A showcase of Cultural Heritage as Akinwale Oluwabukunmi Emerges Queen Moremi Ajasoro 2021
By Yemisi Suleiman
It was a night of glory for 21-year-old Akinwale Grace Oluwabukunmi, who moved from obscurity to fame as she beat 14 others to emerge as the new Queen Moremi Ajasoro, 2021.
Held last Sunday, December 5th, at Ile- Ife, the event brought together foreign and local dignitaries, including royal fathers who converged on the ancient city, proudly referred to as the cradle of civilization, to witness the crowning of a new Queen.
Now its 5th year, the contest initiated by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, is aimed at promoting the Yoruba culture and tradition to prevent it from extinction.
According to the Queen Moremi Global Ambassador, and founder of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria and London, it is also a way of institutionalising the legacy of the legendary queen Moremi. “Everybody knows what she did and how she gave up herself for sacrifice. People know how selfless she was, so we are trying to instill that into young women of today. We want her story to be impactful, so whoever emerges as a queen, which has happened over the years, has to have an impact on what they do. They need to live their trademark within the community and outside the community as well.” Princess Ronke Ademiluyi noted while delivering her speech.
The grand finale of the contest held at the Ojaja Arena of the Ife Grand Resort saw 15 finalists out of about 100 contestants, previously screened out, slugged it out on the catwalk in outfits created by Nigerian designers, at the Adire Oodu textile hub. It was a showcase of fashion and cultural heritage as contestants came out in turns introducing themselves in Yoruba language while paying homage to the Ooni of Ife.
The aspiring queens were judged on their catwalk skill, carriage, traditional fluency, and intelligence. In the end, judges for the night made up of veteran Nollywood actress Jaiye Kuti and actor-producer Jude Chukwuemeka amongst others, narrowed the contestants to five finalists, with Grace Oluwabukunmi Akinwale a 400 level Psychology student from the Obafemi Awolowo University eventually clinching the coveted crown.
An excited Queen Oluwabukunmi carted home a branded Toyota Camry car and a cash gift of One million naira, while the 1st runner up won N750,000 Naira, the 2nd runner up N500,000 Naira and the Miss Amity also went home with a cash gift of N500,000.
Laced with a lot of side attractions, the night was one of fun and entertainment as guests were thrilled with lots of music and cultural performances. A major highlight of the show was the dance competition by the academia in attendance, as some erudite professors from the famous ‘Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife’, Osun State showcased their dance skills to the loud ovation and admiration of the audience, with the winner selected by the students themselves.
The dance competition, according to Oba Ogunwusi was initiated to bridge the gap between culture and learning, while also recognising and appreciating those in academia.
This year’s contest which was merged with the annual Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) in collaboration with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation NTDC, featured a showcase of amazing collection by leading Nigerian designers, including Ade Bakare, Ejiro Amos-Tafiri, Sister by Eyoro, and others, who thrilled the audience with outstanding collections, all made with the local adire fabric from the Adire Oodua Textile hub.
The AFWN also showcased the creative talents of young indigenous fashion designers from Ile-Ife, and students from the Oodua Textile Hub who sent models down the runway in impressive collections to the admiration and applause of the audience.
Amongst dignitaries at the event were the wife of former governor of Ogun State Olufunsho Amosun, Director General of the NTDC Chief Folarin Coker who sent a representative, a bevy of royal fathers, including the 55th Alara of Ilara Kingdom in Lagos State, Kabiyesi “Oba Olufolarin Olukayode Ogunsanwo, Telade IV” and many others too numerous to mention.