By James Gatdet Dak
November 30, 2008 (JUBA) – Jonglei state came out the winner of the final Miss Malaika/Miss South Sudan beauty contest conducted on Saturday at Nyekuron Culture Center in Juba.
- Miss South Sudan beauty contestants dressed in traditional dresses in their final phase on the stage, Juba, November 29, 2008, (Photo: J.G. Dak).
The final competition was organized by the South Sudan Artists Association after previously conducting preliminary and semi-final competitions that reduced the number of the final contesting girls to 15.
Nora Wal Duany, 25, from Akobo County, is the winner of this 2008/2009 Crown after beating all the other 14 girls contesting from the other nine states in the South and Abyei.
The competition, under the theme, ‘Beauty for a Purpose,’ was the second of its kind organized inside Southern Sudan after the formation of the semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).
The first comprehensive Miss Malaika beauty contest, which witnessed participation of contestants from all the ten Southern Sudan states for the first time, was organized for 2007/2008 in Juba and was also won by Jonglei state’s Deborah Nyameer Nyuon from Pangak County.
The state also previously won an introductory pre-GoSS beauty competition in 2005 in Nairobi, Kenya, but which many states did not have chance to participate in.
GoSS Advisors, Ministers, Governors and SPLA senior officers, diplomats and United Nations representatives joined the crowd of thousands of Juba residents in witnessing the Saturday’s spectacular final competition which lasted for seven hours from 7:30PM – 2:30AM.
The SPLM’s most senior woman in the party, Dr. Ann Itto, and the GoSS’ first woman governor, Jemma Nunu Kumba, of Western Equatoria state both expressed the importance of Miss Malaika event - sometimes called Miss South Sudan or New Sudan - as a means of furthering women empowerment and participation in development and decisions-making in the region.
The girls were paraded on the stage to display their beauty several times collectively and individually, wearing different dress styles in each phase ranging from African Dress, Evening Dress, Patriotic Dress, Casual Dress and finally Traditional Dress.
Moving on the final stage in her native Nuer traditional black skirt called yoah made of thread strings with woven colorful beads, worn on the neck and across the chest, Nora Duany caught the attention of the 5-member judges composed of two Sudanese, a Kenyan, Ugandan and South Korean.
The competition was very tight and few minutes before announcing the winner, judges had to admit that they had difficulty choosing the best among the 15 girls.
They (Judges) also formulated mixed socio-economic, political and historical questions which the girls had to answer in testing their intellect and consciousness on how to resolve issues facing Southern Sudan.
Reacting after the immediate announcement of the winner, the crowd jumped up with excitement, followed by beating of musical instruments and lighting of fireworks producing a colorful spectacular scene.
The outgoing Miss Malaika 2007/2008, Deborah Nyameer, in the ceremony handed over the Crown to her new successor, Nora Duany, amid ululations.
Nora said she would use her one-year term as Miss South Sudan to campaign for and promote access to education for all in the war-torn region.