Stellah Nantumbwe is the fairest lady in the land. Eloquence, beauty, brilliance and confidence saw the 22-year-old win the tightly contested race to become Miss Uganda 2013/14. She is a business computing graduate from Greenwich University in the UK.
She also won the Miss Popularity crown, having been chosen by her fellow contestants during the camp at Ndere Centre.
Even if she was one of the crowd favourites, the mounting pressure as the top 10 and later on the top five were chosen left her unsure.
When the beauty pageant director, Brenda Nanyonjo read out her name, the beauty queen closed her eyes, took a deep sigh and said a short prayer, before humbly stepping forward.
First, she received her dummy cheque of Shs18m from Nile Breweries’ Managing Director, Nick Jenkinson. “This is your sponsorship for a year from us,” Jenkinson said as he congratulated Nantumbwe who qualified for the finals after winning one of the regional contests in Masaka. She will receive the money in monthly stipends of Shs1.5m during her reign.
Flanked by first runner-up Anita Kyarimpa and second runner-up Sandra Amongin, Nantumbwe graciously took her seat as the press, armed with their digital cameras, clicked away. Kyarimpa received Shs12m while Amongin received a cash prize of Shs6m from sponsors Nile Breweries, whose brand Redd’s was the pageant’s sponsor.
Nantumbwe stood out for her ability to offer convincing responses to the judges who asked her what she would do for women, saying she would bring maternal healthcare services closer to them, particularly those affected by HIV/Aids.
Earlier on, the representative of the judges Nelson Tugume Owaarwe indicated that they considered everyone a winner. “All of you are beautiful with brains,” he encouraged all contestants before passing on the judges results to Nanyonjo, and emcees Sanyu FM’s Crystal Newman Kavulu and Agaba Tumusiime aka Gabs.
In between revellers who filled Kampala Serena Hotel were treated to jokes by Alex Muhangi alias Aleku and musical interludes by MoRoots (Maureen Rutabingwa), Lillian Mbabazi and Grace Nakimera who put up a colourful performance with a dance troupe dressed in colours of the Uganda flag.
It is now three years since Brenda Nanyonjo and her brother Kevin Zziwa took over the Miss Uganda franchise under their Kezzi Entertainment.
“I would like to thank the parents of these beautiful girls for letting them take part in this pageant,” Nanyonjo said in her speech. The queen mother of Tooro Kingdom, queen mother Best Kemigisa was the chief guest and thanked the organisers for uplifting women and celebrating beauty with purpose, which is the slogan of Miss Uganda.
Outgoing Miss Uganda Fiona Bizzu had a message for the incoming Miss Uganda. “Remain humble and be ready to get your hands soiled because being Miss Uganda is not about gracing occasions but serving Uganda selflessly.”