Winner of the maiden edition of Miss Africa, Calabar 2016, and Miss Angola, Loretta Mendez has been formally presented with a star prize of Ford SUV Jeep and a USD25,000 cash by the initiator of the pageant and Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade.
Carrying out the presentation ceremony at his private residence at the State Housing Estate Calabar, Monday, Senator Ayade also presented the sum of USD15,000 and USD10,000 respectively to the First Runner Up and the Second Runner Up, Miss South Africa, Refilwe Mthimunye and Miss Cameroon, Foje Anwi Jencey respectively.
Other contestants who participated in the Miss Africa, Calabar 2016 were each handed an envelope of USD300 for participating and for the show of good sportsmanship before, during and after the winners emerged.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Governor Ayade said that as organizers, they have developed a strong philosophy not to interfere with the process of selection of the winners and that with the text messages he received from across the globe it was indicative that the winner, Miss Angola was a popular choice and the team of judges did a wonderful work of coming out with a true Miss Africa.
Ayade who praised the winners and the rest of the participants disclosed, “We are planning to have a Miss Africa House in Calabar where the Miss Africa will be living in and with a provision for all the contestants. We are going to start the climate change with a green carnival, planting of trees in Calabar. Miss Africa will from time to time put on her jeans to plant trees, the prettiest lady in Africa with the best brains planting trees.
“I believe that your crown will bring hope to younger people to know that we can use beauty and brain as a platform to express Africa’s value and come together as a people. One day Africa shall indeed lead the world. The growing concern that Africa has a fantastic demography, very young population, very brilliant people with huge natural resources. If Africa has the demography and huge natural resources, the fear is that, once Africa can find her way through with science and technology, Africa can lead the world.
“It is based on this that is why even myself as a professor of science, it is clear to me that politics is not my calling, but to be in a research institute to ensure that Africans can drive their own cars, produce their own match box, do everything that we can say is African, that is the philosophy behind miss Africa”, Ayade stated.
The Governor commended the spirit of unity exhibited by the other contestants who show no feeling of anger or bitterness which is indicative of the true Africa nature of providing a shoulder for the weaker ones to lean on, and that for that reason, every one of them was a winner.
“I am proud of all of you. Every one of you is a winner, the true winners are your real selves because without you preparing the platform for this competition, a winner would not have emerged. The way you have carried on even when the winners have emerged shows that the competition has come to stay. All of you will be participants for the carnival and the state shall be responsible for your tickets and stay”.
The Governor went further to say that apart from promoting the issues concerning climate change, the reigning Miss Africa and her team will also be promoting the Cross River Garment factory, “a factory meant to produce cloths that will accentuate the Africa heritage. To us miss Africa mean much more to us than mere beauty contest, it mean business, unity, it means integration, it means inspiration and value for the Blackman, that is what miss Africa represent, it is the beginning of a new journey for the African continent; Africa must reinvent and, reconstruct herself that the world will be looking at Africa from the Africa perspective, and until that happen, Africa is not free. So you have a big job, I have no fear that you have the capacity, the exposure, the elegance, the intellect and the panache to carry on this task”.
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