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Miss Africa 2017

Publishing Date : 08 January, 2018

Author : KEAMOGETSE MOTONE

Newly crowned Miss Africa 2017, Gaseangwe Balopi is a woman on a mission to prove Africa’s potential to the world while fighting against illegal migration and Climate Change in the continent.


The 21year old Tonota born fashion entrepreneur, stylist and model was crowned in the second edition of the beauty pageant hosted at the Calabar International Convention Centre in Cross River State in Nigeria on December 27 2017, beating 24 contestants from across the continent. Rwanda’s Fiona Naringwa and Luyolo Mngonyama of South Africa were placed second and third, respectively.


Her quest for the crown, however was without glitches, she revealed to WeekendLife this week. “My Miss Africa journey was not an easy one. From spending my first Christmas away from my family; to losing my phone that had all my research my speeches and all a few days before pre judging; To living with ladies from all over Africa, with different cultures, different beliefs, morals and all but we made it work,” she said.


According to Balopi, when the pageant was introduced last year, a friend alerted her of it but she decided to not contest as she learnt about it rather late. This year, however she was more than prepared to give it her all, and she did!
“I first heard of Miss Africa from a friend last year I decided not to pursue it then because of the simple fact that it came too soon and I believed I was not prepared. This year I decided to join because of the longing and burning desire to make a difference in the world,” Balopi explained.


To her, joining the pageant was all about her making a visible impact to the world. “It’s the best time to be alive for the African Child; our voice and power echo from all corners of the world. Our passion and hunger to change the game shines brighter than all the diamonds in Africa put together. The fight against illegal migration and climate change has long begun and I will be Africa’s weapon. I dedicate my life to my beloved African people. I dedicate my time to making a difference in people’s lives and fighting factors that hinder Africa from reaching its full potential,” she said.


The beauty with brains is of the view that Africans carry great potential and wants to dedicate a chunk of her time to addressing ills affecting the continent, among them, illegal migration and climate change. “My reign has begun and I intend on changing the game while at it. I am intelligent, I am eloquent, I am graceful and I am Gold,” she said in an email communication sent to her by this publication.


The theme for this year’s pageant was “Climate Change and Migration” and was at aimed at raising awareness on the need to protect the environment and caution the youth against illegal migration. She said of her experiences: “It’s an experience that can be likened to none. It’s the second biggest carnival in the world. The cultural diversity and colors where amazing. The carnival theme this year was Migration. The carnival isn’t just about fun but it’s an illustration of the culture of cross river state and Nigeria as a whole. The different bands show case and interpret the theme Migration using colorful costumes. It’s very educational.”


Part of her prize money, she said, will go to funding a solar power project sustaining her “Plant a tree” initiative, and also to her illegal migration project she is currently working towards launching. But she will also spoil her mom and herself with a few fashion apparels, being a fashion lover she is. Some charities she has worked with will also get a share of the winnings. Balopi won $30,000 and a brand new Ford Edge sport utility vehicle.


Miss Africa Beauty Pageant was established in order to take the tourism and hospitality industry in Africa and the rest of the world by storm. The pageant sought to crown a queen who would promote Green Economy as a tool for sustainable development, whilst merging beauty with nature and a tenacious cause centered around creating the much needed awareness on Man's direct and indirect impact on her environment. 


On annual basis, 30 ladies between the ages of 18-25 year representing 40 African countries contend for the prestigious title. In 2016, Angolan Neurite Mendes was crowned the first Miss Africa Climate Change Ambassador in Calabar. The theme was ‘Green Economy, a tool for Sustainable Development’.

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