INSTANT star! That best
describes Zambia’s latest modelling high-flier – Lukundo Nalungwe – declared
M-Net Face of Africa at the finale in Nigeria last Saturday night.
known to an ordinary modelling follower, Lukundo made three previous attempts at
the coveted crown.
Since its launch in 1998, Zambia’s envoys have only
come close but Lukundo finally made the cut to pick the most sought-after
modelling prize on the continent.
She joins the ranks of Cherise Makubale
(Big Brother Africa) and Lindiwe Allamu (Project Fame winner), among other young
Zambian women that swept continental glory in the entertainment
Born on June 10, 1988 in Kabwe, Lukundo’s aspiration for the
prestigious Face of Africa started at the age of 17.
“God has seen her
through. She has been trying since she was 17,” Teza, Lukondo’s elder sister
says in an interview with the Weekend Post.
“My late brother Kela would
have been happy to see this. He really used to encourage her.”
reason why Lukundo broke down when she made the first telephone call to her
eldest sister Sibusiso at backstage.
“She was crying, and our sister
Sibusiso was also crying. We couldn’t talk much when she called after being
declared winner,” she says.
Emotions, Teza explains, overwhelmed a family
of four sisters who lost their only brother Kela Silungwe about three months
She says the family was grateful to God for their sister’s
achievement following the death of their mother in 1998 and their father five
“We have been living together as a family after we lost our
parents and we thank God for this,” she says.
Admittedly, Lukundo and her
sisters fancied Zambia’s chances at the crown.
“We were hopeful that she
will make it to the top five,” she says. “The girl from Nigeria Marvis and
Mozambique Ernania were the biggest threat.”
Yet Lukundo hit the apex to
grab the crown that Mary Nawale (1998) and Mulenga Mubanga (2006) came closest
Lukundo’s friend, Chanda Lungu, was equally joyous her friend
had grabbed the biggest continental prize.
Having linked up with Lukundo
at Mickley Lifestyle’s modelling agency, Chanda says the ambition was set for
“Since we met in 2008, we have been training together
and I remember we also did a fashion show with X Models,” she
Chanda says Lukundo’s triumph was a landmark achievement for the
country’s growing modelling industry.
Mickley Banda says his efforts in
contributing to the modelling industry had manifested through Lukundo’s
“I’m so happy for her. She has been working hard and finally got
it,” adds the fashion designer.
President Rupiah Banda has not been left out
in celebrating Lukundo’s triumph.
In a statement by special assistant to
the President for press and public relations Dickson Jere, President Banda noted
that Lukundo had brought pride to Zambia.
He stated that the 21-year-old
business administration student had proved that anything was possible as long as
it was backed with hard work and commitment.
“I would like to
congratulate you for this wonderful achievement which has come as a result of
your hard work. I am personally proud of you and I believe that many Zambians
will join me in wishing you much more success as you represent Africa,”
President Banda stated.
He, however, advised Lukundo not to fall into the
trap that had seen previous winners in different fields ruin their
President Banda urged Lukundo to remain focused and learn from
the mistakes of others.
He stated that for Nalungwe to have emerged
winner from an initial field of 400 contestants later trimmed to 10 was
indicative of a rare kind of self-belief that must be emulated by all Zambians
who wished to succeed on the international scene.
promised to host Lukundo for lunch at State House.
Shortly after the
victory, Lukundo travelled to the Big Apple for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
in New York which began yesterday. She also walked home US $50,000 richer and
earned a contract with O Models.
M-Net managing director Biola Alabi
congratulated Lukundo on her win saying,
“It’s an incredible thing to
watch someone’s life literally change in front of your eyes and when it happens
live in front of a continent, it is remarkable and a very special moment. We are
very proud of Lukundo and all of the Top 10 for their determination and focus
and want to thank them for sharing this journey so openly.”
participation in the New York fashion show is courtesy of Arise