With the crowd at a packed Windhoek Country Club cheering her to victory and her family on hand as her biggest cheerleaders, Selma Kamanya emerged a clear favourite as she was crowned Miss Namibia 2018 on Saturday evening.
At only 21 years old, the economics student who loves chicken and listening to neo-soul music made the biggest impact at the country's national beauty pageant.
Her princesses are Kabuba Namukokoba, a Katima Mulilo-bred mining engineer, and Clarise van der Vyver, a micro-pigmentation specialist from Windhoek, who were crowned second and first princess respectively.
Wilri van Taak and Alexis van der Merwe made the top five with Van Taak earning the Miss Debutant title for her efforts in raising the most money for the pageant at its Winter Ball.
Namukokoba was awarded the general knowledge title while Van Der Vyver won the talent and public speaking awards. Tessia Mutwamezi from Rundu walked away with the public choice award and the award for Miss Photogenic went to Jo-Anne /Nanus.
While some faux pas like upside-down sashes, leafy bouquets and rather odd performances rendered comedic relief at the pageant, the atmosphere was tense as MC for the night Tshoopara 'Chops' Tshoopara read out the biggest announcements in dramatic fashion. Some of the biggest crowd favourites not making it to the top five added more tension with some members of the crowd and social media users being visibly upset by the turn of events.
Kamanya impressed with her beauty and poise and by the time she answered a tough question from one of the judges on building bridges that make a lasting impression in communities, it was clear that the crown was well in her reach. Speaking passionately about women empowerment and the importance of giving women a head start in order to enable them to in turn build their families and communities, she had the crowd in rapture.
This year's Miss Namibia pageant was as usual well attended with the who's who of local business, political and entertainment spheres coming out in their finest dress to support their favourite contestants.
Miss Namibia 2017 Sune January gracefully handed over the crown and officially relinquished her duties as Miss Namibia. She however expressed commitment to continue on her impassioned path of championing wildlife conservation, especially focusing on rhino conservation.
Other former Miss Namibia title holders in attendance included Miss Namibia 2010 Odile Gertze and Miss Namibia 2014 Brumhilda Ochs. Patron of the Miss Namibia pageant Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana was in attendance and as usual did the honours of handing over Miss Namibia's sash and crown.
Kamanya is very excited about her new role as Miss Namibia and if her earlier statements on what she wants to do with the title are anything to go by, she has a busy year ahead of her.
She plans on "making sure attention is paid to areas such as education through more allocation of donations to vocational training centres as well as free primary, secondary and tertiary education". In addition, she wants to focus on women empowerment and climate change.
"I plan to help women by encouraging education and providing them knowledge of the tools they need in order to make better lives for themselves," she said in a preliminary interview prior to her crowning.