* The top 12 will this month go for a boot camp at Kambiri Beach Resort in Salima
* From which 10 will be shortlisted to compete for the crown
By Victor Singano Jnr, Correspondent
Alpha Arts, organisers of 2022 Miss Malawi pageant, have released the top 12 contestants ahead of the grand finale on December 3 at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
Alpha Arts spokesperson, Tina Kendricks told the media that the top 12 will this month go for a boot camp at Kambiri Beach Resort in Salima from which 10 will be shortlisted to compete for the crown.
The theme for the revival of the pageant is Early Childhood Development and amongst the 12 is Grace Mazinga, who graced the launch of early childhood development advocacy and awareness week on Monday held at Mbombwe Primary School in Chiradzulu.
It was launched by Minister of Gender, Community Development & Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati — who acknowledged her presence and invited her to the podium for the gathering to appreciate her.
She encouraged her to continue advocating for early childhood development — whether she wins the crown or not — saying she was proud of her courage to contest for the national title.
One contestant, Umiwangu Mlanjira also rolled out her charity drive on the theme when she donated learning materials at Ndirande LEA School in Blantyre — of an exercise book, a pencil, ruler, sharpener and an eraser.
She also made a motivational speech in which she impressed the young minds on the importance of regular hand washing — which is also an appeal which the Ministry of Health is propagating amidst the cholera outbreak in the country.
The graduate in Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing-Child Health, obtained this year at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS), visited the school last week dressed in her nurse’s uniform — accompanied by her supportive mother, Josephine.
On her ‘Road to Miss Malawi 2022 Facebook page, Umiwangu entices wellwishers to support her cause, saying: “Did you know that with only K500 you can help a Standard 1 pupil in need? With only K500 you can help promote early childhood education in a Government school setting.
“You can help buy an exercise book, a pencil and an eraser to help a pupil to learn how to write and read. Help me by holding my hand, dear Malawi, as we promote early childhood education.”
She indicated that contributions can be made towards her cause through the following accounts National Bank account number 1004331369; Mpamba on 0881851548 and Airtel Money: 0999513791.
She promises that the funds will be accounted for and that every contribution will be acknowledged on her Facebook account.
For the first exercise, Umiwangu said she was assisted by two wellwishers and she said she was immensely grateful of their gesture, which she did not solicit for but that they saw the appeal on her Facebook page.
She said two more wellwishers have also assisted — Member of Parliament for Blantyre Malabada, Ismail Rizzq Mkumba and Daud Suleman, Director General for Malawi Communication and Regulatory Authority (MACRA) in his personal capacity.
She still calls out to well-wishers to assist towards her cause because she wants to reach out to other primary schools in Ndirande, saying every tambala counts and that the learning materials she targets to distribute can inspire a learner’s mind to stay in school.
“We all have a role to play to make sure that children should look forward to going to school every single day. I experienced it when I was teaching them in my neighborhood — they always looked forward to the next day’s lessons.
“Some of them would even leave their homes on their own whenever their mothers were delaying to escort them to our home. That’s what motivated me to think of donating to Standard 1 pupils, because that’s the second step towards early childhood development after the nursery school,” she said.
This is not the first interaction she has had with children, saying she’s had an experience having worked as an intern at Rise & Shine at Maselema and Great Beginnings Montessori School in Kanjedza, soon after finishing at St. Mary’s Secondary School in Zomba.
“When I was selected to KUHeS, then known as Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), I continued to teach children during holidays in our neighborhood at Malaysia in Ndirande, which is in Blantyre Malabada Constituency,” said the 23-year-old contestant.
“I was teaching the nursery stage toddlers just basics, such as the alphabet, singing, letter writing and helping them become deep friends amongst themselves and to date, most of the kids are in government school setting.
“This was my first engagement in early childhood development and Miss Malawi’s theme resonates well with what I have already experienced for the past five years.”
The event started with auditions and from the 70 ladies that participated, top 30 were identified, who went through for online public voting to select top 15.
Five more were added after a second round of voting from the 15 that had been left out and the 20 then underwent a training in early childhood development, which was sponsored and will administered by Nyasa Junior Academy, at which they were tasked with different activities.
One contestant, Natasha Tembo automatically secured her place in the top 10 after impressing organisers from the tasks done while Hilda Macheso earned automatic qualification through last week’s public voting.
Miss Malawi pageant has been resuscitated by events organisers, Alpha Arts led by managing director, Francis Kaphuka whose spokesperson is Tina Kendricks — former Model of the Year Queen.
The top 20 girls were also afforded motivational talk sessions by various top women executives, civil rights leaders and religious speakers in celebration of Mothers Day on October 15 held at Heritage Hotel in Limbe.
On the Miss Malawi Facebook page, the organisers pay tribute to the event’s partners, that include Optical Photography, Serendib Hotels, Sky Energy Africa, Zodiak Broadcasting Station, Blueberry Travel Malawi, Makawa Fitness Centre, Chibiso Motors, Zoom Car Hir, MudHoneymw, Tabby Couture, Nyasa Mobile, Grand Palace Hotel Mzuzu.
Kambiri Beach Resort, where the bootcamp will be held, is managed by Serendib Hotels that include Lotus Hotel in Blantyre; Bamboo Boutique Hotel in Lilongwe; Serendib Suites (in Namiwawa); Heritage Hotel in Limbe (formerly Shire Highlands Hotel); Blue Waters Beach Resort (Salima) and Zaburi Beach Resort in Mangochi.
Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) — the most award-winning television and radio station — signed an agreement with Alpha Arts as official broadcaster of the 2022 pageant.