- Title: IVORY COAST: Contest held to find the country's most handsome man
- Date: 11th May 2009
- Summary: VARIOUS OF CONTESTANTS ON STAGE
- Embargoed: 26th May 2009 13:00
- Topics: Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVAE0LQ3CIXLVYQHWX0BGZKHCMRT
- Story Text: Ivory Coast is searching for the country's most handsome man, or "Bagnon" in Bete language, and holds a first-ever national competition to choose amongst dozens of contestants.
Some 50 men between the ages of 24 and 40 took part in the competition held recently in Abidjan.
The Bete have long held contests to identify their community's most handsome man. Other Ivorian ethnic groups also hold similar contests.
Among the Bete, the Bagnon is expected to be not just handsome but also intelligent, generous and morally upright.
"The Bagnon is someone we adore, when the Bagnon comes out, everybody shuts up because he's intelligent. The Bagnon is wise as he needs to learn everything about the society, as he may become the chief. He should embody all the qualities, it's not enough that he is beautiful, he needs to work too," said Clementine Papouet, a local actress who attended the event.
Organizers are also using the contest to preserve the Bagnon tradition, which is lost when many people migrate from rural areas to cities.
"This year's Bagnon is meant to be a little more modern, it's a way to inform and educate the city's youth, who might not know what the Bagnon is. So through this contest, we encourage the spirit of competition,"
said Marcelle Bile, the contest's organizer.
The winner of this year's contest is Wilfried Yayi, a 34-year-old flight attendant.
"Today, I represent a certain group of men, men who can identify themselves through me in the Bagnon contest. Which means, I can't just do anything, I will have to serve as an example. I will try to pass on information, in any case, I will do what I can and what ever else the committee allows me to do to improve certain people's lives," said Yayi.
Yayi's prizes include a piece of land, a scholarship, airline tickets and cash.
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