The search for Miss Rwanda 2019 entered a decisive stage over the weekend with contestants reduced from 37 to 20, who will reach the grand finale.
The 20 girls picked in a competitive process progressed to the boot camp in the final pre-selection event held on Saturday at PSF Gikondo Expo Ground tent.
Co-hosted by US-based radio personality Ally Soudi, and RTV presenter Luckman Nzeyimana, the colorful event started at 7 pm shortly after the girls arrived at the venue aboard a bus, as the crowd waited, anxiously, to see if their favourite contestants will continue.
The evening started with catwalk sessions as all the contestants were introduced to the crowd on the runway before they could proceed with answering questions from the judges.
The atmosphere inside the tent was electric as youthful supporters turned up with banners, flags and photos of their favourite contestant as they animatedly screamed and cheered on those they supported.
In a two-hour long Question-Answer session, each of the 37 contestants had at least two minutes, or less, to stand before the panel of judges, pick a paper in the pot beside her and answer the question from the judges corresponding with the number they picked.
L-R: Judges Jolly Mutesi, Carine Urusaro and Evelyne Umurerwa couldn’t stop laughing during the competition.
The audience, young and old, mainly made of friends, parents and fan clubs of the contestants, shrieked and ululated as they urged on their contestants.
But if the reaction of the audience was anything to go by, the evening belonged to Josiane Mwiseneza, who represents Western Province, who is currently making headlines.
The Western Province representative, who walked a distance of over 10km to take part in the auditions in Rubavu has since become a darling of many, mainly on social media, with thousands rooting for her.
Mwiseneza has since become a hot topic on social media among Rwandans, in and outside Rwanda and some foreigners backing her for the crown, thanks to her courage and determination.
It is understood that some especially in the diaspora have gone as far as fundraising for her to support her journey in Miss Rwanda.
Fans cheered enthusiastically for their favourite contestants during the pre-selection event at PSF Gikondo Expo Ground on Jan.5. Courtesy photos.
Her support was evident during the preselection event as the majority of the audience in the hall stood to cheer on her whenever she appeared on stage, from the runway to the time she faced the jury for Question-Answer session.
At some point the judges Evelyne Umurerwa, Jolly Mutesi and Carine Urusaro called for calm in the audience to allow the process to continue as they struggled to ask her questions amidst noise.
Appearing relaxed, Mwiseneza answered the question in Kinyarwanda, but whether she aced the question or not, it did not matter since she had already won an automatic pass as the most voted contestant on social media platforms.
Her photo accumulated the highest number of likes on Miss Rwanda facebook and Instagram pages, recording a total of 37, 074 likes.
At the boot camp, Mwiseneza will be joined by 19 others who were picked during the pre-selection exercise.
They are Claudine Uwase Muyango , Vanessa Cyiza Tuyishimire , Ricca Michaella Kabahenda N, Sonia Teta Mukunzi , Josiane Niyonsaba , Joally Higiro , Odille Uwase Sangwa , Irene Murebwayire , Sandrine Umurungi , Oliver Mutoni , Casimir Uwihirwe Yasipi , Nisha Bayera Keza , Ange Nicole Teta Mugabo and Clemence Umukundwa .
Western Province’s Josiane Mwiseneza received deafening cheers from the crowd when she emerged on stage for the Q&A session.
Others include Darine Igihozo, Pamella Uwicyeza, Meghan Numwiza, Charlotte Inyumba and Anita Gaju.
Mwiseneza is the remaining lone contestant representing the Western Province at the pageant finals.
The Southern and Eastern provinces top the charts with most representatives at the boot camp with seven contestants apiece while two are representing the City of Kigali and three from the Northern Province to complete the list.
The 20 contestants will spend about two weeks at the boot camp slated to start January 13 at La Palisse Hotel Nyamata.
At the boot camp, contestants will be mentored on how to develop their projects so that they can benefit the country as well as public speaking and catwalk skills.
The winner for Miss Rwanda 2019 will be announced at the grand finale slated for January 26 at Intare Conference Arena, Rusororo.