Rhodesian Air Force Sods Newsletter". www.ourstory.com. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  9. ^ "On This Day In Photos – Rhodesia In Crisis: Ian Smith Issues A Unilateral Declaration of Independence |". Flashbak. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  10. ^ "Topfoto - Preview 1116252 - London: Miss Rhodesia - Miss Lesley Bunting". www.topfoto.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  11. ^ "Roll back :Ex-Miss Rhodesia, Corrine Prinsloo Adds Glamour to Cargo | Zimbabwe News | Zimbabwe News". www.thezimbabwenewslive.com. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  12. ^ Trethowan, Anthony (2008). Delta Scout: Ground Coverage Operator. 30° South Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 9781920143213.
  13. ^ Sally-Ann Fawcett (19 April 2012). More Misdemeanours - And Other Beauty Queen Stories. Lulu Enterprises (published Apr 20, 2016). ISBN 9781326634148. OL 35077796M.
  14. ^ Sykes, Tom (2011-04-26). "Chelsy Davy, Prince Harry's Hard-Partying Royal Wedding Date". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  15. ^ Blair, David. "Zimbabwe's great white survivor". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-09-14.
  16. ^ Binda, Alexandre (2007). The Saints: The Rhodesian Light Infantry. 30° South Publishers. p. 145. ISBN 9781920143077.
  17. ^ Kells (2020-02-05). "Meet the first Black Miss Rhodesia who is also aunt to Robert Mugabe Jnr's bae". ZiMetro News. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  18. ^ Mabhiza, Lucky (2020-02-05). "Meet the first Black Miss Rhodesia who is also aunt to Robert Mugabe Jnr's bae". Mbare Times. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  19. ^ "PICS: Meet The First Black Miss Rhodesia And Aunt To Robert Mugabe Jnr's Model Bae". iHarare News. 2020-02-05. Retrieved 2021-10-17.
  20. ^ a b "SU People:Blessed Unami Sikhosana". Syracuse University Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-28.