The contenders and contestants of the Mr and Miss Guyana African Roots 2017 pageant were awarded their prizes and certificates of participation in front of a small gathering at the African Museum of Heritage recently.
The event, which was held more than two months after the pageant was held, was emceed by the reigning Mr Guyana International 2016 Kefa Smith
In comments Director of the African Museum of Heritage Jenny Daly reminded that many people were under the wrong notion that Africans were slaves adding that this was never so but instead they were a people who were enslaved. There were kings and queens also who were enslaved. She encouraged them to be a people who remember their culture and always strive.
Nadine Moore, a representative from Roraima Airways, one of the sponsors of the pageant,expressed her delight at the focus of the pageant and stated that Roraima Airways is always happy to be associated with anything that is youth centred and uplifting and jumps at opportunities to support such. “We’re always a big advocate for anything… that is positive and will impact the community,” she said.
Another sponsor was Kares Engineering Inc and its Brand Manager Paul Meusa said his company came on board because of the objective of the pageant. “Our young people are portrayed in the media generally for their negativity. This experience affords them the opportunity to show case their talents and rounded nature and we saw this exercise as a nature building one,” Meusa said adding that the pageant is aimed at restoring the pride of the African people and that the company was proud to have been a part of this venture.
Director of Unique Arts Production and Franchise Holder Kelton Jennings believed that the pageant will also help to boost tourism. He also used the opportunity to notify the public that there will also be a King of Kings and Queen of Queens Pageant eligible to persons around Guyana who would have had the opportunity to be crowned a king or queen in a pageant. All of the kings and queens will now go head to head to see who is the best of the best.
Meanwhile, the new senior and junior kings and queens will work with the youths at the Juvenile Centre in Sophia as well as the Psychiatric Hospital in Berbice during their reign.
“I plan to make full use of it and I also plan to visit as much schools as possible. There’s a saying ‘You can’t bend the tree when it’s fully grown’…,” said Junior Queen Tonya Harding. She plans to expose fellow youth to African culture while they are still young.
Senior King Stephan Johnson, a teacher at Zeeburg Secondary, said that apart from the project, he is currently working with the children in his school. “I want to expose the youths that have special talents and will start where I teach,” Johnson said. He uses half of the lunch period to work with students interested in drama, more specifically in dance as he’s specialized in this area.
The prizes for the senior king and queen included a $100,000 each, a trip to Kaieteur Falls and a dinner at the Vintage Wine Bar. The junior king and queen received $75,000 each and a trip to Arrow Point Resort. The senior runners-up received $75,000, $50,000 and $25,000 in prizes and the junior runners up, $50,000, $30,000, $25,000 and $20,000 in prizes. The first and second runners-up in both categories will receive a plane tour of Georgetown. All other contestants will receive a dinner at Duke Lodge.