Beauty with brains

Before September 7 2019, the name Chikondi Kanjadza was not known in Malawi and media spaces. But all of this changed on that Saturday evening when Malawi witnessed the first ever Miss Albinism at a glittering ceremony at Bingu International Convention Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.

After an entertaining and fun-filled competition, the judges made their choice—Miss Chikondi Kanjadza, 23, became the country’s first Miss Albinism—much to the satisfaction of those who witnessed the event.

Kanjadza: There is beauty in persons with albinism

But who is Chikondi Kanjadza?

“I am the last-born in a family of four,” said Kanjadza, a fourth-year student at Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi.

“I am studying social science gender studies,” she said.

What prompted her to participate in the contest?

“I wanted to show Malawi and the world that there is beauty in persons living with albinism. I also wanted to prove to them that the myths and misconceptions they have about persons with albinism are false,” said the beauty queen.

Kanjadza said she also wanted to use the platform to bring confidence to other young girls with albinism, letting them know they can also achieve great things.

“I enjoyed every part of the contest. I have learnt so much from participating in the pageant.

She said she will use her platform to uplift the lives of fellow youths with albinism.

“I am going to come up with programmes which will aim at promoting the rights of persons with albinism in Malawi. Something good is cooking,” Kanjadza said.

The beauty queen said she is still basking in the glory of her new-found fame.

“I am pretty much getting positive feedback, encouraging remarks and congratulatory messages from all over mostly,” she said.

Does she see herself going into modelling?

“Not really. I have not thought about that,” she said.

 United Nations representative, Maria Torres Jose commended Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) for organising the first-ever Miss and Mr Albinism in Malawi.

“She said through the contest, they have learnt that beauty is not only in the skin but it is in the way that one sees oneself.

“This beauty contest reminds us that we come in many colours, but there is one person.”

Random interviews on the just-held Miss and Mr Albinism, show that Malawians are impressed with the event, winners and the aims of the contest.

Ruth Nsapato, a Ndirande resident, said it is good to look at persons with albinism in the eyes of beauty.

“When we talk of persons with albinism usually it is all about killings and abductions. This time it is so refreshing to talk about their beauty and talent,” she said.

Another Ndirande resident Derrick Phiri said the contest has proved that Malawi has beautiful women.

“Regardless of their skin, those girls are beautiful. I just cannot help it but admire their looks. Asankha akazi okongola kwambiri. [they have chosen very beautiful women]

,” he said.

The first ever Mr and Miss Albinism was held under the theme Shine Within where over 30 young men and women participated.

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