Beauty pageants have been an intriguing subject to me for quiet sometime now. Growing up, I was stunned by the beauty, elegance and glow of contestants from the European pageants that were broadcasted on TV. I watched with eager and zeal to learn about their universe and what it meant to the rest of the world around them. But it was never easy.
Just the week before last, when I met Mpule Kwelagobe (from Botswana, born 1979) at the Transform Africa Summit here in Kigali, I got struck by her leadership, potential, and what she has become. Kwelagobe was crowned Miss Universe in 1999, and now she is quite a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. Seeing her, and learning about her work, with all her majestic elegance despite eighteen years that have passed between now and her crowing, I felt an altruistic need to evaluate more on how much our own pageants are performing with regard to forming such long-lasting divas.
Later on, early last week, I came across an article criticising Doriane Kundwa, Miss Rwanda 2015, about a piercing she has put on her nose. The urge to look closer grew even fonder.
Is it a problem with our “beauty queens” or some essential baggage they have not been equipped with before competing for this title? Or is it, simply, us whose expectations are higher than what is so far possible?
In the coming days, I’ll be breaking the ice around beauty pageants, and Miss Rwanda in particular.
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