Miss Ireland: ‘We’re so in love, we don’t care what racists say about us’

Courtesy of  MailOnline:  www.dailymail.co.uk

By Niamh Walsh
Last updated at 1:53 AM on 20th March 2011

Stunning Miss Ireland Emma Waldron told yesterday in a forthright interview how she will never let ‘ignorant’ racists affect her love for Nigerian boyfriend Manners Oshafi.

Emma, 21, has been the victim of a vicious internet campaign because of her relationship with a black man and was forced to report an online poster targeting her with hateful and abusive racist comments.

She recently found herself at the centre of a row after one person branded her ‘disgusting’ for dating a black man. 

Emma Waldron and Manners Oshafi have been dating for a year

Love conquers all: Emma Waldron and Manners Oshafi have been dating for a year. The stunning Miss Ireland has been the victim of a vicious internet campaign because of her relationship

 
And the stunning brunette told the Irish Mail on Sunday in an exclusive interview how one person went so far as to set up an account to target the couple. 

‘One Twitter account was set up specifically to send me hateful comments.

‘But I blocked them and reported them so I don’t get the messages any more,’ she said.

Friends have dubbed them ‘Memmers’

The couple – who have been dating for nearly a year – have even earned their own Brangelina-like portmanteau.

Friends have dubbed them ‘Memmers’, a combination of Emma and Manners.

And such is the strength of their relationship that Emma and Manners have vowed not to allow themselves to be victimised.

‘We are a very strong couple and we don’t really care what people think.

‘We have not been affected at all by the remarks on Twitter as it just stems from people’s ignorance,’ said Manners.

Emma, who came fourth in the Miss World competition before Christmas, said that while she has encountered racism while out with Manners, 23, she refuses to let it get to her.

Crown: Emma was named Miss Ireland last year

Crown: Emma was named Miss Ireland last year

‘I have experienced negative comments on nights out and on social networking sites but it doesn’t bother me.

‘I will never let someone’s ignorance affect my love for Manners. He is the most amazing person I have ever met.

‘What colour my skin is doesn’t matter to him and what colour his skin is doesn’t matter to me.

‘What matters in friendship and love is the heart and soul of the person you are in a relationship with and his heart is so big and I’m lucky to be in it,’ she said.

The Kildare beauty said while everyone is entitled to their opinion, she feels that now that Ireland is a multi-cultural society, people should be educated.

‘I think that Ireland is so rich in many cultures and often times preconceived notions influence how people treat others who are of different colour, creed or sexuality.

‘We need to help break down the barriers that sometimes build up in our homes, schools and society. The way to do this is by educating people.’

Emma said that her parents’ openness and acceptance has had huge impact on her and her choices.

‘My grandmother is Swedish and my dad is part-Italian, so as a family we have always been open,’ she said.

‘They love Manners and his family love me. There really is no issue of colour at all. He’s just my boyfriend.’

Manners moved to Ireland eight years ago with his parents and four siblings. The family first settled in Athlone.

‘I don’t let the negative comments bother me’

In a reflection of the changing nature of modern Ireland, he revealed that he was the first black boy in his school.

‘It was strange coming to Ireland, cold,’ he laughed.

‘But Ireland is a great country. Myself and my brother were the first black kids in the school in Athlone so we were seen as being different but good different.

‘We made good friends and were never bullied.’

Manners has just completed a master’s degree in telecommunications engineering at Dublin City University.

Now Emma’s boyfriend is helping her develop her website as she has her sights set on a career in television.

‘I am going back to St Pat’s [St Patrick's College] this year as I want to qualify as a teacher but I would also like to do some TV work,’ she said.

The statuesque beauty is currently working with the makers of [reality TV show] Fade Street on an online fashion programme.

‘I have been doing an online fashion magazine show called Stylemania and it’s going really well. I would love to do some TV work and this is giving me great experience. It’s going really well.’

Contender: Emma came fourth in the Miss World competition last year

Contender: Emma came fourth in the Miss World competition last year

Emma, who carries out voluntary work with St Vincent de Paul, said that she feels compelled to speak out against bullies and racists.

‘I am very lucky in that I have a platform and I can use that. Yes, I have been the target of a bully but I am strong and have dealt with it. 

‘It’s International Day Against Racism tomorrow and I think we all have a role to play to promote equality and raise awareness.

‘I can draw from my experiences and even if I help one person to overcome bullying, well, then that’s something,’ she said.

Emma, who is first violin with the Hibernian Symphony Orchestra, said that people need to be educated on race and different cultures.

‘I think it would be very naive of me to say that there is no racism in Ireland. Unfortunately there is.

‘If you socialise with people from different races and cultures you are less likely to show hatred towards them. But it still exists. I think people should make an effort to know people different from you.’

The good-looking couple have just bought a Labrador called Herbie and say that while they are very happy together they have no plans to set up home just yet.

‘Emma is terrific,’ said Manners. ‘We are different in some ways but in other ways we are like soul mates.

‘We think the same way and sometimes will finish each other’s sentences. But Emma is going back to college so we have no plans to move in just yet.’

The computer whizz also revealed that he has no problems with Emma’s work as a model.

‘Why would I? She always looks great in pictures. She is gorgeous. I’m a lucky man,’ he laughed.

Sonia Gandhi urges Commonwealth to spearhead inclusion of women in global climate change debate

Sonia Gandhi delivering the 14th lecture of the Commonwealth, London, England March, 17, 2011

Sonia Gandhi delivering the 14th lecture of the Commonwealth

The 14th Commonwealth Lecture was delivered by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress and Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance. In her speech Mrs Gandhi urged the Commonwealth to spearhead inclusion of women in global climate change debate.

The lecture, one of the high points of the Commonwealth calendar, is a keynote address by an internationally renowned public figure designed to stimulate intellectual debate about the 54-member association and its role in world affairs.

“Women as Agents of Change” was announced as Commonwealth Day theme for 2011. 
 
The theme was chosen to unify Commonwealth Day celebrations which started on the 14th of March 2011 and running up to the 20th of the month. The theme also provides a focus for further Commonwealth activities throughout the year.

“Women as Agents of Change” celebrates women whose work has made a positive difference to the lives of others and emphasises the Commonwealth message that by investing in women and girls we can accelerate social, economic and political progress in our member states.

The full text of Mrs Gandhi’s speech is still available (at the time of writing) on the Commonwealth Foundation website: www.commonwealthfoundation.com

While Mrs Gandhi was delivering her keynote address in the auditorium, the mood outside was far from cordial. A group of protesters had congregated behind a barrier with posters calling on Mrs Gandhi to act for the rights of Tamil women in Sri Lanka.

DID INDIA LET DOWN INNOCENT TAMIL WOMEN IN 2009?

Sri Lanka, an island nation with a population of 20.4 million people (UN, 2010), has been scarred by a long and bitter civil war arising out of ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority in the northeast.

After more than 25 years of violence, the conflict appeared to be at an end – at least militarily – in May 2009, when government forces seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels.

It is however believed that India played a major role in supporting the Sri Lankan Government’s military offensive in 2009 against Tamil rebels on the neighbouring Island.

MOTIVATED BY REVENGE?

Mrs Gandhi’s party has been accused of backing this offensive and turning a blind eye to the resultant massacre of innocent civilians out of ‘revenge’, because it was alleged that Tamil rebels had earlier been responsible for the death of Mrs Gandhi’s husband.

Unfortunately, the end of the war has resulted in tens of thousands of war widows who, rather than being ‘Agents of change’, are struggling to make ends meet and are faced with a choice of prostitution or poverty.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The protesters wanted an opportunity to ask Mrs Gandhi whether she is happy with what happened in Sri Lanka and what can India do to protect Tamil civilians, including the many widows, from the Sri Lanka Government.

Protesters outside 8 Northumberland, venue for Mrs Gandhi's 14th Commonwealth Lecture

Protesters outside 8 Northumberland, venue for Mrs Gandhi's 14th Commonwealth Lecture

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Portsmouth African Oasis at the 2011 Commonwealth Foundation Lecture – “Women as Agents of Change”

17th March 2011

Today the Commonwealth Foundation is hosting the 14th Commonwealth Lecture in London’s Northumberland venue from 18:30 hours. Portsmouth African Oasis (PAO) is proud to announce its representation at the auspicious event with the attendance of two of its founding members. Alfred Lakudzala, the vice chairperson of PAO, is one of the privileged to proudly represent the newly formed charitable organisation at the London event.  

This is an opportunity for the organisation to take its stand at a higher level by subscribing to the ideals  of  the International community of bring about change that will ensure equality of access to basic services by all members of society at every level.

The following is the extract of the event announcement on the Foundation’s website: www.commonwealthfoundation.com

The Commonwealth Foundation is honoured to announce the 14th Commonwealth Lecture will be delivered by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress and Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance.

Celebrating this year’s Commonwealth Day theme, Mrs Gandhi will be speaking on ‘Women as Agents of Change’ and considering how the role of women in society can have a positive impact on social, economic and political progress with Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Lecture is organised by the Commonwealth Foundation in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association , the Royal Commonwealth Society and the Royal Over-Seas League.

The Lecture will take place in the historic surroundings of the magnificent, newly restored ballroom at 8 Northumberland, just off Trafalgar Square.

End

Portsmouth African Oasis Has a New Executive

The minutes were so good that it was hard to cut anything out – so folks here verbatim we go!.

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting Held on 5h February 2011 at 4.00pm, Austin House, Portsmouth

Present:

1. Alfred Lakudzala (AL) – Chair

2. Cletus Moobela (CM) – Minutes

3. Michael Nsofwa (MN)

4. Abraham Magowe (AM)

5. Chewe Besa (CB)

6. Annie Kanyendo (AK)

Apologies

 1. Carol Hazikyriakos (CH)

2. Zak Makama (ZM)

3. Beenzu Nicholas (BN)

Welcome Remarks

AL welcomed everyone to the first AGM of the Portsmouth African Oasis (PAO)

Matters arising from previous meeting

The AGM did not go through any matters arising from the previous meeting as it was felt that the main business of the day was to conduct elects of office bearers.

Election of office bearers

The following people were unanimously elected as office bearers for PAO as follows:

CHAIR:                      Annie Kanyendo

VICE-CHAIR:       Alfred Lakudzala

SECRETARY:        Zak Makama

TREASURER:        Cletus Moobela

Sub-committees

It was decided that sub-committees will need to be established at the next meeting at which office bearers will need to be elected to the positions that shall be created.

Chair’s maiden address

AK thanked the members for electing her to the position of Chair. She outlined her extensive background in the voluntary and community sector, especially on matters concerning BME communities. AK stressed that she is happy to bring this vast amount of experience into the organization.

Vice-Chair’s maiden address

AL equally thanked the members for electing him to the position of Vice-chair of PAO. AL distinguished himself as a strong believer in the spirit of Africans and their strong zeal for self-reliance. He pledged to work with the team to revive the spirit of Africans in Portsmouth and afield

Treasurer’s maiden address

CM thanked the membership for entrusting him with the purse of the organization. His key message hinged on the need to work together for the common good of all Africans in Portsmouth and the communities where they live.

AOB

AK and AL both mentioned the Holocaust memorial service that they attended on 27 January 2011 on behalf of Portsmouth African Oasis. AK had an opportunity of giving a prayer and a speech on behalf of all Africans who have suffered persecution of all sorts in the past.

AL has since created a blog for Portsmouth African Oasis and members can therefore access it at:

http://africanoasis.wordpress.com    (Me comment: Smile you are on the blog)

Date of next meeting (Me: Executive meeting, init?)

Saturday 12th  February 2011 at 4.00pm, Austin House, Portsmouth

Holocaust Memorial Day 2011 Portsmouth

Annie Kanyendo of Portsmouth African Oasis reading a prayer

The 27th of January 2011 was marked as Holocaust Memorial Day in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Various communities who have suffered or been persecuted as part of the Holocausts congregated by the Memorial Tree in front of the D-Day Museum to commemorate the day with prayers, readings and declarations.

The memorial service was led by the Lord mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Paula Riches and conducted by the Archdeacon Trevor Reader.

Portsmouth African Oasis (PAO) was represented by Annie Kanyendo who read a prayer on behalf of the Rwandan community. In her company was Alfred Lakudzala. On the invitation of the Lord mayor both the PAO  representatives planted a daffodil bulb of remembrance beside the Tree.

“Holocaust Memorial Day gives us an opportunity to find out more about what happened in Nazi Germany, Bosnia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Darfur; to look at why it happened; and to think about what we all need to do to make sure it never happens again,” echoed the messages.

The end of the day’s events was marked by an invitation by the Mayor to a cup of tea and biscuits inside the Southsea Castle.

Alfred Lakudzala of PAO planting a memorial daffodil bulb

Portsmouth African Oasis Launch in Pictures

A crosss section of the guests posing with the Zambian High Commissioner Professor Mukwena

Some of the founder members of PAO with Miss Southern Africa 2010 Fernanda Kanyendo (the one with a crown and sash please)

A chance to pose with the Lord Mayor was a treat for the day

The Zambian HC very much at home

PORTSMOUTH HAS A LONG OVERDUE “AFRICAN OASIS”

The Zambian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom

His Excellency Professor Royson Mukwena

Portsmouth African Oasis was officially launched on Saturday the 23rd of October 2010 at Austin House on Milton Road in Portsmouth. The event coincided with the 46th anniversary of the Zambian Independence celebrations that took place the following Sunday throughout the world.

Activities slated for the day included children’s act, singing and performance, distinguished guest speeches, free food and drinks and music and dance. Free parking was made available within the secure prison car park.

Oasis Portsmouth is a charitable organisation whose objectives include the promotion and celebration of African culture, identity and heritage in the UK, the recognition of role models among African communities in education, business and employment.

The highlight of the launch was marked with the cutting of a cake performed jointly by The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Paula Riches and the Zambian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, His Excellency Professor Royson Mukwena.

“Oasis Portsmouth is a long awaited development that is poised to bridge the information gap that currently exists between members of the Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) communities and service providers in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas,” commented Dr Cletus Moobela, a senior lecturer at Portsmouth University’s School of Civil Engineering and Surveying. Dr Moobela is one of the founding members of Oasis Portsmouth and a very active community worker.
 
Members of the BME in Portsmouth have often been blamed by a section of service providers, sometimes unfairly, for being a “hard to reach community.” The launch of Oasis Portsmouth meant this will no longer be an excuse. “Members of the BME communities can now be contacted via Portsmouth African Oasis any time and through a number of communication channels,” Dr Moobela added.

“Community empowerment through participation is our priority and I’m confident this association will more than pay for itself in deeds,” said Annie Kanyendo, a community empowerment advocate and strong believer in the strength that is found when groups of people work together in a joint effort to improve their own well being.

The group will have a website to showcase upcoming events and activities. The group will utilise email broadcasts to keep members informed of all the developments. The website will have everything from pictures of projects, events and activities to advice on general matters of interest to the community that PAO will serve. The website will be a one-stop information source and link to any further relevant information or news to many of its visitors.