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Miss Botswana’s doldrums

Publishing Date : 07 January, 2019

Author : TSHENOLO MOKGOSI

Empty promises from organisers, being shunned by government officials, negative social media posts, negative publicity in China, and disinterested potential sponsors are just some of the developments that will haunt Moitshepi Elias’ reign as Miss Botswana.


Her participation at Miss World in China in December last year was hell on earth, it has been revealed. After so much endeavour trying to persuade the entire country to support a different, but meaningful Miss Botswana, the organisers failed to live up to our expectations.
The pageant organizers, that is the Botswana Council of Women (BCW) in partnership with Development Advance Institute, had said they are rebranding Miss Botswana and taking it to another level to change the way the pageant is perceived as it had lost its repute and integrity. According to Moitshepi’s parents, “this is a pipe dream.”


Elias who started the pageantry in 2013 with Miss Teen Universe Botswana had indicated before the 2017 Miss Botswana event that it was her last year doing pageantry as a contestant as she has lost hope in the event. But after promises were made by the new Miss Botswana management and the confidence they oozed, she decided to try her luck one more time. Moitshepi was confident that with the support from the country, her fans and the organisation, there is no doubt she will do well at Miss World. But all this was a lie, her parents say.


First the public was not knowledgeable about her departure date to China, her arrival or Miss World Pageant itself. The grand Finale was on the 8th Of December and the country did know about it. There was a voting process and Moitshepi constantly pleaded the public to vote for her to make it to the next round. By the 6th December Moitshepi was only voted by 0.02% people.


Moitshepi’s father, Mr Elias is very disappointed in the organisers. He is of the view that the organisers neglected Elias and failed to promote her or help in preparations for the pageantry. When Moitshepi arrived from China her disappointed family was there to welcome her. A family that was not impressed with the proceedings especially the treatment their daughter got while in China.


Moitshepi’s parents were rather emotional and angry: 

“We were told we were going to be taken to China to go support her, it didn’t happen. She went to represent Botswana but I don’t know which Botswana she represented because Botswana o bihetse ngwaneke. There was a lot of turning down. She asked for assistance from Office of the President and the Ministry of Youth and she was rejected. They even encouraged Moitshepi to turn down the opportunity to participate at the Miss World. She had no support at all!” Moitshepi’s father, Mr Elias said.


According to the parent, Moitshepi did not have a wardrobe, she did not have make-up, and she had to share make up with other contestants. Why would things change when it comes to my daughter as if she is not a citizen?  “Ngwanake o sotlegile, o diragaletswe ke dilo tsedi botlhoko tota. I am afraid she won’t even get what she was promised. It is the first time for me to see or talk to Mr Raletsatsi ever since Moitshepi went to China. We are not happy.”


WeekendPost had an opportunity to speak to Miss Botswana organiser, Benjamin Raletsatsi to find out what he had to say: “There were a lot of challenges and we incurred costs we didn’t budget for. But like we said in our 5 year plan, in the first year we are going to observe and she is going to be our ambassador,’’ he said. On why the public was not informed of Moitshepi’s return dates just in case her fans and friends wanted to come welcome her back home, Raletsatsi in response said: “We decided to keep this as low profile as possible. We will post pictures on facebook.’’


For her part Moitshepi said she was very happy to be back home and is looking forward to focusing on her project that she will soon disclose. She shared that she has learnt a lot from China and Miss World and cannot wait to use what she learnt to change the perspective about pageantry in the country. “I was surprised to be making headlines in China when I have not given an interview to any newspaper in China. Batswana don’t understand that every negative comment they post on my posts are seen all over the world and it affects my marks during the pageant.’’


At the competition, Vanessa Ponce de Leon made history to become the first Miss Mexico to be crowned Miss World 2018. The 2018 pageant took place in the Sanya City Arena in Sanya, China. The 26-year-old winner beat 117 other contestants, including runner up Miss Thailand Nicolene Limsnukan, Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo, who placed third, and and other finalists from Belarus, France, Scotland, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Mauritius, Uganda, Nepal, New Zealand and Thailand. Botswana failed to make it to top 30 while South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria are the only African countries that made it to top 30.

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