A Malawian male model, Nelson Matanga, is among 15 Africans contesting for the finals of Mr Face of Africa Austria 2014 competition.
Face of Africa Austria, which is in two categories contested by male and female models, is a competition for Africans living in Austria and is aimed at showcasing the African heritage and talents in the European country.
Matanga, who is currently studying Tourism at the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg, qualified for the finals of the male category after going through auditions that saw 20 other aspirants eliminated.
He will be appearing on the ramp at the grand finale slated for July 12 contesting against other sons of the African continent from Ghana, Nigeria, Congo, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
In an interview from Salzburg, the 29-year-old former Mr Malawi Institute of Tourism, said he was optimistic of winning, saying his victory would help in showcasing his heritage and marketing Malawi as a tourist destination.
“The contest is not only about fashion and looks but mainly showcasing and integration of African and European cultures in terms of fashion, talent and cuisine. The winner will hugely take part in the integration programmes, and this means if I win Malawi wins.
“Winning this will give me a huge platform to promote Malawi as a [tourist] destination. I will mainly focus on volunteer tourism, especially during the Lake of Stars,” said Matanga whose degree majors in Innovation and Management in Tourism.
“I know people from this part do like to travel and take part in this growing type of tourism, attending festivals and the like, so I would want to link up with tour agencies and organise trips during this time,” he explained his plans as he disclosed he would be coming to Malawi in September, a month the country will be hosting the Lake of Stars arts festival in Mangochi.
Matanga, who left Malawi for Austria in 2010, further said: “Winning will [also] be of great importance because I know the stereotypes that do exist in this part of the world when it comes to skin color and a multicultural society.
“I know I can use this as a way of promoting my ideas of integration which am already implementing with a football tourney that am also helping in organizing,” said the Malawian who is also working as a trainee hotel manager at one of the hotels in Austria.
Matanga grew up at Moneymen is Blantyre where he, together with his elder brother and younger sister, were raised by his mother, a former employee of Old Mutual in the commercial city.