Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba was named first runner-up in Saturday night’s Mrs Universe pageant in Durban, South Africa.
Gwen is a TV host, global entrepreneur and a human and women’s rights activist is one of 84 women that took to the stage for the Mrs Universe 2017 title.
The theme of Empowering Women, Creating Change featured prominently in every activity leading up to the Mrs Universe World Final.
For the first time in its history, the Mrs Universe contest took place on African soil. The glitzy event was staged in the coastal city of Durban.
Guests were treated to a feast of fashion, design and colour as contestants lit up the stage with their incredible traditional ethnic wear.
Costumes ranged from awe-inspiring to awesome, dazzling to daring, expansive and exhilarating to bold and barely-there, and dazzling to daring.
Guests were entertained by proudly Kwa-Zulu Natal performers including the C-Live dancers, the Champions Pantsula Dancers, performers from the Kumari Shiksha Dance Institute, Indlondlo Zulu Traditional Dancers and Dangerous Curves dancers. Vocalists, Samantha Landers, Bongekile Mabaso and Nokulunga Ntuli had feet tapping and heads bobbing.
The Mrs Universe pageant celebrates married women between the ages of 25 and 45 who are doing phenomenal work to uplift and enhance their local communities through CSI initiatives, business development and global trade opportunities.
43-year old Mrs Vietnam, Tram Hoang Luu, burst into tears when she received the coveted Mrs Universe crown. Mrs Gabon, Gwen Madiba was named first runner-up and Mrs Pakistan, Taiba Noorulian Sheheryar was second runner-up. Mrs France, Anastasia Gorshkova and Mrs India, Shaveta Athwal, rounded off the top five.
South Africa was represented by Durban wife and mum, Trisha Poona, who was placed in the top 25.
"Let tonight be the night that Africa celebrates its women and women empowerment,” says Tracey-Anne Aggett, the woman who was responsible for bringing Mrs Universe to Africa for the first time.
As Mrs Universe Hosting Director: Africa, Aggett had campaigned tirelessly to bring the activist-themed event to South Africa and to use it as a platform to draw attention to the global scourge of violence against women and children.
“We are extremely humbled by the support we’ve received to stage this event on African soil for the first time. Each of the contestants here tonight is a winner – for overcoming incredible odds to succeed and for making meaningful contributions to their respective communities to bring about positive change.”