I felt an arm around my waist and spun around ready to pounce. I didnâ€™t pounce. But my heart did. Wâ€™umoja? My heart screamed silently. He grinned back as if to say: â€œNot to worry darling. My boxing gloves are off todayâ€. I smiled back, still a bit uncertain (You can never be too sure with Charterhouse you know. Wink) â€œSo are we going to Frankieâ€™s laterâ€? I ask coyly. â€œSureâ€, he replied reassuringly.
Nii Ayite Hammond led us to the foyer at the Alisa Hotel, Roman Ridge. It had been transformed into the Miss Malaika set. I was impressed. I admired the set and eyed the comfy sofa on which the judges sat enviously. Quite strangely, my heels seemed to be suddenly growing higher and higher. The second round of auditioning for the Miss Malaika search was starting in five minutes. I looked on as Nii, Naa Ashorkor & George deliberated on last minute amendments.
â€œReadyâ€? George shouted across the room. â€œTest. 1.2.3...readyâ€. For once I had to give it up for the Charterhouse crew for attention to detail. I watched as Aboagye walked in with a lovely unassuming young lady. Her name? Aisha Mohammed, she mumbled shyly. Sheâ€™s an engineering student. After a short conversation with the judges, sheâ€™s given an envelope. I follow her out to see if itâ€™s a â€˜Yesâ€™ or â€˜Noâ€™. She opens the envelope. Itâ€™s a congratulatory message! I canâ€™t help but smile as she jumps around excitedly.
Over four hundred hopefuls, all heights, shapes and sizes, turned up for the Miss Malaika auditions for the southern half on Saturday. Some, strikingly beautiful. About one hundred of them qualified for the second round. It was interesting to watch these girls as they dabbed away at their faces and touched their lipstick. Some had already made friends and were happily chatting away. I checked my image in the mirror and couldnâ€™t help but stand up straight and tuck my tummy in till I could hardly breathe. I made a mental note that staying away from pizza might not be such a bad idea after all. Sigh.
Iâ€™m drawn back to the set and watch on sadly as a Liberian girl is disqualified. Sheâ€™s actually half Ghanaian but going strictly according to the rules of the competition, she canâ€™t participate. I can sense her disappointment as she walks off the set, tears welling up in her eyes. It certainly would take a lot of guts to judge all these lovely ladies who walk in with such bright hopeful faces.
â€œHow do you do?â€: he asks. â€œI do fineâ€: She answers. I cringe and shake my head sadly. I can tell sheâ€™s probably going to be rejected. Sorry. Congrats. Congrats. Sorry. Sorry. Congrats....and on and on as they walk in and out. â€Yaaayâ€ we exclaim, relieved, as this girl finally replies: â€œHow do you do too?â€.
Suddenly thereâ€™s a loud scream. â€œGOOOAAAALLLâ€. We rush off the set to watch the replay. Itâ€™s a world cup friendly between Ghana and Latvia. Mtseew. Itâ€™s a false alert. I smile to myself unbelievably as we walk back on stage. Passion for football. I have high hopes for this SA trip.
Next walks in Miss Abeka. A strikingly attractive young woman who talks beautifully. Now thatâ€™s more like it, I say to myself. Sheâ€™s about 5â€™6. Maybe a size 12. A refreshing differentiation to the size zeros I have seen today. I like her instantly. As she walks off the set, I canâ€™t help but wonder how itâ€™ll feel like to be a beauty queen...to receive all those niceties for your beauty.
I await the final line up impatiently. This is going to be an intriguingly aggressive contest.