Leah Kalanguka: Miss Uganda Creates History


Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”— a phrase quoted by Plato has been truly manifested in the novel concept of beauty pageant organized in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, in East Africa.

This recent beauty pageant was not about catwalk and empty promises articulated by the models on the ramp to earn brownie points. It was instead about promoting agriculture in the African nation. Contestants were tested on their knowledge in farming and their deftness in handling cattle and milking cows.

Leah Kalanguka, aged 23, was conferred the prestigious title of Miss Uganda after she beat off 19 other finalists. She has set a new precedent in an era where women are often considered as objects of mere external beauty sans practical wisdom of worldly affairs. This unconventional beauty pageant is likely to break the concept of shallow propaganda of beauty. It would most likely create an urge and a possibility of enhancing agricultural entrepreneurship among the dynamic young generation.

As a former mushroom and poultry farmer, Kalanguka is well versed with the farming practices and would be really appropriate in spreading the significance of agriculture, extending hands and harnessing her country folks in creating an agricultural revolution spearheaded by the youth.

The top finalists will not just be swayed by the laurels but will meaningfully contribute to the agricultural sector by marketing products such as potato, flour, mango juice, cornflakes and honey.

The credit for this unorthodox move goes to the Ugandan army, which had partnered with Joram Muzira, the organizer of the beauty pageant. Their effort of creating this youth friendly event will most likely touch a million chords, which would then be spurred into the action of promoting agricultural business.

The agricultural sector is dominant in Ugandan economy. As per a study in 1999, agriculture sector employs accounts 82 percent of the workforce and contributes to 90 percent of Uganda’s export earnings. This event will most likely give a boost to job opportunities in the country and hence to the national economy.

In India, around 70 percent of the population earns its livelihood from agriculture. India can take a big lesson from this small African city and direct its’ women resources for a social cause. It’s time to move on from viewing sundry models donning designer costumes, flashing envious curves and satiating the lustful audience gnawing at them with evil motives.

India can tap the simple and rustic beauties of the remote villages that are adept in farming practices and methodology and make them instruments of change in Indian agriculture. Village women can act as catalysts for youth hopping to metropolitan cities in search of livelihood in lieu of leaving behind a legacy of farming. A novel path of sustenance can be initiated by pooling in the talent of the metropolitan youth and the knowhow of village folks.

As Charles Malik, a philosopher, rightfully opined, “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.

Niti Tandon

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