Namibian Beauty Scoops Face of Africa

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By Petronella Sibeene Windhoek Through Venantia Otto, 18, Namibia has won the Face of Africa title for the second time since the beauty competition started six years ago. During the weekend, the Namibian-born and bred beauty became a familiar face on catwalks across the continent when she was named Nokia Face of Africa 2006 at the Sun City Superbowl in Johannesburg. Venantia, who is expected to return home during the coming weekend, takes the crown away from last year’s winner Kaone Kario from Botswana. Otto was among the ten finalists with Kea Basima from Botswana, Sandra Bigirimana (Burundi), Mirash Davis (Ghana), Catherine Hemans Yankey (Ghana), Andenyi Anjalo (Kenya), Ishioma Onyebo (Nigeria), Melody Zulu (South Africa), Mulenga Mubanga (Zambia) and Munira Namakula (Uganda). The hottest Namibian model earned herself a life-changing US$150 000 prize contract courtesy of the global modelling powerhouse, and, in addition to her modelling contract, she won prizes from Nokia, AngloPlatinum, Sun International, EVERLAST, L’Oreal, Carlton Hair, Europa Art, Magents and Sun Goddess. She is expected to take New York by storm when she begins her tenure with one of the world’s biggest and boldest agencies. Commenting on last Sunday’s event, M-NET Chief Executive Officer Glen Marques said; “Ten young women took to the catwalk tonight and illustrated both their own and M-Net’s future – bold, focused and determined. We applaud them for their initiative and their courage in taking their aspirations and making them reality.” Nokia’s Marketing Specialist for South and East Africa Lindiwe Magida congratulated the young Namibian model and said; “We are very proud of Venantia and the other nine finalists – they performed spectacularly tonight and through their style and grace on the catwalk, they epitomized what Nokia’s L’Amour collection of handsets are all about, infusing cultural and ethnic influences to inspire the imagination”. Otto was selected as Namibia’s semi-finalist to contest the prestigious Face of Africa beauty pageant four months ago. She joined other semi-finalists from 11 sub-Saharan countries. The semi-finalists travelled to Botswana and Cape Town for rigorous ‘boot camp’ selection sessions where she ‘conquered’ by elimination and proved her talent. This is the sixth year that the Face of Africa project is running. Starting in 1998, the project ran for four years before suffering a short hiatus. Last year, M-Net and Nokia partnered and the project returned as the Nokia Face of Africa 2005. Previous winners of the title include Oluchi Onweagba (Nigeria), Benvinda Mudenge (Namibia), Nombulelo Mazibuko (South Africa) and Ramatoulaye Diallo (Senegal). The Nokia Face of Africa 2006 event was seen in over 40 African countries. The contestants return to their countries this week.