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PHOTOS: What Transpired In Miss Rwanda 2017 Grand Finale



And the 18-year-old Elsa Iradukunda is Miss Rwanda 2017.

Iradukunda held hands with the First Runner-Up Shimwa Guelda before the judges announced the winner. The two looked each other in the eyes, smiling but with anxiety and panic temporarily taking toll on them.

“We will only announce the winner,” said chief judge Mike Karangwa, before proceeding to declare Iradukunda as the pageant for 2017.

They hugged, and cried. Iradukunda continued sobbing in the crown’s chair until she left the stage later to go receive her brand new Suzuki SX4 presented by the main sponsor of the competition, Cogebank.

“What was your secret for winning this contest?” asked the presenter immediately after Iradukunda sat to be crowned by the outgoing Miss Jolly Mutesi, whom many claim near resemblance with her successor.

With tears still flowing, smiling and stammering, momentarily, visibly cautious to disclose something that would backfire and wreck the entire Miss Rwanda project, she quickly and thoughtfully said, “praying.”

And that was her punch line. Period. She gave no more account afterwards. Miss Iradukunda’s response was genuine. Deeply revealing. Certainly, all girls prayed very hard.

Miss Popularity, the theatrical ‘Igisabo’ Honorine Hirwa, who will never be forgotten for having bragged about her heavyweight “booty” as a symbol of a true ‘Rwandan pageant’, has a video circulating on social media showing her ‘crying a river ‘ while preaching the word of God to her colleagues in the boot camp.

If indeed it wasn’t for prayers, and arguably the ‘beauty’ card, little, if any at all, was there to claim, going by the theme for the contest: “Brain, Beauty and Culture’.

And that is how Iradukunda won the ‘heated’ contest. Prayers, and prayers. That’s it.

After all, the Rwf15 million car and the Rwf800, 000 monthly stipend, not to mention the freebies, the publicity and the privileges that come along with the tittle, are worth a vigorous prayer.

Mentioning that most, if not all, of the contestants come from poor families, might be considered demeaning, but the fact of the matter is that the package that comes with the crown is huge for the average Rwandan family.

Not only do families and relatives invest to support and pray for their daughters, friends and fans go the extra mile to vote and cheer up when the contestant is up presenting.

As for the judges, the public court was no easy on them, but the monumental chief judge, the one and only one, Mike Karangwa, made it clear what the benchmarks were.

Karangwa, not only having displayed the lack of ability to raise superior queries, same with his entire panel, gave the following criteria: beauty, carrying 30 points, illustration with 30 points, and 40 points for content. Luckily enough, the panel of judges had no teacher. An F was hanging over their heads.

Save for the contestants’ gifted beauty and elegance, which the majority had, fairly speaking, the other yardsticks were squandered live on the stage.

The Minister of Sports and Culture and the Minister of Education were saved from the embarrassment this time around as they were attending the 14th National Leadership Retreat.

Undeniably, contestants were prepared only that they took a few days to undergo the vigorous drills to learn the Catwalk and cram answers for questions on and vague cultural literacy and humongous political economy, otherwise, the rest was left for the nation to be baffled.

The girls were subjected to unnecessary humiliation. But they displayed great temperament, confidence and steadiness. They all presented projects quiet similar to cabinet ministers’ policy papers. Some sort of advocacy, but largely copies of policies too big for them to handle to the point where two judges questioned their feasibility, such as empowering house maids across the country with managerial skills of their monthly income, job creation among the youth than being job seekers (even government has struggled with it), maternal health through campaigns to raise awareness and many more complex projects.

They fought hard, spoke confidently and pocketed their feelings until they left the stage, even when it was discomforting, one after the other, with judges asking vague and unbearable questions.

At one point one of the judges asked an ambiguous question and was hit hard with a vague answer at a terrific speed and ended up requesting the contestant twice to slow down and repeat her answer. He barely understood the answer nevertheless. And the drama proceeded.

Contestants are equally intelligent, but the lack of general knowledge and the inability to speak English fluently and to defend their arguments with facts subjected the girls to pejorative and harsh judgment.

Language proficiency has now become a recurring subject in every episode of the competition, much as contestants were not as bad as those of 2016 and the previous years.

What was obvious though, is that the girls were not given a chance to remain who they are and be asked spontaneous questions to judge their IQ and their ability to express themselves naturally.

Some of them forgot words or lines from the script they were given. Had there been a slight twist in the questions, poor girls would have been crucified on the public cross.

Clearly even the judges seemed to have been instructed not to cross a certain line of thinking. It all was about projects, projects and projects and projects, well and ‘agaciro” (dignity) and Indangagaciro z’ Umuco Nyarwanda (Rwandan Values), so obscure, nearly irrelevant and off topic, going by the theme.

The dances were epic, not for the annoying DJ who is probably hiding before the organisers hold him by the neck for spoiling the night. Inganzo Ngari entertained, not to their usual quality but the performance was quite thrilling. Fashion flopped. Well, not entirely. Clothing, footwear, accessories, makeup, and the crown’s chair were a complete joke.

Expectations were high, as fashion designers were expected to go rouge and distinctively display their supremacy, why not; it is an era of Made In Rwanda, of which one of the contestants presented a project about. Dressing was casual, basic, and nothing stunning or of a pageants’ caliber.

The Kabash Fashion House, Ian Boutique, and Sonia Mugabo may not get such an opportunity any time soon. For some reason, the traditional attire saved the night. The choice of colors and material was on point, barely any regret.

But it ended well with Mahatma Gandhi University stealing the show. The Vice Chancellor, Vince Sinining, dashed on the stage and nailed it, offering a free-full scholarship to all the 15 finalists. The girls have potential. A free university education, which many wouldn’t have afforded, is obviously a prize that will unlock their potential and propel them to greater heights.  As for the other brands, they simply goofed and they dont deserve to be mentioned for this publication’s sanity’s sake.

The projects

  1. Umutoni Pamela would embark on social media marketing and entrepreneurship promotion
  2. Umutoniwase Linda will focus on empowering house helps/maids with managerial skills of their monthly income
  3. Mutesi Nadia says her project will be about creating awareness on the advantages of gender equality policy
  4. mutoniwase Belinda will focus on advocacy for street children so that they can be reintegrated back in families
  5. Elsa Iradukunda will promote Made in Rwanda brands in order to enhance consumption of local products
  6. Hirwa Honorine will initiate story-telling platforms
  7. Umutoni Tracy Ford. Project is about ICT – promote digital business especially among the youth
  8. Ribagiza Patience says her project will embark on job creation among the youth than being job seekers
  9. Umutesi Aisha who is currently Miss Ruhango, will focus on mentorship programs especially among the youth
  10. Ashimwe Fiona Doreen will establish a peer-learning center for adolescent girls for reproductive health education
  11. Simbi Fanique will focus on talent promotion among disabled people through talent detection programs
  12. Shimwa Guelda says she will use art through initiating an art gallery to exhibit Rwanda’s touristic attractions
  13. Mukunde Laurette wants to promote cultural tourism in order to highlight Rwanda’s rich and fascinating culture
  14. Queen Kalimpinya will embark on maternal health through campaigns to raise awareness about it.
  15. Mukabagabo Carine would promote reading culture

The rest of the event is on social media and in the images below as presented by PACIFIC HIMBAZA & NICOLAS KIZZA.



And the Social Media


Amazon Studios Moves Filming From New Zealand to Britain



Amazon Studios announced Friday it would film the second season of its original series, inspired by the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, to Britain.

New Zealand has long been associated with “The Lord of the Rings”. This shift to Britain is a major blow to the nation’s small but vibrant screen industry.

“The shift from New Zealand to the UK aligns with the studio’s strategy of expanding its production footprint and investing in studio space across the U.K., with many of Amazon Studios’ tentpole series and films already calling the UK home,” the company said in a statement.

The production is one of the most expensive in history, with Amazon spending at least U$465 million on the first season, which just finished filming in New Zealand, according to government figures.

The series employed 1,200 people in New Zealand directly and another 700 indirectly, according to the figures.

“This is a shock to everyone,” said Denise Roche, the director of Equity NZ, a union representing performers. “I really feel for all the small businesses, the tech people who invested in this for the future. Nobody had any inkling.”

Roche said people feel let down by Amazon, although she added that the industry was resilient.

Amazon said the as-yet untitled series takes place on Middle Earth during the Second Age, thousands of years before the events depicted in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” books and the subsequent films directed by Peter Jackson.

Filming began last year but was delayed due to the coronavirus. Post-production on the first season will continue in New Zealand through June before the show premieres on Prime Video in September next year.

The move to Britain comes just four months after Amazon signed a deal with the New Zealand government to get an extra 5% rebate on top of the 20% — or $92 million — it was already claiming from New Zealand taxpayers under a screen production grant.

Many locations around the world compete for productions by offering similar, generous rebates.

At the time of the deal, New Zealand’s Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said the production would bring economic and tourism benefits to the country for years to come and create “an enduring legacy for our screen industry.”

Nash said Friday the government had found out only a day earlier that Amazon was leaving and he was disappointed by the decision. He said the government was withdrawing the offer of the extra 5%.

Amazon said it no longer intended to pursue collecting the extra money. But it will still walk away with at least $92 million from New Zealand taxpayers.

“The international film sector is incredibly competitive and highly mobile. We have no regrets about giving this production our best shot with government support,” Nash said. “However, we are disappointed for the local screen industry.”

New Zealand became synonymous with Tolkien’s world of orcs, elves and hobbits after Jackson directed six movies in the South Pacific nation. “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit” trilogy combined grossed nearly $6 billion at the box office.

When Amazon Studios first announced it would film in New Zealand, it said the pristine coasts, forests, and mountains made it the perfect place to bring to life the primordial beauty of early Middle Earth.

The large ensemble cast includes Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Sophia Nomvete and Lloyd Owen.

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Nigeria’s Burna Boy Trounces Diamond At 2021 BET Awards



Multiple award-winning Nigerian singer and songwriter Nigerian Artist Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu aka Burna Boy scooped an award at the 2021 BET awards announced on Sunday.

He scooped the Best International Act category.

Meanwhile, Tanzania’s Diamond Platnumz was among African musicians and only East African nominated in BET award for the BET Awards 2021 in the Best International Act category.

Unfortunately Diamond Platnumz lost the BET Award for the third time.

Diamond was trying his luck as this was his third nomination after giving it a shot in 2014 and 2016 in the category of Best International Act Africa.

Diamond’s 2021 BET Award nomination stirred an intense hate debate towards the Bongo Flava star on social media.

A number of Tanzanians, including fellow musicians, admitted to siding with Nigeria’s Burna Boy or WizKid on voting day.

In 2017, Rayvanny became the first artist from Tanzania to win a BET Award, after being crowned “The BET Viewer’s Choice Best New International Act”.

This made him the second artiste to win a BET Award from East Africa, after Eddy Kenzo from Uganda who won the International Viewers Award in 2015.

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Uganda’s Zari, Tanzania’s Diamond For Netflix Soon



Zarinah Hassan, commonly known as Zari Hassan a Ugandan born socialite and Tanzanian artist Naseeb Abdul Juma Issack populaly known by his stage name Diamond Platinumz are scheduled to appear in a Netflix Documentary soon.

Netflix South Africa has announced that the celebrities will appear in a documentary titled ‘Young, Famous & African’ which will start airing in a few days online.

Zari from Uganda has already asked her fans to stay attentive, because they will get to know a lot about them and have fun as well.

“Born in Uganda. Flourishing in Mzansi. Now we’re taking over Netflix! See me bossing it up,” Zari said.

Meanwhile, Diamond will be the second Tanzanian to appear on Netflix after Idris Sultan who appeared on March 26 this year through a film called ‘Slay’ which brought together African stars like Ramsey Nouah, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Simphiwe Ngema, Amanda Du-Pont.

The Netflix network was launched on August 29, 1997 at California in the United States, to date more than 200 million people worldwide have registered as subscribers.

Netflix is available worldwide except in Syria, North Korea and China, Also it has branches in Netherlands, France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, India, Japan and South Korea, South Africa and Nigeria.

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