Ben Hamou, who was named the winner on Saturday, January 5, 2019, edged out 16 other contestants to earn the coveted crown in a contest that allowed veiled candidates to compete for the first time.
“I am very pleased to have the title and I hope to be in good shape and my goal is to do charity work,” said Ben Hamou, who hails from the southern region of the country.
Her win has already elicited mixed reactions on social media with many Algerians churning out racist comments at the newly-crowned queen. A number of users on social media made fun of her features, claiming that she was not beautiful enough to be their representative.
Such reactions are not a surprise considering the constant marginalisation and discrimination of black Algerians in the country.
Algeria has also been accused of discriminating against black migrants traversing its borders on their way to Europe in search of a better life. Reports indicate that at least 35,600 Nigerian migrants have been expelled from Algeria to Niger since 2014. These migrants have been accused of bringing criminality and drugs into the country.