Close to midnight on Saturday, Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre was replete with cheers of joy and excitement as 23-year-old Blantyre-based model Memory Sanjira was announced Miss Culture Malawi 2022 by chief judge Rachel Mijiga.
In announcing the winner, which came after they had shortlisted the top five out of 15 finalists, Mijiga, who led a four-member judging panel, said Sanjira had demonstrated intelligence, wisdom and beauty, among other things.
Sanjira was crowned the new queen by the out-going queen Marumbo Mtonga.
“I have been raised up by a single mother after the death of my father and, so, I have always pushed harder and aimed high. I didn’t see this coming but it is all praise to God,” she said.
As winner, the new queen got a four-year full board scholarship with Exploit University, one year supply of cosmetics from Bella Cosmetics, shoes from Nagowa and Mkhwayila, clothing sponsorship from Erima Investment and prizes from Mayi Cosmetics.
The beauty pageant, which was hosted by Priscilla Kayira and run under the theme ‘Collective Culture in Conquering Cancer’ saw contestants showing their uniqueness in the categories which included office, traditional and evening wears.
Ruth Masamba and Elshaddai Masauli were crowned first and second princess, respectively, by the outgoing princesses Mwasalika Mfune and Murimu Kachitsa.
Masauli also collected the Public Choice Award, with Rookiah Jussab getting the Community Champion.
Florence Mkandawire was voted Miss Personality whereas Miss Photogenic went to Christina Mabvuto, with Callista Kachulu being voted Miss Congeniality.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi, who was the guest of honour, described Miss Culture Malawi as important to the country, saying it focuses on culture.
“As a ministry, we are looking at culture as a product of tourism. Culture talks about us, people, and Malawi and, so, I would like to comment the organisers for this event but it is important for Miss Culture to understand our culture so that when they go out there, they should promote Malawi,” Usi said.
The minister, who received gifts from the 15 finalists on the night, said Miss Culture Malawi and various sponsors need to work hand- in-hand with them to tell their stories.
Miss Culture Malawi National Director Madalo Mkuwu said they were satisfied with the outcome.
“Last year was great and, this year, we have also made improvements. We will work hand-in-hand with the government in promoting and preserving culture,” Mkuwu said.
During the pageant, which was spiced up by a performance from Biggie Lu and Dikamawoko Arts, designers were also presented with certificates.
Lush Africa Foundation teamed up with Amaryllis Hotel to host the Miss Culture Malawi beauty pageant.
The beauty pageant attracted 175 contestants before the number was trimmed to 15 finalists.