Miss Culture Malawi organisers have described the inaugural event as successful and a major contribution towards recognising the country’s culture.
In an interview after the event which took place in Blantyre last Saturday, Lush Africa chief executive officer Lorraine Kljajic said despite a few challenges, the event has largely achieved its objective.
“I believe the event was successful. We are overwhelmed by the response from the general public as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, sponsors and partners,” she said.
Zomba-based model Malumbo Mtonga was crowned the first Miss Culture Malawi queen after beating 12 other contestants.
According to Kljajic, the pageant is not defining Malawian culture by focusing on dressing only.
This follows some sentiments, especially from social media, on how one defines the culture of the country.
Kljajic said: “The Malawian culture for us is more than the dressing aspect as well as their tribes. So, we were looking at key aspects of each tribe, whether its food, languages, dances, lifestyle and, basically, their day-to-day way of life.
“It is important to us to highlight these aspects because those are what represent Malawi.”
However, Kljajic bemoaned lack of enough sponsorship, which had an impact on the proper execution of the event.
“Our initial idea of bootcamp included the girls visiting different tribal cultural headquarters so that they could learn distinctive cultural practices,” she said.
Kljajic said the winning queen will participate in a continental event where winners from different African countries will compete.
“We hope one day Malawi will host the continental event,” said Kljajic.
Meanwhile, Mtonga will have to wait a little longer to go to South Africa to represent the country at the grand finale as dates have been changed.
According to Kljajic, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Miss Culture International pageant has been moved from September to November.
“This is to buy time for proper planning. We are planning to fundraise her trip from well-wishers within the country and out,” she said.
At the inaugural event, Mtonga is expected to showcase the tribal aspect of Malawi.
“She then will teach the other 51 countries’ representatives important cultural aspects of each of the Malawian tribes,” said Kljajic.
In a separate interview, Mtonga said she is ready to encourage girls’ educationand promote Malawian culture, in line with the theme of the pageant.
She said time has come to embrace the beautiful languages, food and the type of dressing that Malawi values, and remove the perspective that suggests that Malawian culture is primitive.
Mtonga said her reign will also enable her to learn important aspects of Malawian culture.
Said Mtonga: “Starting from all the major tribes and their languages, the food they eat, to their dressing. I will then take this to South Africa for the grand finale where I will teach the other representatives about Malawian culture, thereby promoting tourism and our culture.”