By Joanna Dhanraj
With August fast approaching, the contestants of the Mr and Miss Guyana African Roots 2017 pageant are busy perfecting their skills for their big nights.
The pageant is part of a week of activities aimed at reviving the African culture and will include a debate competition, an African Food Fest, Fashion Show and Art Exhibition, Dance Competition and Production, pageant nights and the grand finale of an award ceremony. Venue for the week of activities is the Theatre Guild, but may be subject to change.
The teen pageants are set for August 11, while the young adults will vie the following night.
This week we bring you seven more contestants participating in the male adult segment of the pageant.
Dexter Gardener under the African name ‘Daniel Neggussie Abbera’ is representing the country of South Africa. The 24-year-old is currently pursuing a diploma in Business Management at Computer World. He also has a diploma in Construction Planning from the Georgetown Technical Institute and another in Business Administration from Computer World. Just last year Dexter competed at the Mr Guyana pageant where he finished as the third runner-up and won the Mr Wonderful World Guyana crown inclusive of the Best Formal Wear and People’s choice awards. This driven young man has already set sights on the Mr Guyana African Roots crown and says should he win the crown he would focus on reviving the dying African culture and the first order of business will be a mega concert to promote the African dance, painting and accessories. Should he win he said, he will not let down on humanitarian work, something he’s been a part of for something working along with Malika Russell who was the Miss Culture Queen for last year’s Miss World. They work in collaboration with the Marriott Hotel, the Russian Federation and the Chinese Embassy cleaning the seawalls every Tuesday afternoon.
Dexter enjoys in his free time: gardening (especially the Hibiscus flowers), designing, drawing and building mini houses/modules.
Nineteen-year-old Ronaldo ‘Imani’ Myers proudly represents the country of Uganda. “I chose Uganda because it really shows up Africa with its boiling lake among other reasons,” Ronaldo shared. He is currently a chef at L Patra Multi Talent Creations and makes pastries and cakes but his specialty doesn’t stop there as special orders would find him cooking corn and pepper rice, baked chicken in sweet and sour sauce, scalloped potatoes and macaroni pie among a few other dishes. This Virgo chef is aspiring to be the one of the greatest chefs in the world and hopes that with his talent, should he win, he could reintroduce some the African cuisine in Guyana.
Ronaldo loves watching cooking shows especially “Chopped”, trying out new recipes and dancing to contemporary gospel.
Dylon-Michael ‘Tekaka Azulu’ Sam hails from the ‘Cinderella County’ of Essequibo but currently resides in Georgetown. The 20-year-old has strong reasons for choosing his African country, Ethiopia. Having an extended family as Rastafarians, Dylon-Michael grew up seeing the country’s red, yellow and green flag. However, he added that choosing Ethiopia was more spiritual for him. He says whether he wins or not it will still an experience that will benefit him and so far he has learned a great deal about his culture. Should he cop the crown he would venture more into culture to educate Guyanese by introducing education/culture programmes through television and social media.
Sam is a model by profession attached to Kast Talent Management and participated in Guyana Fashion Week 2016 and Roraima Wedding Expo 2017. He also volunteers at Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association. This “purpose-driven, results-oriented and talented young man” as he describes himself is an artist who would have participated in the Guyana Visual Arts Competition at the Castellani House on June 29. He enjoys abstract painting, reading adventurous novels and browsing the internet.
Ian ‘Ike Abeabuchi’ Campbell has chosen to represent the country/island of Madagascar, said to be the largest island in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. “I chose Madagascar because I can relate to it because when I was younger I had looked at a documentary about it with its unique animals found nowhere else in the world; it also has unique spices. Madagascar is an epitome of a tropical paradise that is pristine,” said the Tutorial High School teacher.
Ian, who comes across as quite intellectual, may be one to just stand in front of a class giving lectures but once he’s out on a track, everything changes. He is one of the country’s renowned national athletes, a sprinter to be more specific.
Ian admitted that African culture in Guyana is dying and says should he become the next Mr African Guyana he would use the platform to promote cultural awareness and a feeling of self-worth. In so doing he’d try to incorporate the participation of the Ministry of Tourism.
Using three words to describe himself he considers himself a man of “intensity, integrity and intelligence”.
His hobbies includes: playing sports, watching sports and is a wisdom and knowledge seeker and philanthropist.
Troy ‘Shabataka Shebitku Tutankhamen’ Benjamin is representing Egypt. The twenty-year-old is currently in his second year at the University of Guyana pursuing a degree in law. Egypt, he says, has lot to offer besides its pyramids and pharaohs. Just saying the name of Egypt he added makes a statement. Apart from its many tourist attractions, it is known as the land of belly dancing. Winning he said would give him the opportunity to educate young and old about his culture and not just educate them but to have them appreciate and embrace it also.
Troy enjoys writing poems and short stories and being involved in drama.
Mr Botswana, Stephan ‘Ogbuefi Ezeudu’ Johnson is an English Literature and Portuguese teacher at Zeeburg Secondary School. Stephan is a member of Unique Arts Dance Company and the National School of Arts and is currently doing a certificate in dance at the Institute of Creative Dance while attending Cyril Potter College of Education.
“I have a thing for social cohesion and I believe we can do much more. I’ll try to expose youths with talents. I want to push the arts; the art is just as important as any other academic,” Stephan said when asked what he would do should he cop the crown.
Stephan, an aspiring designer, also shared that he is nicknamed ‘Swift Prince’ because he’s considered a person who is ambitious and is always trying to achieve some goal. The name suits him also as he’s a big fan of Taylor Swift.
His hobbies include writing spoken word poetry and watching series, some of which are: “The Haves and the have Nots,” “Game of Thrones,” “Reign,” “Sleepy Hollow” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” He also enjoys travelling, dancing, and reading novels, plays, short stories and poems.
Last but not least in this category is Eon ‘Prince Emeka Adebaro Karume’ Peters who represents Namibia.
Eon is currently a teacher attached to the Xenon Academy and teaches Principle of Business, Principle of Accounts, Office Administration, Human and Social Biology, Integrated and Agricultural Science.
“If I should become the next Mr Guyana African Roots I’d educate others on their roots as a lot of Africans do not know about their culture. In time I intend to widen this to the other cultures,” promised Eon.
The teacher added that he has a passion for educating others. In his free time he enjoys reading inspirational books, singing, dancing and cake decorating. His favourite colour is rose pink and he loves to eat dhal and rice with bunjal chicken.
In the next edition of The Scene we will introduce to you the last batch of the African Roots contestants 2017, the Young Adults (Females).
For more information on the pageant and the week of events Director of Unique Arts Dance Group Kelton Jennings, can be contacted via numbers 661-0573/656-7499 and Brian Roberts of Honest Illusions on 718-218-4940 via Whatsapp.