African Student Union crowns 2022 Miss Africa in annual pageant

African Student Union crowns 2022 Miss Africa in pageant

Founded in 2019, the annual celebration seeks to celebrate African women and culture.
Published: April 3, 2022
Miss Senegal, Mané Thiane dancing for the talent round of Miss Africa Pageant in Syracuse University, NY on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)
Miss Senegal, Mané Thiane dancing for the talent round of Miss Africa Pageant at Syracuse University on Thursday, March 31, 2022.

On Thursday, March 31, SU’s African Student Union crowned the queen in its 2022 Miss Africa pageant, filled with performances from SU and non-SU students.

The pageant, which began in 2019, was held in Goldstein Auditorium and was open to SU and non-SU students. ASU president Whitney Sossou says that the event was to celebrate the continent of Africa, especially the women.

“The purpose of this event is to celebrate the women of Africa…, being African, celebrate the countries, elect a queen for a year. So it’s a nice occasion to gather together and have some fun,” Sossou said.

The celebration included three contestants representing their respective countries. Khadidiatou Faye and Mané Thiane represented Senegal, and Mariama Barry represented Guinea. 2022 Miss Africa Khadidiatou Faye said that she was glad she chose to step outside her comfort zone by participating.

“I wanted to participate because I love showcasing my talents. And I felt like it was a way for me to get out of my comfort zone. And I’m really glad I did it,” Faye said.

To be crowned this year’s queen, Faye, along with her fellow contestants, went through four rounds judged by SU staff, Christabel Sheldon, and SU alumni Nneka Akukwe, Chinelo Onyekwere, who also held positions on ASU’s executive board during their time at SU.

The judges used the four rounds that included introductions, career, talent, and a Q&A portion to get more insights into the contestants’ goals and perspectives on Africa and the world. All four rounds were filled with interactions with the audience.

2022 Miss Africa Khadidiatou Faye during talent round of pageant, on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)

2022 Miss Africa Khadidiatou Faye during the talent round of pageant.

Outlaws performing at Miss Africa Pageant in Syracuse University, NY on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)

Outlaws performing at Miss Africa Pageant.

The career section highlighted how the contestants planned on using their skills and knowledge from their passions, courses, and majors to help their communities. All three contestants used props, skits, and even audience interactions to show how they wanted to make their mark on the world after their time at SU.

The contestants filled the talent portion with captivating moments that gave the judges and the audience a more personal look into the passions of the contestants. All three talents vary from designing clothing to a dance performance to the winner, Faye’s message about her experience and journey as a Black woman, a statement the audience approved of with cheers and applause.

The Q&A section was where the contestants were able to give their perspectives on various topics regarding how pageants are viewed in society, their personal journeys, and the challenges facing today’s generation.

SU hip-hop dance troupe Outlaws performed, as well SU students Shakira Santos and Ajak Afet who sang a compilation of covers of popular songs. The event also drew the attention of Morgan State University’s dance group L’Union d’Afrique, who offered to perform for free.

The pageant ended with a performance by saxophonist Connell Thompson. Thompson, who has gone on tour with known artists like Fireboy DML, performed various popular afrobeat songs from Wizkid and Burna Boy, to name a few.

According to Nneka Akukwe, judge and former ASU president, the pageant is another example of how ASU tries to create a safe community for the SU campus.

“The event really does a great job at connecting different people within different communities. And then also just giving them a safe space to express themselves,” said judge and former ASU president Nneka Akukwe.

Mané Thiane, Khadidiatou Faye, and Mariama Barry during the Q&A round of the pageant on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)
Saxophonist Connell Thompson performing at Miss Africa Pageant in Syracuse University, NY on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)
Miss Senegal, Mané Thiane during the career round of Miss Africa Pageant in Syracuse University, NY on Thursday March 31, 2022. (Photo by Toluwanimi Fajolu)
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is a junior majoring in political science and magazine and a contributor for The NewsHouse.