The first ever Mr and Miss Tuks pageant was hosted by Stuku (Student Culture) on 16 September 2011. It is now almost a year later and the winners have still not received any of the prizes that they were promised, nor is it certain whether the pageant will continue.

Stuku hosted the beauty pageant last year but according to Mr and Miss Tuks they were unable to follow through on their promises and the winners are now considering taking legal action against both Stuku and UP.

Miss Tuks 2011, Randy Kgodumo, said that it is unfair that Miss TuksRag received prizes such as an Audi branded with her title while the overall Tuks beauty pageant winners only received a bouquet of flowers and a sash.

It is still unclear how UP was involved in the pageant as they have not yet responded to the complaint put forward by the winners.

Stuku manager, Thabane Mkhwebane, revealed that Stuku will no longer be hosting the Mr and Miss Tuks pageant but that they only had the best intentions with regards to the pageant and do not wish to rule the pageant out completely for the future. “We got a lot of things right, but there is room for improvement. TuksRag already sets the bar [and we] must match this,” Mkhwebane explained.

Mkhwebane added that Stuku arranged the pageant during a very busy time of year. Cultural events such as Expressi and Serenade took place around the same time which, as Mkhwebane explained, made it difficult to address the flaws.

Stuku, however, did not arrange the event alone and approached Modelling South Africa (MSA) to assist in co-ordinating the event and preparing the contestants for the show.

According to an electronic document sent to Stuku by MSA, they agreed to train all the contestants and pledged to sponsor a test photo shoot for all title winners (this included Mr and Miss Tuks, all runners-up, and Mr and Miss Photogenic) and in addition, they agreed to give the main winners, professional modelling course vouchers at MSA that included a professional portfolio and a one-year model management membership at their agency.

Stuku promised the overall winners of the pageant beauty hampers and that Mr and Miss Tuks would represent the university at formal events. “We were told [that] we would be ambassadors for Tuks,” Kgodumo said.

None of the abovementioned promises allegedly made by Stuku or MSA have materialised. “They robbed me of my time. It is not only about the two of us, but [involves] everybody that invested their time in this,” said Mr Tuks, Thabani Mbule.

Stuku paid MSA to manage the contestants and argued that whatever MSA promised the winners did not involve them and they (Stuku) held MSA accountable for the prizes that were never delivered.

David de Villiers, Pro Model coach and photographer at MSA, who was asked to guide and assist Stuku with the pageant, responded to this accusation and argued that it was Stuku’s responsibility to forward all the contact details and schedules of the winners to him so that MSA could arrange the courses and photo shoots as agreed.

De Villiers explained that the reason why MSA decided to pull out was because of poor communication and delegation on Stuku’s part. “I did more than my bit ever since the start, but Stuku members at that stage were on a different planet,” he said.

He assured Perdeby that MSA never intended to jeopardise their relationship with UP and that they are still willing to award the prizes promised. But they expect full co-operation from the university. “If it is important to Tuks or Stuku, they will do their part and help me sort this out,” De Villiers said.

At the time of going to print UP had not responded to Perdeby’s enquiries.

Photo: Bonita Lubbe

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