Khadija Ben Hamou has made history for becoming the second black woman to be crowned Miss Algeria.
Ben Hamou, who was named the winner on Saturday, January 5, 2019, edged out 16 other contestants to earn the coveted crown in a contest that allowed veiled candidates to compete for the first time.
“I am very pleased to have the title and I hope to be in good shape and my goal is to do charity work,” said Ben Hamou, who hails from the southern region of the country.
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She followed in the steps of Nassima Mokadem, who became the first black woman to win the crown in 2005.
Her win has already elicited mixed reactions on social media with many Algerians churning out racist comments at the newly-crowned queen. A number of users on social media made fun of her features, claiming that she was not beautiful enough to be their representative.
The organisation that manages the competition came out to express its disapproval over the racist comments their winner has had to face.
“Miss Algeria’s organization deplores the racist behaviour and comments of several people as a result of publications and retouched photos,” said in a Facebook post.
Algeria has also been accused of discriminating against black migrants traversing its borders on their way to Europe in search of a better life. Reports indicate that at least 35,600 Nigerian migrants have been expelled from Algeria to Niger since 2014. These migrants have been accused of bringing criminality and drugs into the country.
Correction: The first edition of this article named Miss Ben Hamou as the first black Miss Algeria. The title belong to Nassima Mokadem, who won the crown in 2005.