Miss Africa USA 2008: Contestant Busi Mlambo from Zimbabwe
I love to talk about the greatness of our continent and part of our duty in the Diaspora is to do what we can to make Africa even better.
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First published: July 4, 2008
What makes you stand out as the best representative for your country?
I believe that I embody well the spirit of the Miss Africa USA pageant. I have attained my educational goals and, in a few months, I will have realized a dream that I have had since I was six years old- that of being an attorney and advocating for global justice and human rights. I have also dedicated my time to volunteering for refugee services through which I mentor and tutor other African women. I am passionate about education and making it accessible for African girls in Africa and those studying in America. I know that a good education is a strong foundation through which they can be independent, self-sufficient and can realize their dreams. They can be truly empowered!
Having accomplished my academic goals, I can devote my time to my career which will involve the promotion and protection of women's rights in the neediest parts of the world. This will go hand-in-hand with the work that I would do if given the honor of the Miss Africa USA title. One of my most important goals is to create a scholarship fund for African girls and women. I would like to serve as an example that African women can fulfill their aspirations however lofty they may seem. I have been blessed with loving family and friends who have supported and encouraged me and I want to continue, on a much larger scale, to provide the same for those African women who are not so fortunate. It is my life's purpose. Because of my successes in scholarship and because of the work that I have already done, and will continue to do, in helping to empower African women, I think that I can be a delegate of whom Zimbabweans can feel proud and who they will confidently support in the endeavor to be Miss Africa USA 2008.
Who is your role model and why?
My mother! She is the epitome of the strong, beautiful, intelligent African woman who is often romanticized. She has maintained a successful career, while looking after a family of six, being actively involved in the community and having several hobbies. She has always put her children first and continues to make sacrifices for the sake of me and my siblings. A few years ago she accepted a job in England and moved from her life in Zimbabwe so that she could more easily help us while we were all studying in America. She worked very hard, often taking no days off during the week and despite being sometimes afflicted with ill health. She always has us in mind and I often wish she would think of herself first. She is a loyal and loving friend and has the most effervescent personality! We have not been the perfect children but she is always patient with us and loves us unconditionally. She is a compassionate woman with a big heart full of love. She inspires me every day and keeps me determined to be successful in every aspect of my life. She deserves only the best and, when I reflect on everything she is and what she has done, I know that I can do ANYTHING and my determination persists! I love you, Mummy!!!
What kind of books do you enjoy reading and why?
I love historical fiction. It's entertaining as well as educational. I can read for pleasure while having a history lesson at the same time. I love the fact that it allows you to learn about the past through a point of view that has not been recorded in the history books that are usually assigned in schools. I have been able to learn more about my own African heritage through the experiences of Africans themselves and I am often surprised at what we were not taught in school about our own people. The touch of fiction makes these books more enjoyable while still capturing the true essence of the times in which the stories are set.
What is the role of Africans in Diaspora in the future of Africa?
Living in the Diaspora means that we are ambassadors of our countries and continent whether or not we like it. I happily carry this obligation and I am always excited about the opportunity to tell people about where I come from and to dispel any misconceptions about Africa. I have realized that in certain ways Africa is still regarded as "the Dark Continent" because many people just don't know much about it. Since moving to the U.S, I have met several people who have never met a Zimbabwean or who never knew that the country existed! Sometimes I am the only African with whom they have ever had a real conversation. I make sure to be an example and portray Africa in the most positive light. They are pleasantly surprised about our similarities and curious about our differences.
I love to talk about the greatness of our continent and part of our duty in the Diaspora is to do what we can to make Africa even better. There are many things to be proud of- our colorful people, our diverse cultures, the beauty of our landscape and our abundant resources- but there are also many things that we can improve upon. The one distinctive thing about African people as a whole is our strong sense of community and I think it is important to hold onto that and help each other wherever and however we can and to always maintain a strong bond amongst us, wherever in the world we are.
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First published: July 4, 2008