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Iradukunda impresses at Miss World pageant

ALTHOUGH she missed out on the crown, Miss Rwanda, Elsa Iradukunda left a good impression at the Miss World beauty pageant in the Chinese city of Sanya, on Saturday night. Iradukunda gave fellow contestants and guests a lesson or two about Rwanda and its cherished traditions.

India’s Manushi Chhillar was crowned the winner to end the country’s 17-year wait at a colorful ceremony at Sanya City’s Crown Of Beauty Theater.

The 20-year-oldmedical student beat 117 other contestants at the glitzy and star studded crowning ceremony.


Iradukunda, (clad in a traditional dress branded in the national flag colours), in a group picture with fellow contestants. / Courtesy

She becomes the sixth Indian to win the title, and the second in seventeen years since Priyanka Chopra took the accolade in 2000.

Mexico’s Andrea Meza emerged 1st Runner Up, while Stephanie Hill from England was 2nd Runner Up. Kenya was the only African country to make it to the top 5 slot, alongside France.

In the top 10 category, there was Russia, Indonesia, England, Korea, Jamaica, India, South Africa, Kenya, France, and Mexico.


Contestants hold hands and pose during the 67th Miss World contest in Sanya, Chinese on Saturday. / Courtesy

Rwanda was represented at the pageant by Miss Rwanda 2017, Elsa Iradukunda, the second Rwandan to grace the Miss World pageant, after Miss Rwanda 2016 Jolie Mutesi made Rwanda’s début last year.

Iradukunda may not have walked away with any win, but she gave fellow contestants a lesson or two in the Rwandan traditional dance. This was during the contestants’ opening presentations, where they were divided according to continent of origin.

After their introductions, the girls jointly took to the stage to each showcase traditional dances native to their respective countries.


Contestants dance during the contest. / Courtesy

Clad in traditional umushanana attire in the colours of Rwanda’s national flag, Iradukunda swayed to Abakobwa b’iwacu, a song by legendary folk musician Cecile Kayirebwa, and was quickly joined by fellow contestants in dancing to the song.

According to the Miss World website, the newly crowned beauty queen is a trained classical dancer, with a passion for outdoor sports like Bungee Jumping, Snorkelling, and Scuba diving. Manushi further hopes to study Cardiac Surgery and also open a not-for-profit hospital in India’s countryside.


Manushi Chhillar from India was on Saturday crowned the new Miss World. / Courtesy
Apart from the Miss World title, Manushi also took the ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ award, described by organizers as “the most important event of the Miss World Festival.”

Under ‘Beauty With A Purpose’, money is raised for the benefit of hundreds of charitable projects from across the globe. Projects range from providing electricity in rural areas, to conservation.


contestants from all over the world competed for the crown. / Courtesy

As Miss Rwanda 2017 and as part of the ‘Beauty With A Purpose’ project, Iradukunda organized surgery for two hundred cataract sufferers in Rwanda.

The event was broadcast live in over 160 countries across the globe. It was the seventh time the city of Sanya was hosting the prestigious pageant since 2003.

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