Celebrities come to Juba for beauty show
By Staff Writer
International celebrities Miss Grant International Janelee Chaparro and Miss Earth are on their way to join Miss World Africa Atong Demach in Juba ahead of the Beauties of South Sudan 2014 contest on Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with South Sudan Today on Friday, Miss Atong Demach, the first South Sudanese to win the Miss World Africa title in 2012, said, “We are trying to bring together South Sudanese, especially those who want to follow my footsteps.
After winning and knowing what I went through, I have understood that you need someone to guide you, to prepare you and put you in the right track. I don’t think there is anyone else than myself, and instead of me just winning international competitions it is better to come up and help in the building the nation.”
South Sudan has a lot to do if it is ever to win any international title, as Atong once got hold of the Miss World Africa. This requires expertise, energy and confidence.
“I am personally training them and giving them all experiences from all the countries I have been to in order to empower them and make them more prepared in terms of what they can make to the community,” Atong made of the nine partakers in the upcoming show.
“We have girls from different states and tribes across South Sudan and we want to eliminate tribalism by bringing together our people in terms of sports and culture,’ she added. “We (Beauties of South Sudan) are supporting peace because when people come together on July 13, we will be enjoying culture. It is a positive thing to promote peace and to encourage young people to come together. Politics is politics, and other things are other things. Our contribution as youths is to make sure that we are united, and when we are united no one can ever break us apart.”
Despite last year’s December 15 political unrest that has plunged the country into crisis, there is still hope that the country can sprung to its feet and restore hope in a people displaced and fighting for existence in a world of competition. This is further strengthened by the fact that such a function can attract international celebrities to come and see for themselves the culture in the world’s newest country.
“Janelee Chaparro, from Puerto Rico who was crowned winner of Miss Grand International 2013 held in Bangkok, Thailand is coming personally to attend the event and show the world that ‘South Sudan is peaceful, don’t be afraid’. For her to accept to come is a great thing. We also have Miss Earth Catherine who is also attending,” Miss Atong proudly announced, believing that having such international celebrities in attendance is an opportunity to remove peoples’ fears about South Sudan.
“It is for them to say, ‘I am not here to accuse anyone but to tell the world that South Sudan is peaceful’. We are here to focus on promoting peace in South Sudan,” she added.
Confident young girls preparing for the event express optimism that being together is the beginning of a common future, as Atong also believes: “This kind of thing is what we should be doing to promote peace.”
Akan William, a young lady who hails from Upper Nile State, says, “I am happy to be here, and I will be glad to represent my country outside.”
Meanwhile, Siham Samuel, 18, from Jonglei State, notes: “we are doing great and enjoying.”
“I’m proud to be here with fellow girls,” says one Sarah Gabriel, from Unity State.
While expressing excitement over the programme, Magdalene Lino, 21, from Eastern Equatoria, sees the programme as full of responsibility. “For me, being part of the pageant is not about being there to represent South Sudan, but it is about changing people’s perception about South Sudan. We should tell the world that South Sudan has a culture and beautiful ladies.”
Organized by Beauties of South Sudan, a local organization Atong Demach founded in 2012, with the support of Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE, the function will take place under the theme ‘My Tribe is South Sudan’ at the Freedom Hall on July 13.
This is the second edition of the pageant contests following the first edition in June 2013 from which two ladies were crowned to represent South Sudan in international beauty contests.
Culture ministers from different states are expected at the occasion, with Northern Bahr El Ghazal and Western Bahr El Ghazal State having already expressed support for the beauty pageant.
Atong was appointed the South Sudan Ambassador for Culture in 2012. She is a confident young lady whose ambition casts a bright future founded on the commitment that ‘the only way we can go forward and realize development is to kill tribalism’.