Miss Africa 2019 Calabar reigning Queen, Irene Ng’endo Mukii is a 21-year old Mathematics and Computer Science student at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. No stranger to the pageantry world, she’s also Miss Jomo Kenyatta University 2018/2019 and Miss Progress Kenya 2019 reigning queen. She represented her country in the latter in Puglia, Italy.
As Miss Africa Calabar, Irene will be focusing on humanity projects that will work towards bringing back the dignity to our people by using arts, creativity, and entertainment to tell our true stories. She states that “when people think of humanitarian projects they think about the saddest stories that can attract the most sympathy. But I think this is a wrong approach. It robs the people being talked about of their dignity and strength. Why do you think the only popular stories of Africa are about starving kids and yet when we talk about cities like New York the phrase city of dreams comes to mind? I am not saying we should ignore the problems, but that they should not be magnified. The challenges of a people should be overcome and their strength magnified so that they can reach their full potential. Doing anything other than that is crippling. Therefore as Miss Africa I would love to correct this approach”.
She plans to engage and interact with the community, especially the indigenous and marginalized ones to see what they have to offer. The aim is to look at their strengths and portray their beauty through arts and creative entertainment. She will then use her position to look for sponsors that can create job opportunities for them with regard to what their strengths are. She says that the idea started to grow in her heart while working in Makaya as the goodwill ambassador where they were led by Lyron Nelson. “Even as we were trying to help the marginalized women with maternal health, we quickly realised that they have a lot to offer. That they do not consider living far away from town as a disadvantage but rather they enjoy experiencing their culture and wouldn’t have it any other way. Thus, they deserve a chance to experience their culture while still living in dignity,” she notes. She adds that Makaya, therefore, decided to showcase their strength by planning a crossover party in Magadi, Kenya where the activities promoted the culture of the Masaai people and helped visitors enjoy the scenery of a place that people think has nothing to offer. “This is why Lyron Nelson is amongst the people who inspire me because he was able to see the strength in people who are just considered charity cases,” she declares.
She says that getting involved in such projects allows her to showcase that being different is not a disadvantage and one should not be required to change. Instead, people should be taught to embrace and express their diversity just like these communities. “Our differences are our strength, they are our grace,” she declares.