On Saturday night Tionge Munthali was crowned Miss Malawi 2018.
The beautiful 24-year-old beat 14 other contestants to claim the crown. This was after going through preliminary auditions and regional finals.
But at the end of the day when Tionge was crowned, social media was abuzz with both positive and negative comments about who fits the billing to be the country’s most beautiful woman.
Yesterday, Albert Banda, the contest’s organising committee chairperson, said the pageant is held in line with international standards while making it as tasteful as possible for the local audience.
“The idea is to create a strategic platform that brings together girls to demonstrate not only their beauty, but most importantly their brains on how to tackle matters of national interest like population growth which is a concern to all of us,” he said.
Banda explained that as organisers they are aware of the negative perception associated with beauty pageants, saying that is why they revived the contest with a new direction.
“We have a specific theme which is managing overpopulation. In the past, the winning queens were left on their own to do as they please. This time around we are using beautiful girls to demonstrate that these young women can lead in important matters by giving them a voice to talk about such matters,” he said.
Banda said the criteria to choose a Miss Malawi combines beauty, which involves looking for someone who has good looks, a slender physique and a beautiful smile, among others.
He said: “The most important attribute in today’s modern beauty contest is the level of intelligence. As you are aware that our beauty queen leads a campaign that involves talking to important people in society, we cannot have girls with low levels of intelligence. We need girls with high levels of confidence too. That is the number one beautiful attribute in a young woman.”
On last Saturday’s event, Banda said they used specific criteria to choose the winner based on the six main areas.
“The judges were looking for the contestants’ public speaking abilities, projection and enunciation. Then on looks we were critically considering their level of self confidence, poise and the body structure of the contestants,” he said.
“Then we had the traditional attire category where the judges looked at the contestants, composure and self condifence as well.”
Banda also said another important area was oral expression.
“Let me mention that the oral category carries the highest number of points at 20 points. Under oral expression, girls are examined on clarity of expression, imagination or creativity and relevance of responses,” he said.
Banda said each judge had a scoring form and there were strict rules to ensure that there was no conferring between the judges.
The panel of judges comprised Wilkins Mijiga, Thokozani Mkawa, Tadala Chihana, Zuinab Aziz and Maggie Kubwalo-Chaika, who was the chief judge.
One of the patrons who witnessed the Miss Malawi 2018, Natalia Govati, expressed satisfaction with the competition and choice of winner.
“She may not be the most beautiful woman objectively but she went out there and got it with courage, confidence and strong will,” she said.
Mwabi Mfune emerged first princess while Chimwemwe Buleya was named second princess.