By Brenda Kaye
Miss AfriCanada being held at City Playhouse Theatre on Aug 24th 2013 in Toronto will showcase one of our very own, a passionate ambassador of positive change.
Vanessa Namazzi Kaye from Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, is one of the 10 contestants participating in this year’s pageant, one that is about a lot more than just beauty.
In an interview, the 22-year-old Vanessa said she was very excited to be showcasing Uganda’s rich culture, talent and beauty.
For the past 15 years, Miss AfriCanada has strived to empower young women and encouraged giving back to their communities (African & Canadian communities).
Every year we see amazing talents and great ideas on how to improve our nations on a variety of social, political and cultural issues including poverty reduction, value addition, children’s rights, women’s rights, HIV/AIDS, education etc.
One would not know Vanessa is new to the pageant world upon seeing her. However, she has come close, taking part in fashion shows in her high school, Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newmarket, as well as through university in cultural nights in Hamilton.
Having participated 3 years in a row in the McMaster African Students Association (MASA) cultural show – a night that showcases African culture annually, she has learnt the importance of togetherness, bringing awareness, and fundraising for disadvantaged communities. She desires nothing more than to be a part of the global family and contribute to make the world a better place.
“I’ve always had a passion to help students when it comes to the path of education especially post-secondary education and the transition to work life. In my high school we successfully got the first black history course in a predominantly white town (at the time)” she said in an interview.
This year, Vanessa’s platform is education. Education of our young children in order for them to adequately plan for their futures by determining their strengths, skills, capabilities so they are able to determine and plan their careers and overcome socio-economic barriers.
While in Uganda this is not a common practice (as parents tend to almost dictate what one takes in university), in Canada it is commonplace and is being taken even more seriously by our Ugandans abroad. “Better planning means less debt, less wasted time and higher life satisfaction in the future” she said when asked why she chose that as her platform.
Coming from Namugongo Girls Boarding Primary school and then Uganda Martyrs Secondary School Namugongo she was asked what she wanted to be in future.
“To please parents I usually said doctor, lawyer, businesswoman, etc and yet I did not know what I wanted to do. I did not even know what strengths I had as I had taken them for granted; not realizing that they could play into my career.
"But as I learnt more about myself, my interests, and how I could combine the two and get a career out of it, coupled with my love to help people, I decided that this was a perfect place to start and learn how to be an ambassador for social and developmental change. I would love nothing more than seeing our people achieve more and do it smarter.
“As a Goodwill Ambassador, I will work with the Career Exploration Club to raise awareness and funds towards helping youth in different communities to strategically plan and prepare their future” she mentions on her Facebook page.