Calabar, Dec. 28, 2017 (TNE) Botswana queen, Gaseangwe Balopi, 21, has won the second edition of the Miss Africa beauty pageant hosted by the Cross River Government.
Balopi emerged the 2017 African queen at the keenly contested event after a fourth round of appearances in different attires by 25 contestants.
The red carpet event started at 10.45 pm on Wednesday night at the Calabar International Convention Centre and ended around 3 a.m on Thursday morning.
She is to take home $35,000 and a Ford Edge Sport Utility Vehicle as her star prize.
Miss Rwanda, Fiona Naringwa and Miss Luyolo Mngonyama of South Africa were first and second runners-up. Naringwa will take home $10,000 and Mngonyama $5,000.
Gov. Ben Ayade said that the theme of the event `Climate Change and Migration’ was chosen to increase awareness on the need to protect the environment and caution youths against illegal migration.
Ayade said that the event afforded the African continent the opportunity to choose another beauty queen that will use her beauty to create awareness on the need for Africans to see themselves as one.
“Migration and Climate Change have become burning and global issues today. Our gathering here today is to choose another African queen that will use her office to create awareness on the theme.
“Blackness is now a perception, beauty and character in the eyes of the people. The Miss Africa pageant is meant to tell the true story of Africa to the world.
“How can a continent like Africa that is blessed with abundant natural and human resources be poor? Africans are intellectually sound.
“We are not gathered here to pick the most beautiful woman, but rather, we want to pick the true African woman who can use her beauty to change Africa. For us to tell the true African story, we need a face that is appealing.
“Our theme for this year should caution our youths about the tedious journey through the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert to Europe in search of greener pasture’’, he said.
Motswana Balopi promised to use her crown to increase awareness on the dangers of illegal migration by youths across Africa.
The former Miss Africa, Neurite Mendes from Angola, urged the new African queen to use her office to end illegal migration by some Africans to European countries.
Former Governor of Cross River, Mr Donald Duke, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo and other dignitaries were in attendance at the event.
Nigerian music artist, Flavour and South African music star, Mafikizolo entertained the more than 2000 guests on the occasion.