Malawi is also known as the 'Warm heart of Africa'. In view of this, it simply means a national beauty queen, commonly referred to as 'Miss Malawi', can indisputably be referred to either as 'Miss Warm Heart of Africa' or 'Malawi Queen'.
This, arguably, has been the straight forward interpretation for the past four decades during which the Miss Malawi beauty pageant has been in existence.
But as a country, it appears we are now being summoned to a national conference to redraft that common interpretation as two more national beauty contests have emerged, on top of the Miss Malawi.
They are Miss Warm Heart of Africa and Malawi Queen.
The former, the organizers say, has been tailored to promote the country's tourism sector, breeding another controversy as that role has already been in the hands of Miss Tourism, a pageant introduced in 2009.
The confusion does not end at their names; their respective objectives are also disturbing!
"Malawi is proudly and globally known as the Warm Heart of Africa and her beautiful women are called the queens of Malawi, so it is confusing to have all these three contests in the country unless they change the names," commented one Blantyre-based fashion designer, Chrissie Kampanje.
Miss Malawi organisers, who have been lamenting over the birth of Malawi Queen and Miss Warm Heart of Africa, say the two have brought in total confusion amongst beauty pageants followers in the country.
"What Malawians should know is that the organisers of Miss Warm Heart of Africa [Neema Gaming] were under Miss Malawi and we were operating together, but we separated because of the disagreement over the mode of choosing the winner," says Vitu Kamanga, chairperson for the Miss Malawi pageant.
Kamanga says Neema Gaming suggested that Miss Malawi should be identified through voting, a process some organisers could not endorse.
"As the sponsor of the BMW car to the winner, Neema Gaming opted for voting method but we realised that beauty is not measured by physical appearance alone; there is also confidence and intelligence as such we need a panel of judges to choose the best," says Kamanga, adding that Neema Gaming pulled out and took with them the BMW car.
Kamanga goes on to point out that Miss Malawi is the country's flag carrier as she represents the country at international events therefore, he argues, will the Malawi Queen and Miss Warm Heart of Africa also use the same flag?
Reacting to the concerns, Kondi Chavula who is operations manager for Miss Warm Heart of Africa, says there was no cause for worry since the two are separate events with different concepts.
"There is no conflict here and cause for alarm. These are two events with two different concepts. Malawians should understand that Miss Warm Heart of Africa contest is under the department of tourism while Miss Malawi falls under the department of culture.
"We view Miss Malawi as a cultural event aimed at exposing the culture of Malawi through beauty and talent while Miss Warm Heart of Africa aims to explore and preach the scenic beauty of Malawi and the warmth of its people through tourism," says Chavula.
But why did they pull out of the Miss Malawi pageant instead of just ironing out their differences?
"They changed the voting process, flouting our earlier agreement. Since people had already started voting, we felt betrayed," explains Chavula.
On his part, coordinator for the Malawi Queen pageant Prince Chokotho says people should not mistake his pageantry for Miss Malawi or Miss Warm Heart of Africa since, he says, their pageant is solely a modeling affair.
"Malawi Queen is a modeling contest and our main target is to work with the corporate world in promoting their products and services while those two [Miss Malawi and Miss Warm Heart of Africa] are beauty pageants whose objectives are to embark on charitable activities on top of acting as the country's ambassadors at international functions," says Chokotho.
Chokotho says the Malawi Queen event scouts models from each and every district, a feature that sets the pageant apart from the others, which, he says, target only city models.
The other distinct element, explains Chokotho, is that in addition to engaging herself in advertising, the winner will this year also embark on a special project to sensitise people in rural areas on cancer and fistula.
However, deputy director of culture responsible for arts and craft in the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture Bernard Kwilimbe says there is no problem with the mushrooming of national beauty pageants in the country as long as they come in good faith and represent the norms and values of Malawians.
"We welcome any initiative as long as it has an area of focus on top of sticking to good principles and standards. They should also come through us before going public," he says.
On the names, Kwilimbe says his ministry has no time to regulate them, observing it is everyone's responsibility to do that.
"Organisers of these contests should sit down and discuss on these issues rather than fighting in the media, that's what happens to any professional body - they should be responsible. How can Malawians take them seriously if they are fighting?" queries Kwilimbe.
Young beautiful ladies had been parading in the lone beauty pageant, Miss Malawi, since 1970s under the one party regime before the event was banned in 1983.
The beauty contest was revived by socialite Carver Bhima after the introduction of multi-party dispensation in the country.
Bhima quit the show after successfully sending a number of beauty queens to participate at the Miss World contest and, thereafter, four other companies have run the event namely: Okoma Productions, Corporate Graphics, Excite Events Media, Access multi-Media and now Artistic Agency.