Miss Botswana is a national beauty pageant in country formed in 1964 and holds a membership license of the most prominent beauty pageant Miss World. The pageantry runs parallel with the history of the country.
Even though there had been beauty contests conducted in various villages around the country in the early 1960s, the first Miss Botswana beauty contest was in 1967, conducted as part of Botswana independence celebrations. At the time, it was determined that the colourful first beauty event was going to ‘pick a perfect representative of the nation’s modern womanhood. Theresa Rantao satisfactorily met those requirements. She became the winner of the Miss Botswana 1967. Earlier in 1964, Veronica Magosi of Lobatse won the Miss Bechunaland crown. The following year, the crown was won by Lydia Tiyo.
Botswana made its debut at Miss World in 1972. Traditionally, the winner of Miss Botswana represents the country at Miss World. Taking you down the memory lane, Emma Wareus was crowned Miss World 2010, and she became the first Miss Botswana to place Top 3 at Miss World beauty pageant. She was the 1st runner up, subsequently becoming Miss World Africa. Karabo Sampson garnered the title in 2011, and she placed Miss World Top 20.
Miss Botswana 2012 and 2013 titles were scooped by Tapiwa Preston and Rosemary Keofitlhetse respectively. Seneo Mabengano won the title in 2015 and Thata Kenosi was Miss Botswana 2016. Nicole Gaelebale who placed Miss World Top 40 got the title in 2017, and 2018 it was scooped by Moitshepi Elias who then handed it over to Oweditse Phirinyane last year, who is currently the reigning Miss Botswana.
Oweditse just landed in the country few weeks ago from the 69th edition of Miss World which was held in London. For the past 10 years, Miss Botswana queens have been failing drastically to bring the crown home, or at least to place Top 20, in fact, the last placement in Top 20 was in 2011. Well, Mpule Kwelagobe was crowned Miss Universe 1999, but that is news for another day. Rumours say Botswana doesn’t hold the Miss Universe license, but some say a certain gentleman has the license and he is actually refusing to hand it over. I am still hunting him down, to get to understand why he feels fine with something we need for the sake of this country’s beauty pageants industry.
Anyway, in an exclusive interview with Weekend Life, beauty pageant enthusiast and analyst, who is also a public relations practitioner Morekolodi Smith said for the past decade, Botswana queens lacked preparation and the organisers have not figured out the formula. He says they are failing to figure out the formula for the Miss Botswana queens to place in the Miss World pageant.
‘’Out of the forty plus women that represented Botswana at Miss World, only one made it to Top 3, which is Miss Botswana 2010 Emma Wareus. I don’t know if I can say Botswana is a one hit wonder or what, but those that had been representing Botswana had no burning desire to bring glory to this country. Many of them lack the premium beauty that can appeal the Miss World judging panel.
In Miss World, there are fast track events, Top Model, Sport, Multimedia, Talent, Head-to-Head challenge as well as the most prize of them all Beauty with a Purpose. Botswana representatives were just basic and they were not a complete package. If I remember well, Emma Wareus made it to Top 20 Top Model and Top 20 beach fashion. She is the first Miss Botswana to place in two fast tracks and even performed Dances of the World’’ he said
Smith stressed that Miss Botswana judges do not know the Miss World competition format and the judging criteria. ‘’They are not industry experts and the competition does not give the audience the insider of the competition. Personally I don’t understand the Miss Botswana competition format, how judges select finalists without having fast track events. The judges are not doing a great job at all. Miss Botswana needs a runway coach, who will teach contestants cat walking skills and for them to have great stage personality.
The pageant also needs someone who will coach contestants on question and answer segment and interviews. A panel of judges should be there to judge every round of competition’’ Smith told Weekend Life. He advised that Miss Botswana pageant take place earlier so as to afford the queen enough time to get prepared for the intense Miss World competition, saying that the queen should make a greater impact here that should also be documented.
‘’She should travel the country and fundraise some charity events and the organisers need to work more on the pageant’s publicity, Miss Botswana should be hyped. This is a national competition; it needs a very creative director, production as well as the competition format. The production also has to have a concept that reflects Botswana. What they have been doing for the past 50 years is just basic’’
Further, Smith underlined that a panel of judges should be industry experts, such as sportsmen or women who know what it is like to represent a country, image architects who well know fashion trends and sense of style, former Miss Botswana queens, magazine editors as well as social media influencers. ‘’I would like to see Miss Botswana pageant execute the exact Miss World competition format. I want to see fast track events, head to head challenge, top model, sport, multimedia, talent and the people’s choice. It would be nice to see winners of these special events secure endorsement deals with some of the local brands, or corporates even.
Responding to why the queens have been failing at Miss World, Smith confidently indicated that it’s because they are not a comprehensive package and lack of preparation. He highlighted that Miss World crown is the ultimate prize but there is sport, talent and top model amongst others. ‘’The Asians, Philippines, Thailand and others are dominating pageants because they are prepared. A well prepared queen can at least advance in one of the fast tracks.
Miss Botswana queens have nothing to offer, they are not hard-core competitors because they are not prepared. They are failing because the pageant is held very late, that is two months before the Miss World. There is no time to do beauty with a purpose project, no time to design an exquisite evening gown and no one wins Miss World with just three weeks to prepare. The organization is also failing the queens’’
Smith said it is absurd for a queen to go compete in Miss World without a rigid beauty with a purpose project that is the heart and soul of the Miss World. There is so much that a Miss Botswana can do to help disadvantaged communities, Smith said. ‘’We still have areas in Botswana where people don’t have access to clean purified water, some are salty.
A project can be done to set a purifying plantation. Mophane worm is on the edge of extinction so a project can be done to set out hatcheries. The public also needs to be involved to assist Miss Botswana queen complete her projects and its critical the organization intensely recruit volunteers’’ In his own words, Smith feels Miss Botswana crown is obnoxious. ‘’The pageant has to unveil a new proper crown, not a tiara, even if they can replicate the Miss World crown, it’s still fine’’
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.