"I must commend Abenakyo's parents for raising her with values," says President Museveni as he hosts the newly crowned Miss World Africa.
QUIIN ABENAKYO'S HOMECOMING
By Joseph Kizza
ENTEBBE - Rising a little over six feet, President Yoweri Museveni towers over the average Ugandan. But even he, too, has acknowledged that the new African beauty queen, Quiin Abenakyo, has quite some height - matched with beauty at that.
"Abenakyo is indeed a tall, beautiful Musoga girl," he said.
But more significantly, the head-of-state praised the newly crowned Miss World Africa's commitment to education, saying she is a "true definition of beauty coupled with brains".
The 22-year-old, who is back home after being away engaged in the weeks-long Miss World 2018 contest in China, studied business computing at university.
In China's coastal city Sanya, where she was tucked away along with 117 other beauty contestants for this year's edition, Abenakyo revealed her desire to pursue a Masters degree in Business Computing.
Her ambitions and achievements so far are certainly a source of inspiration to many youths in Uganda, on the continent and far beyond.
And when she was hosted by the President on Wednesday evening, hours after returning to Uganda aboard an Emirates business-class flight, Abenakyo told him she is "an advocate of responsible living among young people".
The beauty queen of Africa paid a courtesy call on the President of Uganda on Wednesday
"She is specifically focusing on helping young girls lead responsible, healthy lifestyles," said Museveni after their meeting at State House, Entebbe.
In fact, Abenakyo's Beauty With a Purpose project, which she presented at the Miss World 2018 competition, centred on tackling teenage pregnancies. It was this cause, coupled with her admirable execution, that catapulted her into the Top 30.
"I believe when you educate a girl child, you are educating the entire community," she said then.
Meanwhile, a sizeable delegation of government officials, family, friends and Abenakyo's chaperone and Miss Uganda Foundation chief executive Brenda Nanyojo accompanied her to meet the President.
That was a few hours after returning home to a warm, honourable reception at Entebbe International Airport.
It was a deserved homecoming for the Mayuge-born Abenakyo, who defied many odds to become Uganda's first ever Top 5 finisher and continental crown winner at the Miss World contest.
"I congratulate our muzukulu on these accolades and also salute her for recently completing her university degree course. She is a true definition of beauty coupled with brains," said President Museveni.
Miss Uganda Foundation gets nod
To soar above the other 113 contestants and perch at the lofty Top 5 table, Abenakyo, who was crowned Miss Uganda 2018/19 in August, first reigned supreme over Argentina's Victoria Soto in Round Two of the Head-to-Head challenge to confirm her place in the Top 30.
She was the first Ugandan to make this list.
From then on, it was a fairytale rise to the top for the Ugandan representative, who emerged as second runner-up in the Miss World Global Vote - thanks to a committed drive by Ugandans to vote for her.
"I must commend Abenakyo's parents for raising her with values. Many young people today rush into promiscuity and ruin their lives, yet a little patience and completing school would give them a foundation on which to enjoy the rest of their lives with their spouses," said Museveni.
"Again, I congratulate Muzukulu Abenakyo on this feat. Going forward, the government will support the Miss Uganda Foundation."
The Miss World 2018 Top 5, from left: Miss Thailand, Miss Uganda, Miss Mexico (winner), Miss Jamaica and Miss Belarus
Earlier in the day at the airport, tourism state minister Godfrey Kiwanda said Abenakyo is a source of "real joy" for Ugandans and "we are here to receive you with joy and happiness".
"I remember at every moment, she would say 'I am doing this for my country Uganda'. We wish you all the best in your new-found levels of importance," he said.
"We are here to receive you on behalf of Uganda."
The minister also lauded the Ugandan press for extensively covering their beauty queen.
"Thank you media. You have given our daughter huge publicity."
Kiwanda also thanked Abenakyo's parents for "taking care of Quiin".
President Museveni and Abenakyo flanked by ministers (from left) Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi and Sarah Opendi and (from right) Daudi Migereko (former), Godfrey Kiwanda and Ephraim Kamuntu at State House, Entebbe
A large convoy led by a team from Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) snaked its way to the airport to welcome back Abenakyo.
The plane she was on touched down at Entebbe International Airport at 1:35pm local time. And after checking out, the beauty queen was overjoyed and struggled to contain her emotion.
Even with the fame that she carried back home from her long flight from China, Abenakyo maintained a presence of pearly humility. An epitome of royalty.
"I am very humbled - I don't have the right words to express this," she said at a brief welcome ceremony in the VIP lounge at Entebbe. She wore a blue dress - and of course her tiara.
"Thank you for the love and support. The love is so overwhelming and I am forever grateful."
Nanyonjo, with whom she had travelled, sat calmly by her side. A flower bouquet in her hands, she, too, was grateful for the support.
"Thank you for receiving us in such honour and for supporting us."
Meanwhile, today (Thursday), there will be an official media conference at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala at 10am local time, followed by a grand welcome party for the reigning Miss World Africa at the same hotel.
I must commend Abenakyo's parents for raising her with values. Many young people today rush into promiscuity and ruin their lives, yet a little patience and completing school would give them a foundation on which to enjoy the rest of their lives with their spouses. pic.twitter.com/KCOcfpNFl1— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) December 19, 2018