African Students Association crowns Miss Africa Mizzou 2010

The pageant featured competitions in evening attire, talent and platform.
Junior Christine Munyikwa performs The Lion King's "Shadowland" for the talent portion of the Miss Africa Mizzou 2010 pageant Saturday in Stotler Lounge. Munyikwa, Miss Kenya, won the Miss Africa Mizzou title.

Four representatives of different African countries came together in a competition of poise, talent, philanthropy and African knowledge for the Miss Africa Mizzou 2010 Pageant on Saturday in Stotler Lounge.

The event, which was sponsored by the African Students Association, had four contestants who were required to have been born in Africa or have at least one parent from Africa. The contestants were freshman Nanayaa Ampofo for Ghana, freshman Mezan Ogbe for Eritrea, junior Christine Munyikwa for Kenya and freshman Jessica Yesufu for Nigeria.

“When we started off, a lot of them really didn’t even know much about their country or their platforms, but we really, really try to teach them the importance of knowing where you come from, not even just because you’re participating in a pageant, but because you represent your culture every day by who you are,” ASA President Patricia Vewenda-Mabengo said.

The women competed in three categories: evening attire, talent and platform.

“We started recruiting girls in September, and we’ve been practicing since September up to this week,” Vewenda-Mabengo said. “Each girl was required to do at least two community services throughout the weeks, and they had to raise ads which kind of helped sponsor the show. We worked hard with the girls on their platforms throughout the weeks.”

Three judges assigned points to each contestant in each category. The deliberation process exceeded the allotted time before the judges named Miss Kenya (Munikwa) the winner.

“Pretty much all four girls really exceeded our expectations,” Judge Doris C. Agwu said. “I was very impressed and very proud of these ladies representing the continent of Africa. I think all of them had their strengths…with Miss Kenya, she exuded a lot of confidence, and she exuded a lot of pride in her country."

Munyikwa, the pageant winner, spoke about tribal warfare in her platform. Vewenda-Mabengo said she hopes to help Munyikwa increase awareness through ASA.

“We’re going to try to set her up maybe in high schools where she can talk and advocate about the platform,” Vewenda-Mabengo said. “We’ll do some fundraisers for her through ASA, and then she can be a special speaker for that. All throughout next semester, you’ll probably see Miss Kenya as ASA’s face, so she’ll be around campus.”

Although the pageant was a competition, Munyikwa cited the social aspect as her favorite part of the experience.

“My favorite part was just being with the other girls and just getting to have new connections and make new friends,” Munyikwa said. “I’m African, but I wasn’t active in ASA, so me doing the pageant has opened a lot of new doors, and a lot of new friendships have formed.”

Miss Africa Mizzou 2009 Stephine Nwaneri said she was confident in Munyikwa to take over the reins.

“I really do feel like she’ll do a good job,” Nwaneri said. “I feel like she was a great pick. She did really well in the pageant, so I’m proud of her. She’ll take my crown very well.”

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