‘Miss Rwanda’ is great but is it really well tailored for its targeted consumer?

Sonia Tona

A procession of beautiful girls dawning colorful evening gowns as they walk the runway, has been a few of the many highlights of Miss Rwanda events over the years. This beauty pageant’s inception dates back to 2009 when the first beauty queen was crowned. The franchise was then put on hold for 3 years.  

Despite the pageant being somewhat a new concept to our cultural and social norms it quickly caught people’s attention and thereafter it disappeared. Many of us were left wondering, provoking thoughts that it was one of the many projects that are adopted before being fully developed and probably not tailored for our society. One could argue that the Rwandan society is yet to understand how to embrace a beauty pageant.

The long awaited comeback finally happened in 2012. Rwanda’s second procession of beauty queens being paraded was exciting. Before we consummated the comeback, the franchise suffered yet another setback that was tied to allegations of mismanagement.

The third beauty queen to hold the title was crowned in 2014 and from here on going forward the competition has annually maintained a consistency, gaining absolute momentum in the past few years.

Although the competition seems to have picked pace, with the number of auditioning girls tripling, those breaking down on national TV for not making it through the preliminary selections are more visible. Some videos of our girls failing to express themselves at the entry level of the competition have gone viral on various social media platforms and before we knew it, people from different parts of the world were debating whether the girls were only eye candy with evidence that they couldn’t express themselves.

With the growing popularity of Miss Rwanda it still appears inert with no innovation whatsoever.  I say this because even after the contestants have gone through the boot camp, rigorous training I hold my breath from time to time as I watch the grand finale show. It has since left no affirmative impression.

Rwanda aims at expanding to a knowledge-based economy and the youth have a vital role in ensuring that this is achieved. Miss Rwanda offers a platform for confident girls to contribute to the country’s social and cultural progress through different initiatives while also serving as role models to the prospective younger generation.

If this pageant is to grow and gain more credibility the organizers and other stake holders involved need to bear in mind that one of the 15 girls vying for the crown will represent the country at an international level.

They need to be trained; they need to be knowledgeable as opposed to emphasizing on cultural values as the number one priority. Now don’t get me wrong here I have nothing against our culture and rich heritage, however let’s not blow it out of proportion and leave out the other fundamentals.

Public speaking skills is a MUST have. Language proficiency is another; understanding government policies and being well versed with current affairs are other qualities equally important to sum up the package. Rwandan girls need to make a mark at international competitions.

The writer is also a PR practitioner


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