Miss Black History Month: forget the miss world pageant, the real African beauties participated in the Miss Black History Month pageant in London on 27 October.

Author:Mbakwe, Tom
Position:The Gallery

This year's Black History Month celebrations in Britain saw an innovative beauty pageant--a Miss Black History Month--in which contestants played great women of African history. Instead of the usual swimwear, the lovely ladies wore the magnificent clothes that the heroines they were playing would have worn in their day.

The brainchild of the Ghanaian writer and filmmaker, Barima Adu Asamoah, the pageant (held on 27 October at the Ocean in Hackney, London) drew a lot of praise from the fairly large crowd.

Claire Nandyose, 19, (Ugandan-Swedish), won the maiden Miss Black History Month crown. She appeared as Queen Nefertiti (13th Dynasty), wife of the Ancient Egyptian monarch, Akenaten.

The second place went to the tall Ange-Nelly Barwendere, 26, the 6ft 2 in student from Burundi, who played Queen Nzingah (1512-1663), the brave queen of the Kingdom of Kongo who gave the Portuguese such a hiding for their adventures.

Third was Serena Williams (not of tennis but a Jamaican beauty) who played the great lady Sojourner Truth (1797-1883).

Truth was born into an enslaved family in Ulster County, New York, and was sold herself as a slave to a series of white families before ending up on the farm of John Dumont at the age of 13. For the next 17 years, Dumont made her breed 10 children for sale. In 1851, after she had run away to New York City following the Emancipation Proclamation, Truth sued Dumont for selling her children. She later became prominent in the suffrage movement until his death in 1883.

The other contestants were:

* Nasheana Stewart (St Kitts) appeared as Queen Yaa Asantewaa, the queen-mother of Edweso in Asante, Ghana, who gave the British a good run for their money in the war of 1900.

* Shaherah Williams (a Trinidadian)...

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