Another Miss, Rwanda 

I had promised myself to react less and less to matters that do not affect me directly because a lot of things hit me in this country and leave me wondering, “Did they think it through?” And so many times some of my fans and friends would kindly advise, “Eric, stick to poetry. We like you like that.” So I tried to follow your advice. I really tried but it’s just against what my guts tell me. It feels like going against my nature. I am a panther. I react. I am glad that this time I am not the only one. 

In fact, for the last couple of days, my social media feeds are full of reactions, mostly from ladies, regarding what a contestant on Miss Rwanda 2017 auditions said when she was asked about who was behind her make-up and style. “I picked the dress myself. I went for something that I would feel comfortable in on the runway, something that reflects the image/shape of a Rwandan girl” she said in Kinyarwanda. The male judge, struck by the last part of the reply, got to the edge of his seat and interjected, “What do you mean by “image/shape of a Rwandan girl?”” And with lots of confidence, she said, “A [true] Rwandan girl is shaped like igisabo.”

Uwase Honorine, contestant on Miss Rwanda 2017. When you see them hips! 
A growing pot traditionally used to make butter by Rwandan girls

Any Rwandan understands Honorine is referencing to her curvy hips. And daymn she got mean ones! Uhm uhm uhm! Mean enough to be hated on by those who got none? Obviously. Rwandans on Twitter jumped on the occasions with memes and various reactions, and continue to do so, mostly for entertainment purposes. There’s not much entertainment going on. So people entertain themselves all day on social media. I do the same. 
Some judged her reply as “inappropriate” and I am here wondering if you were competing in a contest based on physical appearance, wouldn’t you brag about your goodies when given a chance? Miss Rwanda is not Miss Geek. Probably the reason why the general knowledge questions asked are of a primary school level. It’s all about the looks and which contestant seduces the judges and the crowd the most. And I must say, this girl did her homework and she wants that title. Zoom into the picture and you’ll see marks of the spandex shapers inside her dress for a better outline of the flow of her hips. Is that cheating? Lol. If so, we’ve been cheated on since day uno. Here are some tricks: weaves, wigs, relaxed hair, bleached skin, fake nails, make-up or facial drawings (you decide), heels (for height and raising the bum), rehearsed Q&A’s… Sponsored by the government. Bravo! What’s the message to girls, again? Empowerment and confidence, you said? How do you go about it? “Girl, be pretty and one day you could bear the country’s flag as the most beautiful girl in the country!” Mind you that criteria such as height and weight standards to define beauty on a national scale is discriminating. Strong word? Well, add “positive” before it. Everyone gets away with that.

I can hear your thoughts go, “It is the same everywhere!” Well, there’s a lot happening everywhere but that doesn’t mean we should we copy them. Anyway, let’s not be too deep because the topic itself isn’t at all. Except the part when the ministry of culture claims, “Miss Rwanda aims at promoting our culture.” Unless the culture died and is resurrecting through girls with ibisabo hips because you know, ibisabo are precious in our culture. Ahem! I love ibisabo.

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