By Jonathan Benaiah (The Ugandan Tourist)

The combination of quality such as shape, color and form to appeal to the aesthetic desire of a curious eye is sometimes summed up in a single word, ‘BEAUTY’. One word that sums up an overdose of this combination is perhaps one worth finding out.

Friday 5th May 2017 was fortunately a fast day, but is this even unusual? We often desire that our Friday’s move quick. The fifth day of our weeks repeatedly forms a gateway into the weekend, a time to hastily roll office chairs backwards with knees coming from underneath shiny mahogany office desks to permit a quick dash out for bachelor chaps to catch-up with peers or for family guys to get to their sons and daughters and/baby mamas a little earlier than usual.

This particular Friday (5th May) found us doing none of the usual, but had us lured to the Uganda Museum in Kitante just positioned on the left hand side of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Head Quarters. We were arriving for the launch of the 5th chapter of Miss Tourism Uganda 2017/2018, the country’s leading pageant race, quickly taking over the contemporary and almost defunct pageant races like Miss Uganda.

Present at the event at least were representatives from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO), fashionistas, Radiant Cosmetics Uganda, media houses and the hosts Miss Tourism Uganda.

Having attended Miss Tourism events over the past years, we came with warm bellies and souls to experience yet another pomp event, one filled with a deep essence of glamour; the launch of yet another episode in search for the gorgeous face of Uganda’s stunning tourism. We came to see “the Pearl of Africa shine”.

Unfortunately, like many tourism events in Uganda, the efforts to honor time were far from the visible. For an event scheduled to start at 6pm and end at 8pm, the organizers totally lost the ball when they only did introductory remarks after 7:35pm despite the timely arrival of several invited guests. The same old excuse of city traffic was not attractive to ears of guests who had received invitations for the event on a last minute call.

On the brighter side, the fortress of beauty that was to hold the anticipated launch had been finely decorated with lights, style and the brand, ‘Miss Tourism Uganda’ was very visible not forgetting the black and white dominance that radiated a message of the event’s biggest sponsors, the cosmetic giants Radiant Cosmetics Uganda.

The splendor of the decor at the launch was merely a walk on the better side. The real bang was the sight of Ugandan girls racing back and forth in high heeled shoes, clad in sleek and colorful dresses with crowns atop of their heads. These girls had media chaps turn heads some possibly forgetting to tap the record button, visibly jaw dropped. The girls certainly made the venue shine even in the night. There was also a handful of queens from past episodes of the pageant tussle who came back to portray their undivided support to the race that groomed many of them for success.

For an event that started far later than expected, panic was going to be very hard to hide. The organizers did their best to bring the event to good speed only saved by the signature catwalks, the crowned and finely made up faces as well as the queenly hand-waves of former miss tourism queens. The venue speedily filled up and cameras began clicking, with African tunes like “Ugandan girl” by Maurice Kirya spicing up the evening.

Typical of a media launch, there were press addresses from tourism cluster heads, a guest speech from the very first Miss Tourism winner, the beautiful Barbra Nakitto (she never loses her gorgeousness this girl), a keynote address from the elegant, tall standing and reigning queen of tourism, Ms. Eildad Odongkara Epiaka; and a sum up from the Miss Tourism Public Relations Officer Mr. Allan Kanyike who brought greetings from the sickly CEO and former Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Maria Mutagamba.

Barbra Nakitto, the very first winner of Miss Tourism Uganda

With speeches out of the way, it was time to get biting and sipping; roasted beef with drinks and the intention to make merry.

We held exclusive interviews with some of the guests at the event, and were abstractly informed that the event from an outsider’s perspective is unfortunately taking a fast slump, and that the team behind this famed race ought to tighten laces. “The quality of the outward beauty of the current lot of queens compared to the earlier episodes of the event has quickly dropped to a point below water. A beauty queen should not only present a brainy nature, but should be one who on first sight makes men uncomfortably awestruck and leaves women speaking in unusual tongues”, one of the guests stated.

We also learned that the event was losing the grip on consistency. “We reminisce the sweet old days when the Miss Tourism launch events were held within the splendid enclosures of Kampala Serena Hotel, graced by top officials from within the tourism industry. But now the brand is weakening with antic venues like the outdated Uganda museum, which actually had a stage setup with instruments, but no one to play every one or two coveted tunes for the invited guests, probably because the hired band had not received their pay check”. Another guest lamented.

Hope was however kept alive when it was confirmed that Miss Tourism Uganda will run yet again for a 5th time in search of Miss Tourism Uganda 2017/18. The message to the public was for Ugandans to encourage their sisters and friends to sign up early enough for this all new episode that will see a new queen of tourism crowned and driving away in a luxurious BMW Mini-cooper courtesy of Radiant Cosmetics Uganda.

Eildad Epiaka Odongkara, the reigning Miss Tourism Uganda, and Miss Tourism West Nile Region

From The Uganda Safari News, we are ecstatic to follow through this year’s search for the face of Uganda’s tourism. We applaud Miss Tourism Uganda for the commitment to publicizing Uganda, and as is your tagline, we embolden you to “Let the Pearl Shine” again and again.

The Uganda Safari News. “Sharing from within the Pearl”.

Written by 

My old folks call me Jonathan Benaiah but I prefer to go by as “The Ugandan Tourist“. I love to travel, write, take photos (of nature mostly). Ask me my best kind of trips and I'll tell you that it's those moments which allow me enough time in the African bush.