24-year-old Ghanaian Rebecca Asamoah has been crowned Miss Africa Continent 2016, defeating Miss Rwanda Doriane Kundwa and 40 other elegant contestants across Africa. Held over the weekend at the Gold Reef City Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa, the pageant has been described as one of the most competitive contests in the history of Africa’s beauty pageants, offering a unique opportunity for young women to display their talents and capacities, and bring attention to important social issues across the continent. As the winner, Rebecca Asamoah will receive a full scholarship to study at Monash University in Johannesburg.
“Everything was done the African way; we didn’t emulate anything from Miss Universe, or Miss World. There are a lot of things to be fixed in Africa — water, education, environmental issues. My main concern is the empowerment of youths… so we can work hand in hand and put our continent in the best place it should be,” Founder of Miss Africa Neo Mashishi revealed.
Organized under the theme ‘Celebrating African beauty and Culture”, participants came from all over the continent, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia, Malawi, Lesotho, Burundi and Angola.
In the weeks leading up to the competition, the 12 finalists embarked on a series of pre-pageant activities such as a cooking session, that enabled them to show off their culinary skills, while encouraging networking and bonding amongst the contestants.
African pageantry over the years, has evolved as a platform for young women to express themselves and tell their story artistically. In the same token, these women are also able to serve as advocates for important issues that are often overlooked, such as education, health care equality, and more.