Groomed after a week of training from Indian designer-choreographer Kedar Gawde, chemical engineer Verushka Chetty was crowned as 'Miss Pride of India' while Jatil Nana, a final year Management student became 'Mr Pride of India' 2009.
Chetty and Nana were chosen as winners from 19 finalists who came from different parts of South Africa. The participants sashayed in clothes by leading local designers, sang, danced and even presented sketches to showcase their talent. They also had to answer questions from a panel of celebrity judges to prove their merit.
The concept of 'Pride of India' contest was the brainchild of a local choreographer Stewart Stevens and his businessman friend Kacey Padayachee and was conceived two years ago.
An all-African troupe from the Anavarata Dance Institute run by renowned danseuse Anusia Govender performed traditional Indian dances, including a bhangra in traditional Sikh outfits and sporting false beards to the delight of the audience.
The two winners will now head for India and Mauritius as part of their prize package, with a chance of grabbing plum-modelling contracts as well.
Kedar announced that a finalist, Milan Madhav, an honours student in Human Comparative Anatomy, would get to walk the ramp in his creations as the new face of 2009.