FOCUS : Beauty pageants and the need to realize the social-cultural expectations

Prudently speaking the first thing a person should ask you about Rwanda as of today would be the refreshingly lucrative business opportunities here, but ironically 85 percent of the folks you meet from our neighbouring countries ask you to connect them to at least one Rwandan beauty, they say it with seriously straight faces.
Miss East Africa Rwandan chapter contestants.
Miss East Africa Rwandan chapter contestants.

Prudently speaking the first thing a person should ask you about Rwanda as of today would be the refreshingly lucrative business opportunities here, but ironically 85 percent of the folks you meet from our neighbouring countries ask you to connect them to at least one Rwandan beauty, they say it with seriously straight faces.

This got me thinking that perhaps the not often-considered endowment of beautiful girls that our land is blessed with is actually ranking well among the discreet agendas that bring many foreigners to Rwanda.

I am made to understand that on top of coming to trek the equally gorgeous mountain gorillas, some visitors actually come to track potential companions, and after finding out that our weather is actually soothing throughout the year, some get permanent settlements here and others unwaveringly ear-mark our land as their holiday destination.          

Shockingly despite all these beauties, for a long time the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant has not been taking place but good news is it has kicked off with a bang.

The search will cover the entire country, with registration points being set up in all the five provinces.

The registration points include Rwamagana, Ruhengeri, Huye, Karongi, and Kigali City.

The contest which is sponsored by Rwandatel in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports and Culture will involve contestants from all the five provinces, with each fronting four representatives. These will in turn go for the finals on December 31.

The prerequisites for contesting include being a Rwandan citizen of 18-25 years of age, at least 1.7 metres tall, morally upright, and with good public speaking skills.

The contestants will also be judged based on the aspects to do with catwalk, confidence, eloquence and intelligence.
The Prizes involved include a car and a trip to the Miss World pageant for the winner, cash prizes for the first and second runner-ups and a host of other prizes.

In the recent miss East Africa auditions which took place in Serena Hotel in Kigali, the current Miss Kigali Cynthia Akazuba was crowned Miss East Africa Rwanda Chapter-2009, after beating 11 contestants in a stiff competition.
Akazuba was selected with Annet Mahoro a student of the National University of Rwanda, who was the first runner-up in the contest.

Both Akazuba and Mahoro will represent Rwanda next month at a regional beauty pageant that will bring together winners representing the East African partner States, in Tanzania, Dar es Salaam.

A few weeks ago the Rwanda Tourism University College (RTUC) held a ground breaking beauty pageant where they selected both Miss and Mr RTUC, this came after many other universities had crowned their Miss campuses.

The whole concept of beauty pageants is to enhance creativity and build confidence which aspects in the end can be used to impact society in a positive sense.

The Minister of Sports and Culture Joseph Habineza earlier underscored the importance of these social events pointing out that these pageants constitute a positive platform for building good morals and doing advocacy for greater social and cultural welfare.

Many beauty queens have led vigorous campaigns aimed towards making their societies better, through mobilizing resources and people to address the problems at hand.

Those crowned here can do better in leading the initiatives of helping the many vulnerable groups of people in Rwanda for instance the outstanding challenge of orphans in our midst.

What is needed is leadership from the civil society and this vacuum can be filled by our young celebrities who include these beauty queens.

This comes as a challenge for the contestants and the future winners of these pageants to think big and act bigger especially in line of making society, their society, a better pace.

gahimore@yahoo.com

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