So, on Tuesday, 5th January 2019, the State Minister for Tourism, Mr. Kiwanda Godfrey, launched a "Miss Curvy" pageant to promote Uganda as a tourist destination. At the launch of the event the tourism minister said, "We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?" "If you see a Munyankole woman with curves, there is a story behind that...It will be a beautiful event where young women will showcase their beautiful curves and intellect. Our beauty is not about slimy girls only."
A statement posted on the event website reads:
"Uganda is dubbed as being gifted by nature. This is not only exhibited by the abundance of natural resources, but it also extends to the people of Uganda. For the first time in Uganda, women who are proud of the way they look have a reason to smile as a new beauty pageant which celebrates true African beauty has come into existence. Dubbed “Miss Curvy Uganda”, the event organized to recognize and acknowledge the big, bold and beautiful plus size Ugandan ladies. This pageant aims to enhance the visibility and appreciation of curvaceous ladies as they walk the runway. Miss Curvy is an event that will bring out the endowment of the real African woman. It's set to take place this year in Kampala. it will be an exceptional event that will see young ladies showcase their beautiful curves and intellect.
This exciting contest has been created to banish the "Beauty is size zero" idea and attract healthy ladies who are proud of the way they look and also to celebrate natural curves which come along with living healthy and as such, Miss Curvy will promote a healthy attitude to body image. Miss Curvy seeks to celebrate true African beauty through celebrating a uniquely built figure. Most pageants celebrate slenderness and pretty faces, which is a more Western way of looking at beauty. Most African women are uniquely built but that does not make them any less attractive, so Miss Curvy Uganda honors uniquely built African women."
However, the launch of the event has since been criticized by Women Rights Activists, and the social media has been agog with commentaries tongue lashing the Ugandan tourism minister. Some critics have even called for the Minister's sack or resignation. Nevertheless, there has been no follow-up comment by the minister after the event launch.
As at the time of publishing this report, the Miss Curvy Uganda pageant website is still live and accepting registration from interested Ugandan curvy models. More so, as the project is daily gaining increased global attention.
Undoubtedly, most African women are big and curvy, this bold destination branding effort by the Ugandan Tourism Minister appears to be objectifying women and treating them as sex-symbols. Conversely, the sheer notoriety and international brouhaha heralding the Miss Curvy event launch has certainly put Uganda on the world tourism map of sex tourism destinations!
Reports indicate that the final winner of the "Miss Curvy Uganda" would be announced and crowned later in June 2019.