Mombasa man wins Mr Deaf Africa Fashion contest

Winner of Mr Africa deaf fashion, Teddy Wasonga Otum (centre) is congratulated by persons living with disabilities and relatives at Moi international Airport in Mombasa. He won the title at Julius Nyerere international convention centre in Dares Salaam. He will represent African continent at the end of this year in Brazil. October 7, 2021. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Teddy Wasonga Otum, 21, is the winner of the Mr Deaf Africa Fashion contest.

Wasonga won the pageant held at Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Convention Centre, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on October 1, 2021.

The former student of Kenya Coast National Polytechnic beat 11 contestants to became the first Kenyan to win the prize.

"It is a dream come true for me," Wasonga said.

His arrival at Moi International Airport in Mombasa on Tuesday caught may passengers unawares as friends and relatives sang a gospel song.

On September 8, 2021, he was crowned Mr Deaf Kenya 2021 at the Kenya Cultural Centre, Nairobi.

Wasonga said Governor Hassan Ali Joho facilitated his air travel to and from Tanzania.

His mother, Ann Otum could not hide her joy, saying that despite the harsh economic times, she still made it to be with her son as he made history.

"We never shied away from exposing our child to opportunities. I wish to tell parents not to hide disabled kids. Give them an opportunity to explore their talents," she said.

His father, Tobby Otum, thanked God for the son's achievement. "It is God's work and praise be to Him," said Tobby.

''I remain highly indebted to my own family and neighbours for their moral support and prayers," Wasonga said.

The neighbours included nominated Member of County Assembly Ramla Said Omar who is also a person living with disability.

Ramla, who presented Wasonga with a bouquet of flowers upon his arrival, said that the win was not only for the him (Wasonga) but for Mombasa and the Kenyan deaf community. 

Twelve African nations took part in the pageant which also featured the Miss and Mr Deaf Africa contest.

Another Kenyan, Mr Beron Simiyu, bagged the Mr Deaf Africa 2021 title while Senegalese national Alouise Aloiuse, was the 1st runner-up.

In the ladies category, South Sudanese Josephine Kiden scooped the Miss Deaf Africa while Tanzanian Khadija Kanyama was second overall.

In Miss Deaf Fashion Africa, Tanzania's Caroline Makasaka was named the fashion queen.

Tanzania's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Permanent Secretary Hassan Abbas, while welcoming participants for the inaugural contest, said that those with any form of disability should not be segregated in the society.  

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