On October 19, Patricia Babirye Ntale was crowned Miss Tourism Uganda, 2014.
She wowed the judges with her approach to questions about the sector. Samson Baranga had a chat with her as she prepared to go to Malaysia to represent her country at the Miss Tourism International pageant.
Babirye was born in 1994 to Daniel Ntale (ex-Villa FC star) and Alice Ntale. She is the first born of four children. The family hails from Rakai district. She is closest to her identical twin sister, Priscilla Nakato Ntale, and the two are more or less inseparable.
They went to the same schools – Sir Apollo Kaggwa and Uganda Martyrs Lubaga (primary level) before heading to Buddo Secondary School for six years. Currently, both are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Administrative and Secretarial Science at Kyambogo University. Being in different streams at school, teachers could not understand why the ‘same girl’ was in two different classes.
“I had to explain a lot,” she says with a chuckle. She, however, states that they may look alike, but they have their own things that differentiate them.
During a Facebook chat with Nakato, she revealed that Babirye was the more cheeky of the duo, and she would sometimes get in trouble with teachers over something her elder sister had done. It was made worse by the teachers’ inability to tell them apart.
“They [teachers] would cane any of us nearest to them, regardless of whether it was Nakato or Babirye,” says Nakato.
Babirye would never have been the crown bearer if she had not met model scout and manager, Joram Muzira, of Joram Model Management (JMM), early last year. At that point in time, she didn’t even know how to get herself to contesting in the Miss Uganda pageant, although she had a passion for modelling and beauty.
“I met the twins at a model casting early last year and I loved them both. So, I talked them into vying for the Miss Uganda 2013 crown,” says Muzira.
He trained and mentored them. Babirye finished as one of the top seven in the central region, which was won by eventual overall winner, Stellah Nantumbwe.
When they did not make it to the final list for Miss Uganda 2013, he still worked with Babirye under the Buganda Cluster for Miss Tourism 2014. She was crowned second runner-up in the cluster and went on to represent Buganda. And as they say, the rest is history.
“She won the national finals because she exuded a lot of grace, poise, deportment, elegance, brains, and above all, she embraced tourism to the fullest,” observes Muzira. “I believe she will be so amazing at Miss Tourism International in Malaysia,” he adds.
Muzira remembers his encounter with the twins.
“They are very identical. When Babirye cried, Nakato would cry too,” he says.
Life as Miss Tourism:
Babirye is slowly settling into her role. The past weeks have been all about catching up on school, getting sector projects under way, and most importantly, preparing for Malaysia. In addition to her knowledge about tourism and the weeks of training under chaperon, Sarah Nyamwenge, Babirye plans to win the judges with her talent.
She plays the xylophone and has mastered some local tunes and also incorporated some foreign ones to appeal to them. She learnt to play it while at Buddo SS. Babirye has taken to heart Nyamwenge’s words of wisdom during the boot camp. She told the contestants then that she wanted the eventual winner to love the whole team, not to get carried away by the crown.
“Ever since I went into boot camp, I have learnt not to put myself first.” She believes that it is better to do things and they are reflected in other people. That way, it shows in the good work and brings out the best.
The overall plan is to get the youth involved in domestic tourism. Already plans for a TV show are underway. Other clips promoting domestic tourism will be packaged to target the social media audience.
Babirye also hopes to work hand in hand with the ministry of Tourism to curb the rampant deforestation.
She believes in “teaching a man” (or a woman for that matter) to fish rather than giving him fish. That is her message, especially to the youth.
“Go to the field and look for what you want in life. Do not wait for anybody to do it for you,” she says, philosophically.
Source : The Observer