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Angola crowns Miss Landmine

http://www.miss-landmine.org Dignity, a restored sense of beauty, and the spotlight on a serious issue: The goals for Angola’s Miss Landmine pageant brought together 18 contestants, all land mine survivors, representing the southwest African nation’s provinces. On a television special Wednesday night, the ladies posed in gowns and swimsuits — and their artificial limbs.  The winner, ...

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Dignity, a restored sense of beauty, and the spotlight on a serious issue: The goals for Angola’s Miss Landmine pageant brought together 18 contestants, all land mine survivors, representing the southwest African nation’s provinces. On a television special Wednesday night, the ladies posed in gowns and swimsuits — and their artificial limbs.  The winner, Augusta Urica, was presented $2,500 USD by Angola’s First Lady Ana Paola dos Santos, and will receive a customized artificial limb. You can see some of the contestants’ profiles at the event’s Web site. (Pictured above is Cuanza Sul, one of the runners-up.)

Each year, between three and four-hundred people are maimed by mines in Angola — remnants of a 27-year civil war that ended six years ago. Even though significant effort has been put forward to get rid of them, the country remains one of the most mine-laden in Africa.  

There are 80,000 amputees in Angola, most as a result of landmines, according to the International Herald Tribune. Candida Celeste, Angola’s minister of family, said, “They showed that they can, that they are able… This will provide encouragement to all those left invalid by the war.”

The pageant came ahead of International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action which falls on April 4 each year.  As the tens of thousands of Angolans can attest, mines are not weapons that can be easily and completely undeployed, and they continue taking lives and livelihoods for generations after hostilities cease. Though, as these women prove, there can be life after landmines as well.