FIFTEEN contestants for this year's season of Muvi Television's popular Ready for marriage series were on Monday unveiled to the public at a launch held at Lusaka's Golden Bridge Hotel.

The contestants who are mainly former sexual workers  drawn from across the country will for a period of three months compete for the K45 million grand prize and a wedding sponsorship of the same value, while the runner-up will get K35 million and wedding sponsorship of K35 million.

The third-placed contestant is expected to get K25 million and a wedding sponsorship valued at the same prize.

Muvi TV director of administration and human resources Alfred Tembo said the step that the contestants took represented an opportunity for them to transform and start afresh in life.
"The journey we are beginning is a grand step to rebuild, rehabilitate and educate the masses… make the very best of each day because you are soldiers and leaders of change. Lead your lives with the endless desire to change for the better," he said.

Meanwhile National AIDS council chairperson Bishop Joshua Banda urged Muvi TV to make sure the contestants do not feel used.

"I urge Muvi TV staff to keep their intentions very clean and stay on course because a programme that is viewership-driven can easily derail or go off course and contestants should stay focused and learn and not just go for the money," he said.

The launch was characterised with thematic musical performances from the Ready for Marriage musical team whose album is scheduled for release in a fortnight.

"I'm not embarrassed to viewers  because I'm trying to come out open because in life we face many issues and I have gone through many hardships and i'm willing to change," said Isabel Mwansa, one of the contestants.

Another contestant, Jacklyn Kachingwe, said she was neglected by her family and resorted to prostitution, a lifestyle she thought could not take her anywhere.

Also competing in the series are Mwamba Hangolo, Anna Shumba, Conslator Mwaka, Sandra Muyaba, Muleya Munkombwe and Sharon Phiri.

Others are Tina Kasanga, Alice Muyuni, Jane Mutale, Esnart Mwanza, Precious Kawinga, Flaviour Nakumuna and Ester Phiri.