The beauty contest went into a hiatus for four years and it looked dead and forgotten. For four years, Malawi was denied the honour of having a goodwill ambassador. But that was before the two media giants, Nation Publications Limited (NPL) and Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) took over.
“We did not want the pageant to die a natural death. We felt duty-bound to resurrect it and give it a better meaning than just charity work and beauty. “That is why we decided to be having themes and so far our theme is managing overpopulation,” said chairperson of the organising committee Albert Banda.
Four years of inactivity is a long time. Organisers went back to work to make sure everything was perfect.
According to Banda, the process was rigorous.
“We started with preliminary auditions in each region. Then after selecting the ones with potential, we held regional finals where those successful competed in the national finals,” he said.
Said Banda: “We would like the girls to act as role models to their peers out there. They should provide civic education to them so that they make informed decisions about their future on child-bearing and other things.”
During the national finals that took place in April 2017, Cecilia Khofi emerged winner after beating 11 other contestants.
The first runner-up was Nthanda Manduwi while Yvonne Kamanga finished as second runner-up.
All top-three ladies are University of Malawi graduates. This raised some concerns to say the pageant is for educated ladies and Cecilia Khofi had this to say on the matter.
“To be crowned Miss Malawi involved satisfying a whole range of competition requirements. It has nothing to do with having or not having a university degree. I am proud that I have a university degree, but surely, I was not favoured whatsoever and equally so the two runners-up. As Miss Malawi, I will inspire many girls to pursue tertiary education because it opens the entire world to them, just as it has done to me,” she said.
But being Miss Malawi comes with responsibilities. Did the Miss Malawi fulfill her obligations?
The answer is a yes. Khofi engaged in a number of charity activities, including a visit to Pashello Orphanage in Ngabu, Chikwawa. She also became the first Miss Malawi to have an audience with parliamentarians at Parliament in Lilongwe where she talked about over-population.
She pleaded with them to formulate policies that can help control overpopulation.
Khofi also engaged school girls by talking to them on the importance of education. She was also in the forefront championing Africanism during the Africa Day.
After one successful event of Miss Malawi what does the future hold?
Former Miss Malawi organiser Carver Bhima said the current set-up of recruiting girls using auditions is good as it helps to come up with the best.
“I think the Miss Malawi contest is getting better and better,” he said.
When Cecilia Khofi was crowned Miss Malawi, she was given a Nissan Tiida as her major prize.
As the year 2017 comes to an end, the girls are already through to the finals of the 2018 pageant.
These are Tadala Utah (20), Tamara Gwamba (22), Rejoice Kauseni (22), Sarah Kumwenda (23), Tunosiwe Mwakalinga (20), Alice Kaitano (22), Pemphero Grace Ganiza (20), Zuleika Nanguwo (20), Tionge Munthali (24) and Myra Khoza (20).
The Central Region is yet to hold its regional finals which will increase the number of finalists.
And in line with promoting best buy Malawi concept, the girls are being dressed by Malawian fashion designers. These are Judy Fashions, Tina’s Boutique, Salinda Fashions, Lulus Fashions, Emma and Terry Made designs (TMD).
The current Miss Malawi is Cecilia Khofi who will be relinquishing her position in April next year when a new beauty queen will be chosen.
The grand prize is once again a car.