Miss Rwanda should not be about just a pretty face, but someone we hope to be a standard-bearer for the country; a cultural ambassador, if you will. That, at any rate, would be the only justification for any involvement of state entities in the entire process.
But if we end up having almost exclusively as participants only young women who are mostly inarticulate in the languages they would need to master in order to be effective ambassadors, young women whose general knowledge of both the wider world and even their own country and its culture seems so uniformly light (I am trying to be kind here), then the purpose for this cannot be fulfilled.
The only thing all these young women seem to share in abundance is brash self-confidence. I guess to believe that you are the most beautiful girl in the land, and to want that to be acknowledged by all, it requires an exceedingly high level of self-belief, or a very pushy family or entourage, or both.
Unfortunately, out there in the broader world, looks are not always a sufficient compensation for knowledge, articulateness, and other survival skills—unless your ambition is to become a rich man’s trophy.
Reaction to the letter, “Only Miss Rwanda contestants can redeem themselves” (The New Times, January 31)