Last weekend, a fundraising Gala Dinner scheduled for Johannesburg hit a snag because of low turnout.
According to the organisers, Pro-Act Communications, the gala dinner was intended to raise R100 000 (more than $7 000) to assist the beauty queens from conflict-torn countries comprising Burundi, where scores of people have been killed after disputed elections and Ethiopia and Rwanda, who are struggling economically.
The funds raised were to pay for the flights of the trio. Miss Burundi’s Christella Mugisha, Rwanda’s Ilibangiza Mutabazi and Ethiopia’s Bithia Deresse, have been battling to raise funds to travel for the eagerly-anticipated Miss Africa scheduled for early next year.
Pro-Act Communications Managing Director, Neo Mashishi, said he was deeply touched by the plight of the three desperate young queens from political volatile country Burundi, and others struggling to raise air tickets from their respective countries.
The failure to hold a fundraising dinner further compounds their woes. Mashishi said organisers were left with no option than to cancel the dinner.
“Few people bought tables and we envisage it will be a loss for us to pay for the venue and buffet for few people. A decision was taken to cancel the Gala Dinner,” Mashishi said.
He insisted all hope was not lost.
“We will come up with another strategy of raising funds for those contestants coming from conflict-torn countries. We will inform you African Independent) with the strategy taken in due course,” said Mashishi.
He assured the Miss Africa Finale would go ahead as planned on April 30 at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg.
Mashishi was certain the hopefuls from Burundi, Ethiopia and Rwanda would be among the more than 50 of the most beautiful young women from the continent to compete for the crown in the City of Gold.
Organisers confirmed that other individuals who will strut their stuff on the catwalk are the Nigerian trio of Jane Mbagwu, Blessing Onyemechi Festus and Joan Anyiyie.
Cameroon’s duo of Nange Marie Chatal Ntoh and Florence Anyiaka, will also contest while Zimbabwe’s Lorrene Fowane, Tanzania’s Naureen Gamdust and Brumhilda Ochs from Namibia will also participate at the inaugural edition.
Mashishi, explained the idea behind the pageant. “The objective is to empower young African women, afford them a platform to be recognised on a global stage, assist them tell African stories from women’s perspective thus advocate plight Africa is facing such as poverty, malaria and war conflicts destroying Africa,” said Mashishi.
The inaugural Miss Africa pageant would be held under the theme, “African Pride.” It is anticipated the beauty contest will be an annual international event.
Its main objective is to interact with African countries on various programmes, become educational platform and empowering tool to young African women, to be inspiring and informative as well as play a role in uniting Africa by addressing xenophobic mentality and various plights facing African continent and promoting African beauty and culture.
Author: Savious Kwinika