Agbani Darego: First Native African to Win Miss World Title Remembered!

In November, 16th 2001, Miss Agbani Darego, an 18-year-old Nigerian computer science student became the first Black African to win  Miss World pageant held  in Sun City, South Africa. She was chosen from 93 contestants from all over the world.

According to reports, she had promoted herself as wanting to be a computer scientist as well as a super model. Runners up were Zerelda Lee (Miss Aruba) and Juilet Horne (Miss Scotland).

The event was hosted by U.S. TV talk show personality Jerry Springer, and was beamed to a projected global television audience of 1.2 billion people.

The beauty gala was held in Sun City, at South Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure, a luxury resort of casinos and wild animals. Darego won a total cash prize of $100,000, plus gifts valued at $150,000. She was quoted with this statement “Black is beautiful”, moments before being crowned.

Directed to email addresses and local telephone numbers, TV viewers for the first time took part in the voting. Emails were for questions to contestants, the phone for registering votes. Pageant organizers refused to disclose the weight of the votes of viewers.

Miss Agbani Darego hails from Rivers State in Nigeria. She was congratulated by the then governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Peter Odili on her great achievement. Governor Odili called her achievement “an expression of the natural endowment of the people of Rivers State and noble qualities of Nigerian womanhood.” He went further that the historic feat was “symbolic of the spirit of the new Nigerian nation and renaissance of our cultural values.”

SOURCE: X/African archives

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