When beauty queens help community

Friday November 1 2019

Miss Tanzania Sylivia Sebastian excitedly

Miss Tanzania Sylivia Sebastian excitedly welcomes Miss World Vanessa Ponce to Tanzania. PHOTO | FILBER RWEYEMAMU 

By Filbert Rweyemamu

Winning a title for a beauty pageant is a culmination of vigorous sweats that one put in to achieve such a milestone.

It is a triumph which comes at the backbone of great excitement and nervousness to all the competitors. For the winner, it marks a new beginning, a new journey into a world of acknowledgement and respect in the modeling industry and the greater beauty pageantry world.

Tanzania, with its Miss Tanzania annual competition has for many years sent representatives to the global stage to vie for the Miss World title. Even though we’ve yet to taste victory, our participation has never withered.

It is from such consistent participation, among other contributory factors, that this week Tanzania was privileged to host the current Miss World, Vanessa Ponce. She becomes the first current Miss World to visit the country.

The beauty pageant industry had its eyes set on Tanzania following the recent visit of the reigning Miss World, who jetted in the country to officiate community work.

It was in 2018 when Ponce, who hails from Mexico won the top crown and was announced Miss World, the highest accolade in the global beauty pageant industry.


Some people might question the role played by beauty pageants in today’s society.

As is the norm, the role of being Miss World comes with a slew of duties that fall under the domain of the existing title holder. A range of these duties include serving the society by engaging in community work. It is under such terrain that Ponce found her way to Tanzania, a country she had never been to before.

Upon landing, the beauty queen, who was accompanied with the coordinator of the Miss World pageantry, Ms Julia Morley, was welcomed with a traditional Tanzanian affair in the presence of government dignitaries and current Miss Tanzania Sylivia Sebastian.

It was a joyous celebration for the two winners in respective pageants to join hands and push forth a common community goal.

With evident excitement that couldn’t escape the eye, Sebastian embraced her counterpart and made her feel right at home.

Wearing a red suit with a crown to boot, the Miss Tanzania looked angelic and every bit a top grade model that she is. Ponce opted for a well-fitting purple suit which made her gleam in the sunlight as a welcoming crowd of Maasai chanted and did a trademark traditional dance.

Sebastian said she feels lucky to meet the current Miss World, and hopes to learn a lot from her ahead of this year’s Miss World contest to be held this December in London.

The social work that beauty pageant winners engage in is a fulfilment of their community social responsibility, one that is held in high regard.

In order to achieve success in this endeavour, they have to engage with government leaders in respective areas. It is no wonder that upon her arrival, Ponce got to meet the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Dr Dr Harrison Mwakyembe.

Dr Mwakyembe expressed his delight in hosting such key figures in the global beauty pageant industry. He said it is a privilege for Tanzania to be able to show the world our strides and efforts in the beauty pageant industry and community work as well.

The minister made the comment at an event to launch sanitary pads called Uhurupads which are to be distributed to school girls. The launch took place in Moshono Secondary School in Arusha Region.

“I want you to focus on education. Do not engage in sexual activities at an early age, doing so will derail your future goals,” Vanessa advised the school girls.

“Their arrival in Arusha is a great honour for the nation. Of all the nations in the world, they have chosen Tanzania as a suitable place for them to visit, this is a great privilege, more-so because they have brought us the present of Uhurupads that will help our school girls concentrate in class,” said Dr Mwakyembe.

The sanitary pads that were launched on Tuesday October 29, 2019 are environmentally friendly because they are biodegradable and will hence not affect the environment.

The pads are manufactured by a 12-women group known as the team of Uhuru Kit Ltd, who support the government’s efforts in protecting the environment over its ban on the use of plastic bags.

To ensure that Tanzania exploits well the opportunity of the coming of Miss World, Vanessa Ponce, Dr. Mwakyembe, liaising with the ministry of tourism, organized a special tour for the Miss World leadership led by Ms Morley where they visited different tourist attraction sites found in the country including Serengeti and Ngorongoro national parks without forgetting the historical town of Zanzibar.

“The presence of Miss World 2018 has made the whole world focus on Tanzania for a moment. So, it is the right time for us to make our country known internationally by using this opportunity,” said Dr Mwakyembe.

For her part, Ms Morley said she was happy with the steps that were being taken by the Government of Tanzania, taking into consideration it was her first time to visit the country.

“I’m very happy to visit Tanzania, which is a beautiful country. When we boarded the plane that brought us here we could read various adverts that stressed on the ban on use of plastic bags, the government has done a good thing to care about the protection of the environment,” said Ms Morley.

Vanessa Ponce and Miss Tanzania Sylivia Sebastian for their part expressed appreciation for beauty, explaining that the UhuruPads will help school girls acquire education in a comfortable environment under the theme; ‘beauty with goals.’

The launch was also attended by Miss Tanzania organiser Basilla Mwanukuzi, who has in recent years spearheaded the national beauty contest.