Miss Khartoum

Here's an extract from an interview I had with a lovely lady who told me about her mum, Miss Khartoum.

My mum was always very glamorous, very stylish.  She was an artist.  There was one nun at the Convent School where she went who encouraged mum to paint.  She was the one who said, 
‘You’ve got a talent there, so you need to just paint', 
and who believed in her.  Mum said that’s how she learned to paint, because of this one nun. She did say that the school was full of just, really cruel women - that the nuns there were horrible. They used to beat– they used to cane them, on their hands they used to cane them…apart from this one nun, who took her under her wing; who used to take her and give her some oils and a canvas and would just say, you know, 
'paint, paint'. 
This is when mum was at school and she never forgot it. My sister's got the paintings still, and that's how mum learned to paint. 

Yvonne with Leon Cohen (L) and Roger Cohen (R)

Yvonne with Leon Cohen (L) and Roger Cohen (R)

One time the whole family, my grandparents and their children were at a party.  I don’t really know what dinner it was, it was just a function - I think it was at the British Club, something like that…I'm not entirely sure but yes, I think it was the British Club.  They were at this dinner, and at the dinner they were holding a competition for Miss Khartoum.  Everyone told her to get up and walk around the room and she didn't want to do it because she was really shy, but they all made her just go and walk around. She had to walk around the room, and she won! Miss Khartoum...she was Miss Khartoum! They gave her a sash and a silver cup with her name on it. 


From Miss Khartoum you got entered into Miss Egypt - to become Miss Egypt, but then they found out that she was Jewish and they took the title away from her. They disqualified her because she was Jewish. It must have been 1956 because there was a war on.  There's a photo of her with the cup in the papers in Khartoum but then they gave it to the runner up, because she was Christian.  She said that the war was really bad and they had to get out - they had to come to England.