The African Union Mission to the United States of America held its first-ever African Union Pageant on Friday evening, with exotic traditional displays of attire and fabric from talented young African models in the Diaspora and the continent.
Lukwesa Morin the reigning Miss Zambia Diaspora, scoped the prestigious prize, to become the new queen who will represent the Africa Union as a Goodwill Ambassador throughout 2019, carrying the continental body’s key messages to various global audiences. She will also take part in activities to showcase the work of the organization. The first runner-up was Natasha Mupenzi from Uganda, with Rama Dioum from Guinea in third place.
The Pageant, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. was a high profile gala evening attended by members of the diplomatic corps, government officials, movie and sports celebrities, Africans in the Diaspora and the media. Clad in African attire from different parts of the continent, revelers were given a spice of spectacular performances by the Ghetto Kids of Kampala, a troop of young Ugandans dancers; the Zulu Boys drummers of South Africa, Rwandan dancers and other performances.
The event was a showcase and celebration of African culture through fashion, music, dance, art and African Beauty. Seventeen young women young of African descent, living in the Diaspora competed for the prestigious title. The aim was to raise awareness about important African issues such as those in the AU’s development concept – Agenda 2063; the political history of Africa, and recent transformational developments. Contestant were quizzed on their knowledge of the Berlin Conference of 1884–85 where European powers met to divide Africa into present day borders; the pact of the continuation of colonization, and on transformation agenda such as the role of the African Union and the recently signed Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
African Union Permanent Representative to the United States Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao said that invited guests and other audiences certainly benefited from what was on show at the Pageant, as it gave them an insight into the strength, intellect and beauty of African women.
“This event was not just about displaying elegant African women in beautiful clothes. It was also about telling the positive narrative about African people which is often not understood or misrepresented in the West as a continent of the poor, sick and dying. With the pageant, which will be an annual feature, we also aim to bridge the gap between Africans in the Diaspora and those in the continent,” she said.
Countries represented in the Pageant included Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Ghana, Zambia, South Sudan, Cameroon, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea, Jamaica and the Democratic Republic of Congo.