A television reality show, Queenvarsity Afrika, with the theme, “A beauty plus brain contest,” was recently organised by Pride & Pillars of Afrika.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Jasmine Ofoegbu, said it was a 10-year-old project conceived to empower females in tertiary institutions. At the grand finale in Lagos, she enjoined the young females to see themselves as not just role models but become better persons in the society:
“The girls need to learn socio-emotional and life skills, necessary for them to navigate and adapt to the changing world. Girls who are empowered make decisions about their own lives and contribute to the development of their communities and their world at large.
“These contestants were female undergraduates or fresh graduates from African higher institutions. Anyone educating a girl-child empowers her. Concentrating solely on educating the girl-child will not result in empowerment, unless women themselves become skilled and active promoters of gender equality.
“Most women are important catalysts for empowerment both at home and workplaces. They are an essential part of the child both during learning and her social, cultural and economic development.
“The society needs to transmit and implant social values and nurture a child’s creativity, talent and interests. Society equally needs to provide the girl-child, with the skills and knowledge to question and solve problems they might encounter as they journey through life.
“Most women have given their roles to strangers in the name of aunties, uncles, relatives, care givers as well as school teachers who in turn abuse the girls sexually thereby making their lives miserable.
“Building a positive self-image for girls takes a major role in the make up of the girl-child. Many girls suffer from self-esteem and confidence problems. Girls need a supportive and engaging community to develop their essential traits.
“The show is not about beauty pageantry but a reality show project, inaugurated as a campaign drive, aimed at grooming and empowering the African girl-child for the future. It took me 10 years to actualise this dream
“High profile personalities across Africa were part of the facilitators including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who mentored the contestants referred to as princesses. He took the girls on good citizenship and how to run a business, thus making it the first reality show to feature a former president.”
The finalists of the contest included Kossy Okonkwo, Computer Technology, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos; Omoye Arewa, graduate of History and International Relations, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti; Skybrown, graduate of Nursing, Ecole Professionnelle Specialisee, La Cité University, Cotonou, Benin Republic; Falola Druscilla, graduate of Physics, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, (FUNAAB) and Tonia Ifekandu, Mass Communications Department, National Open University, Lagos.
Okonkwo emerged winner, at the “Beauty Plus Brain” contest with a cash prize of N1million; first runner-up, Druscilla; second runner-up, Skybrown; third runner-up, Arewa and fourth runner-up, Ifekandu.