She may be a sexagenarian, but Fatime Boumie still knows how to look her best. Her short bob-style hair is gleaming and immaculate, the high cheek bones and striking eyes that made her so unforgettable at 16 still call out from under the gentle sinking of age. On the wall of her small apartment, above the striped sofa, a single black and white photo is testament to her success in 1966 when she was picked as the most beautiful woman in the Chadian capital.
But 40 years later, her success was soured by the appearance of a rival. Helene Adda, who is apparently Fatime’s friend, claimed at the launch of the modern version of the competition in 2007 that in fact she was the winner from 1966. The two women went on to have a very public row about who won, and by extension perhaps, who is the more beautiful.
“I know that a coup was launched, and I’ve done everything I can to make it clear what happened, because I was Miss Fort Lamy 1966!” says Fatime, and she has indeed done everything - taking the matter to court last year. In the end she was proclaimed the real Miss Fort Lamy 1966, reclaiming her crown and seeing to it that Helene was demoted to the less glamorous Miss Sport 1966.
But still she does not feel completely vindicated – she’s now complaining that the £3000 awarded to her as compensation from the Chadian state has yet to be paid.
“The only value of the five thousand dollars for me is the respect of men. Because I’m a woman, and for us women the most important thing is our honour” she concludes, adding that she intends to stand for parliament next year.