13 contestants have been selected for the final of this year’s Mr. and Miss USIU-Africa-Africa beauty pageant. The contestants showcased their modeling skills and unique talents at a  ‘pre-judging’ event held on Thursday, November 2 in a packed and highly-energized auditorium.

The program started with an introductory walk by each of the contestants, to highlight their skill on the runway, followed by a ‘personality walk’ where each contestant expressed their unique style on the conventional runway walk. Contestants then paired up to perform a ‘couple walk’ and thereafter, each showcase their talents. In between the walks were performances by the dance club and some local musicians.

The panel of judges consisting of former Mr & Miss USIU-Africa 2016 Mr. Akintomide Akinyemi (IST, 17) Miss Kalpa Vrikshika (APT, ’17) and Miss Sheila Kanini selected finalist based on the contestants’ talents and their overall performance since the campaign began.

The ladies that secured their spot in the finale are Blessing Bakashaba (IR, Junior), Joycekayla Kiarie (IR, Sophomore), Mehreen Ahamed (Pharmacy, Sophomore), Mercy Onyango (Journalism Junior), Mercy Mwiti (IBA, Junior), Akual Chan (Criminal Justice Studies, Sophomore) Nelly Maina (Finance, Sophomore) and Eugenia Ignatius (IBA, Junior) . The gentlemen who qualified for the final are Aakash  Barot (APT, Junior), Faizal Ahmed (HRM, Freshman), Eric Ogwen (IR, Freshman), Caleb Prosper (IBA, Sophomore), Joseph Gordon (APT, Freshman), Adan Mohamed  (Accounting, Sophomore) and Denver Bagaka (IBA, Sophomore).

The talent showcase was won by Aakash  Barot (APT, Junior), Mercy Onyango (Journalism Junior), Mercy Mwiti (IBA, Junior), Eric Ogwen(IR Freshman), Joseph Gordon (APT, Freshman), Adan Mohamed (Accounting, Sophomore)  and Nelly Maina (Finance, Sophomore).

Kiambuthu Murugu (IR, Sophomore), one of the unsuccessful contestants was hopeful despite the disappointing showing, “I’m disappointed but I will keep looking out for more beauty pageant opportunities because this is what I love to do.”

This year the goal of the ‘pre-judging’ event is to raise funds for Al Taawon Education Center, a decrepit school located in the informal settlement of Korogocho, Nairobi. ­The Center lacks basic infrastructure for proper learning, a situation the pageant’s organizing committee is seeking to remedy by raising funds through the pageant. So far, they have raised a KES 100,000 – a far cry from their KES 4 million target. Despite this, the committee has high hopes of bridging this gap by securing the necessary sponsorships, coupled with high ticket sales before and during the pageant finale. The finale is scheduled for Thursday, November 23 at Nairobi’s newest mall - Two Rivers Shopping Mall, marking the end of the four-month-long campaign.