When Kyambogo University undergraduate Mercy Tenywa was crowned Miss Tourism Busoga last month, she oozed with confidence and promised to champion girl-child education in the sub-region.
The 21-year-old, pursuing abachelors degree in Tourism and Hotel Management, from Kyambogo University emerged the best in a hotly contested race that attracted a total of 15 candidates from all the chiefdoms of Busoga Kingdom. “I felt joy I have never experienced before when I was pronounced Miss Tourism at Kagulu rock challenge festivals before the Isebantu Kyabazinga.
I thank God for blessing,” she says. Born to Mr. John Tenywa and Monica Tulilabirawo at Bugembe Maternity in Jinja city’s Northern division, Mercy knew she would become a beauty queen when her colleagues named her “First Lady”. “I was beautiful and my fellow students at Kaliro High School named me First Lady. Day scholars would not get tired of ogling at the slender cute-shy baby and others nick-named me queen and sometimes princess,” she says.
Mercy’s smartness and discipline attracted Jinja SS administrationwho appointed her vice president of the Human Rights and Peace club, a club that wascharged with settling students’ disciplinary cases. “I utilized my Senior Two holiday to obtain a certificate in Computer Studies from Alice Milulooki Library at the Busoga Kingdom headquarters in Bugembe,” Mercy says.
The elegant Mercy says she is inspired by former Speaker of Parliament and the current minister for East African Community Affairs, Rebecca Kadaga, whomshe says is highly respected and honored by people in Busoga and the entire country. “Our home borders the kingdom headquarters in Bugembe and I used to attend several functions where I was amazed by the attention and attraction that Mama Kadaga commands,” she adds.
She says newspaper negative reports about Busoga forced her to prioritize studies, discarding everything that could jeopardize her her education. Despite her mother’s separation with the father, the beauty queen has wrestled with education, going through different schools to ensure a brighter future thanks to a struggling-jobless mother who has always beaten odds to pay her school fees.
Mercy says the beautiful nature of Busoga land which is full of tourist attractions like lakes, rivers and mountains, among others coupled with her love for adventure triggered her passion for beauty pageantry. She says she will use her reign as Miss Tourism to transform lives of young girls and boys across the kingdom. She emphasizes the significance of education as the key to success and urges the young people to be disciplined, respect elders and teachers at school.
“We are organizing to visit vulnerable schools in Bokono and Busiki chiefdoms to provide Primary Seven candidates with scholastic materials to empower them as they head for their final examinations,” Mercy says. Led by Owekitiibwa Hellen Namutumba, the Busoga Kingdom Ministry Tourism and Heritage organizes Miss Tourism competitions every year, aiming to promote the Tourism industry in the region.
This year during the Kagulu rock challenge on August 26, they emphasized the importance of art, music talents and social media in promoting tourism where the Ndimusoga hit maker and born of Namutumba district, Mutwahira Kakaire popularly known as Acidic Vokoz was appointed the Busoga tourism ambassador, among other social media users