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Africa | Burkina Faso
Society | Gender - Women

Preparations for "Miss Francophonie" in Burkina Faso

afrol News, 4 October - The summit of French speaking countries (the Francophonie) to be held in Burkina Faso in November will for the first time by accompanied by a pageant. Miss Francophonie is to be elected among representatives from 25 French speaking African countries - if they can make it. Some national pageants only have started searching for candidates.

In the end of November, Ouagadougou is hosting what usually is a glamorous event, the summit of the Francophonie. State leaders from half of Africa, France and some more countries will attend and give Burkinabe President Blaise Compaoré their compliments for a marvellous event. There will be few political results stemming from the costly event.

At the same time, Ouagadougou Mayor Simon Compaoré (not related to the President) will host an event that is bound to get an equal amount of attention; the first-ever Miss Francophonie beauty pageant. Mayor Compaoré has already been assured of the presence of several state leaders during the event, something that hopefully will not lower public interest in the pageant.

The Ouagadougou pageant is organised by the Canada-based international Association of Beauty Contests, and as such, the event is part of national and international pageants such as the Miss World and Miss AfriCAN events. The Montreal association will oversee the pageant, in cooperation with the Official Miss Burkina Faso Committee.

According to the organisers, "the election of Miss Francophonie 2004 benefits from the encouragement of the highest authorities in French speaking countries and the total support of Ouagadougou Mayor Simon Compaoré and his entire municipal council."

National beauties from 25 sub-Saharan and Maghreb countries have been invited to participate in the event. The girls will be invited to visit a large number of localities in Burkina Faso and participate in a safari prior to the event, in addition to get an ample international TV coverage when welcoming Francophonie state leaders to Ouagadougou, the organisers promise. The pageant would of course be broadcasted live in French speaking countries.

The event however seems to have been organised in the last minute and many of the countries invited to participate were left with little time to elect a national candidate. Some will not manage to elect their national Miss before the event and must send an ad-hoc candidate to the Burkina Faso beauty show.

The committee responsible for sending a girl from Burundi, for example, only today started its search for a national candidate for the event that is to take place in one and a half month. In an appeal sent out today, the committee urges Burundian beauties to register for the pageant.

The appeal also reveals the conditions for taking part in the event. The candidate must be "of Burundian nationality; taller than 1.70 metres, living in celibate and having no children; and be available between 7 and 21 November," according to the appeal.

While the Burundian committee only has one month to decide on the candidate representing the nation, contact problems even complicate the situation. Candidates are referred to contacts in Burkina Faso or France and urged to send their photos to a Parisian e-mail address. No information is given regarding who will pay the bills for going to the audition.

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