By Shamlal Puri
Kenyans living in the UK celebrated the country’s 50th independence anniversary by showcasing her culture in a beauty contest.
The Kenyan community in Britain celebrated the 50th Madaraka Day in style by staging the first Face of Kenya UK beauty contest in London.
A dozen Kenyan women from as far as Birmingham put their best foot forward in a colourful ceremony where Kenyan culture was celebrated.
The show featured models in colourful Western and Kenyan outfits, and more than 600 guests were present.
- 1 Guardiola to get Sh29 billion for transfers – Lukaku top of Man City wishlist
- 2 Court shields agencies from scrutiny by EACC
- 3 PesaLink gets new CEO
- 4 Puzzle of Sh46 billion loans Kenya was to pay
Behind the catwalk was an important mission — to raise money for charitable causes in Kenya. Each of the contestants selected a charity to support.
Catie Boella was the overall winner while the first and second runners up were Trudie and Caroline, respectively.
Sharlene Were was named top model while Lizzie Wanjiru took the Miss Popular title and Ashley Mungai was named the Charity Patron.
The evening’s guest of honour Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, gave a keynote speech underscoring the importance of the relationship between Britain and Kenya and paid tribute to Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency under a two-tier Parliament.
Lazarus S Muganda, the First Secretary from the Kenya High Commission, representing the High Commissioner Ephraim Ngare, said he was pleased by the turnout.
“You in the diaspora are the face of Kenya,” he told the gathering.
Among those who attended the event were senior members of the Kenya Society, community leaders, councillors and members of the clergy.
Harish Luther, a photographer and conservationist now based in London, launched his CD, Mysteries of Kenya Revealed, during the event. He is planning to publish his collection of Kenyan photographs dating back to the 1920s.
Janet Wainaina of UKenTV said, “We are going to work with the Face of Kenya UK winner, all the runners up and all the models to make sure the project reaches its full potential.”
Face of Kenya UK will be an annual beauty pageant that promotes beauty and creates a social platform to help Kenyans living in the UK to meet and bond. The pageantry will also be used to educate Kenyans living in the UK on the importance of preserving their culture.
Its other aims include raising money for charity organisations, especially those caring for children orphaned and affected by HIV and Aids, addressing challenges faced by the youth in the diaspora and moulding the youth into leaders.
The organisers of the event said, “Kenyan youth abroad have an abundance of exemplary talent and Face of Kenya UK will be an engine to empower them.
“Our goal is to build, connect and enable the youth in the diaspora and the community to prosper and live the Kenyan dream.”
Kenyans who attended were impressed with the event.
Nicholas Angawa, who has lived in Britain for 20 years, told me, “I feel at home in this hall this evening. This is a true piece of Kenya, but once I get out of this door I am in the UK. The music is lovely and the audience is having a great time.”