LUSAKA, May 17 - Culture gives us the true identity, says Miss Malaika 2003 first princess Cynthia Kanema.
Cynthia, who this monthend stages the first ever prestigious all African culture show dubbed the International African Beauty Extravaganza, says the event will draw beauty queens from different cultural backgrounds.
After being crowned Miss Malaika 2003 first princess two months ago, Cynthia believes the show will be her first major project to set the pace for her involvement in community work.
Cynthia who was sponsored by South African Airways to showcase Zambia's beauty and culture at the Miss Malaika 2003 in South Africa says 22 African beauty queens have been invited for the event slated for Hotel Intercontinental pool side in Lusaka this monthend.
"This is the major event I am starting with and I hope to continue from here," she says.
Cynthia says organising an African culture extravaganza show has not been a smooth ride but a good challenge.
She says the show is intended to keep Africa's cultural spirit glowing with beauty queens as role models marketing their respective countries.
Cynthia says there is nothing an individual would be identified with other than culture.
"Culture is something unique. It gives us the true identity and there is nothing less than culture to identify me or someone else as a Zambian," says the reigning Miss Zambia 2003.
Cynthia with former Miss Zambia Elizabeth Mwanza
Cynthia says part of the proceeds from the show to be graced by First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa will go towards the maintainance of orphanages in Lusaka and Kabwe. She says the show should therefore be something Zambians should be proud of.
Cynthia believes that her passion for culture prompted her to organise the event and do something for vulnerable Zambian children.
"I have the passion for children and I want to work with them in relation to culture," she says.
Cynthia also acknowledges the support she has been receiving from the Zambian community and hopes more people will join her in making the event a success. She says the show would be an advantage to Zambia's tourism sector.
"The beauty queens coming from different parts of Africa will also have an opportunity to view the great Victoria Falls in Livingstone. It will be a tight programme," says Cynthia.
She hopes the idea will live on as Zambia's brainchild.
"This is a Zambian idea that we should embrace and make sure it stays on in our country for many more years to come," she emphasises.
Cynthia says although the show is expensive to organise, Zambia is capable of annually hosting such an event with the support of all stakeholders.
"Let no one take away this idea from us because it is something that us as Zambians have come up with and should be proud to live on with," she says.
Cynthia further says the 22 beauty queens expected in the country next week will be marketing their rich cultural heritage during their visit to Zambia.
She said first lady Maureen would also host the models for a luncheon at State House during their stay in Zambia.
Cynthia says the African beauty queens who were also at the Miss Malaika beauty pageant held in South Africa would be in Zambia for the non-competitive extravaganza cultural show.
She pays tribute to the sponsors working towards the success of the inaugural event. Cynthia hopes many other companies will come on board to support the noble cause.