MISS RWANDA 2020’S first runner-up, Phionah Umwiza on Saturday December 19, was crowned 4th runner up of the Miss University Africa 2021 beauty pageant in Nigeria. She was representing Rwanda in the annual international beauty pageant organised by Visions, Innovations, and Concepts with other African countries 54 delegates all over Africa in Nigeria. She submitted her single “Fight Coronavirus” under the talent category requirements of the pageant. In an interview with The New Times Umwiza described the contest as “incredible and a great opportunity for her to represent the country on a such big platform.” “It was an honor and a privilege to represent my country. Every time I talked, walked, what was in my mind was that I am representing the country because even when they call you they say “Rwanda” and not Phiona”. She was the first Rwandan to come home with a crown from Miss University Africa. In previous contests, the winners took home $50,000, a brand new car, and the title to become the ambassador of students in the African Union. She however, does not know what her prize was as she returned home in a hurry. During the two weeks she spent in the boot camp in Nigeria with other contestants, she shares that she learned a lot and acquired a lot from her fellow colleagues. Even though she wasn’t crowned Miss she is still happy with the experience and the lessons learned. “I was happy that I was able to reach where I reached because we all go there with different expectations but I was still happy even though I didn’t get the full title,” she said. Umwiza said that her main challenge during the competition was the support, she believes if she was supported as much as the other contestants were, she would have brought it home but is grateful for everyone who was on her side and supported her. “Nothing was really difficult in the pageant because I had all the requirements, but I believe a big support system would have been added to the chances of bringing the crown home”. Nonetheless, Umwiza describes the experience there as amazing, having met with different people around the world with different cultures. The pageant, created in 2010 by businessman Taylor Nazzal, is one of the most influential beauty pageants in Africa. It is aimed at celebrating beauty with brains, discouraging indecent dressing amongst African students/youths, discovering the innate potentials of African students, celebrating African culture/tourism, and the African woman.