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Indian beauties to sizzle South Africa

Indian origin beauties from more than 20 countries will get a taste of SA for the Miss India Worldwide pageant next month.

fashion and trends Updated: Jan 23, 2008 11:51 IST

Indian origin beauties from more than 20 countries will get a taste of South Africa when they gather in Lenasia for the Miss India Worldwide pageant next month.

There is also a possibility that the weeklong pageant, which is now more than two decades old, may have Bollywood stars gracing the stage.

"The pageant will reach a climax with a glamorous function to crown the new Miss India Worldwide on Saturday, February 23," said Farook Khan, organiser of the pageant in South Africa.

"It will be during this stage of the pageant that the contestants will have to exhibit their proficiency in an Indian performing art, the heart of the competition, to impress the international panel of judges that will possibly include Bollywood stars," Khan told IANS.

South Africa's rich heritage and cultural diversity will be showcased to participants and guests from around the globe when the event is staged at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia, south of here.

With a potential worldwide audience of 300 million people, this event offers all South Africans a perfect stage to promote not only what this country has to offer from an economic and tourism perspective but also the strides the Rainbow Nation has made towards unity since reconciliation, said a spokesman for the organisers.

One of the highlights will be the glittering Africa Nite gala dinner to be held at the inauguration of the Trade Route Mall Convention Venue Feb 21. The venue was the idea of pioneering South African Indian businessmen Sayed Mia and Ismail Valli.

Nearly 1,000 guests are expected for this evening of music, fashion and prose that will capture the strong ties forged between the Indian and African communities during the apartheid years and beyond.

"A choir performing Bhajans (Hindu spiritual songs) will set the mood for this special evening," said Khan.

"And since the pageant serves as a platform for unifying the people of Indian origin scattered around the globe, it is only appropriate that homage is paid to the revered Mahatma Gandhi during the evening's proceedings.

"This will be done through a special dramatisation that will illustrate the influence his philosophy of satyagraha or passive resistance had on liberating disenfranchised, enslaved communities, not only in South Africa but in other parts of the world as well."

Two local actors will present the Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speeches of two great men - Chief Albert Luthuli and Martin Luther King, both believers in Gandhi's satyagraha who followed morally sound methods to lead an oppressed people to freedom.

This narrative will be followed by an exotic fashion show, coordinated by respected South African design guru Nivasha Beharie, in which the Miss India Worldwide contestants will model garments she has created by fusing Asian and African design styles. Beharie is expected to use African ethnic prints to create garments that epitomise the rich elegance and style that is the trademark of Indian fashion.

Apart from this special function, contestants and VIPs will also be treated to a variety of other events and outings during their stay. Trips have been planned to historical sites like Tolstoy Farm where Gandhi spent some time living a communal kibbutz existence before returning to India in 1914 to inspire a nation in its quest for freedom from British rule.