Postgraduate Diploma student in Dietetics in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences Ms Joan Akob is participating in the Miss Cameroon South Africa pageant, demonstrating her strong sense of national pride, patriotism and appreciation for her home country of Cameroon.
The pageant, initiated in 2015 by Tswelopele Rural Community Outreach, aims to promote, celebrate, educate and seek global advancement, cultural exchange and social cohesion in South Africa in the aftermath of xenophobic attacks in the country.
Two winners are crowned: Miss Cameroon South Africa - a Cameroon citizen living in South Africa, and Miss South Africa Cameroon - a South African motivated by promoting social cohesion and unity.
After the crowning ceremony on 30 September, the winner of the Miss South Africa Cameroon contest will become a finalist in the Miss Cameroon 2017 pageant, and together with Miss South Africa Cameroon will travel to Cameroon as a VIP queen in the Miss Cameroon competition, thus strengthening SA-Cameroon relations.
Akob believes the event will spark dialogue among Cameroon citizens in South Africa in connection with culture, their nation and how they can use their skills to make a difference in communities in both countries.
Akob has lived in South Africa for nine years after moving with her parents and two sisters from the country of her birth.
Having enjoyed watching pageants as a child, Akob decided to enter the pageant to display her confidence, intelligence and eloquence, and now hopes it will accelerate her growth as a leader, role model and ambassador.
She is currently completing her food service internship as part of her studies.
‘What we eat impacts greatly on our health. In addition, following the correct diet can control and even heal lifestyle conditions,’ said Akob. ‘Diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease and strokes are among the top 10 causes of death in Cameroon. These are all conditions which can be treated, prevented or controlled with the right nutrition.’
‘I intend to give back to my nation, Africa and if possible, the wider world through the knowledge I have gained,’ said Akob.
Akob says her Christian faith and values are a constant inspiration, and her family’s successes spur her on.
In June, her sister, Elma, attended the Global Young leaders Conference (GYLC) in Washington becoming the first Black woman to be appointed Chair of the organisation, while Faith is lecturing and running the NAWA in Cameroon.