Miss Rwanda 2018 preps on course


Miss Rwanda 2017 Elsa Iradukunda beat 15 finalists to the crown on February 25. File.

The search for Miss Rwanda 2018 is on. The search will be officially unveiled next week, and will kick off with registration, followed by auditions in January.

The grand finale will take place in the last week of February. Registration will be done strictly online.

“We’re trying to see how we can improve on the branding and also sensitisation of contestants about the categories that they will be meeting in international competitions. There are some stages that we don’t exercise here, and that we need to focus on more, like talent shows, head to head challenge, sports challenge, multimedia etc,” Dieudonee Ishimwe, the Miss Rwanda organiser disclosed.

Last year’s contestants in one of the class sessions. File photo.

“We are looking to a colorful and entertaining event at the grand finale. We want to focus more on entertaining people and creating an enjoyable event. Miss Rwanda is all about culture, about empowering girls, and giving them a platform to give back to society. It’s about beauty, brains, and culture.”

For only the second time since the pageant’s inception in 1951, Rwanda took part in this year’s Miss World beauty pageant in China.

The glitzy event at the Crown of Beauty Theater in the Chinese city of Sanya saw Miss India 2017, Manushi Chillar walk home with the crown.

This year, Miss Rwanda 2017, Elsa Iradukunda represented Rwanda at the pageant, following in the footsteps of Jolly Mutesi (Miss Rwanda 2016), who represented the country the previous year.

Going to Miss World after Mutesi debuted only last year, Iradukunda’s participation in this year’s pageant brought pride to not only the institution of Miss Rwanda, but the country at large.

What’s more, Iradukunda moved a notch higher than her predecessor, taking part in the pageant’s Dances of the World segment.

Here, each contestant showcased their country’s signature traditional dance and traditional wear. Iradukunda wore Umushanana (traditional Rwandan dress), sewn in Rwanda’s national colours of blue, yellow and green. Then she led fellow contestants in a dance to Cecile Kayirebwa’s Abakoobwa b’iwacu.

“As organisers we are happy for Miss Rwanda to participate in Miss World. It (Miss World) is an event with two objectives; marketing one’s country, and then it’s a competition. Before thinking of competition, you have to think about the value of the country you’re representing. That was our key message to Miss Rwanda,” explained Ishimwe.

“It was only our second time there, and taking part in the Dances of the World is very good progress for Miss Rwanda. So we’re trying to push and see how we can bring the Miss World honors home,” he added.

Grenadian Jennifer Josephine Hosten, the Miss World 1970 is to date the only woman of African ancestry to have clinched the accolade. She was eventually crowned amidst the greatest controversy in the history of Miss World.

Ishimwe revealed that with the Miss World pageant already done, the focus now shifts to Miss Rwanda 2018, the stepping stone to Miss World 2018.

Ishimwe however counsels that team effort is needed if Rwanda’s prospects at subsequent Miss World competitions are to improve:

“It’s not something easy, and that’s what we’re trying to get Rwandans to understand. You have to fight for it. They have to vote. We don’t have a culture of using Mobstar here. We only use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Also we have to get experience. When you say Miss World everyone thinks about Indonesia, Venezuela and France. In order to be among those experienced countries, we need to participate more,” Ishimwe explained.

“Lastly, the country has to put more effort to push Miss Rwanda because it’s good for marketing the country,” he added.