Washington, D.C. — Racines Heritage Foundation (RHF) announced its winners of the first annual Little Malaika International Boys & Girls Cultural Pageant. Two children both aged 9, and who representing Cameroon in the competition, took the title of Prince and Princess Malaika. Dylan Haaland was named Prince Malaika while Nicole Chelsea Badobre was named Princess Malaika.
Children ages 6 to 10, who represented the countries of Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal were judges for personal introduction, talent and traditional wear. The contestants displayed a wealth of knowledge, talent and extreme confidence. Many of them were presented awards in other categories: Photogenic (Boys): Pierre Hayford, 8, Ghana; Photogenic (Girls): Lexy-Anne Aka, 6, Cote d’Ivoire; Awesome Cultural Knowledge, Usman Mustapha, 9, Nigeria; Best Talent, Dyson Haaland, 6, Cameroon; Best Formal Wear, Oceanie Badobre, 6, Cameroon; Best Costume, Ahmed Mustapha, 7, Nigeria; Little Malaika Boys Ambassador, Salif Mansour Sow, 9, Senegal; and Little Malaika Girls Ambassador, Danae Jackson, 7, Liberia.
Linord Moudou, President of Racines Heritage and creator of Little Malaika International said, “This was such an exciting evening. The kids knew so much about their tradition, culture, food and dance it was amazing just to watch them. “We were able to bring families together to promote multi-cultural exchange among the diverse communities, but most importantly, we set out to foster and encourage positive self- confidence, competitiveness and leadership in these children, and I believe we achieved that.”
ARIK Air, West Africa’s largest commercial airline and official sponsor of the event, donated two round trip tickets that were auctioned to raise funds and resources to help provide scholarships and logistical support for girl’s education and special education for children with Autism in Africa. Kobina Brew-Hammond, Account Manager, U.S. Sales & Marketing of ARIK Air International, was on hand to present Miss Malaika and the tickets to the winner of the silent auction.
Other highlights of the event featured special performances by Eileen, violinist member of MCYO Symphony Orchestra and RHF Global Ambassador for Girl’s Education; Radha Dutta (India) owner of Kalalayam Dance Academy and traditional Hula dancer, Mokihana (Hawaii).
The event was hosted by Nunu Wako, host of the Nunu Wako Show and Jackson Mvunganyi, host of Voice of America’s Up Front. The judges were led by Brigitte Kobenan, Founder, Autism Community of Africa & Mrs. Congeniality World 2008, who also partnered with RACINES Heritage on this event.
SPONSORS: Allstar, ARIK Air, Autism Community of Africa, Comcast, Steve Canning, Estella Couture, Liram Global Communications, RACINES Heritage Foundation, UNESCO Center for Peace, Face 2Face Africa, Ladybrille Magazine, Trendy Africa, Princess Communications, Loide Rosa Jorge, Afrique en Jeux, Jeaniks Couture, TVA Media Productions and The Viking Center.