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Of Miss Botswana controversies

The crowning on Miss Botswana has in recent years, attracted much controversy. Perhaps it is not only here that the crowning of a beauty queen is almost always shrouded in controversy. It is not surprising that Thata Kenosi’s recent crowning as the fairest of all in the land on the 29th of July has attracted social media backlash. Bonnie Kamona and Phatsimo Baoagi, in second and third place respectively succeeded Kenosi.

Known traditionally for focusing on judging and ranking the physical attributes of contestants, beauty contests like Miss Botswana under the rule of Miss World have since evolved to incorporating personality traits, intelligence, talent and answers to judges’ questions as judged criteria.

With every beauty pageant around the world there is a set of rules that are to be followed. These include age and height restrictions as well as other well known rules. But the question remains, since Botswana follows after Miss World, do we use the same rules as Miss World? Founded in 1951 by Eric Morley, the Miss World organization is the oldest surviving major international pageant.

The controversy surrounding our national pageant has not only been about the chosen queen but have also bordered on the organisers as well as sponsors. Miss Botswana organisers have changed numerous times recently, more than it should have- no questions there. However, the public has been unforgiving when it came to the crowned winner, this year, it might have been taken a notch higher-cyber bullying the winner for basically things which are mostly out of her control-like the fact that she did not crown herself, or that she grew up outside of Botswana, and as a result missed out on learning Setswana.  

The Queen’s tattoos

Kenosi’s Facebook pictures, as seen by many suggest that the 19 year old has two tiny tattoos, one in between her shoulders and the other in her abdomen. They don’t seem to be photo-shopped, nor do the images seem enhanced or tampered with in any way.

Meanwhile in a radio interview she did Thursday morning, the young lass reportedly told the show’s presenter she could not confirm nor deny having any tattoo. While basically this could be attributed to bad PR on the part of whoever is doing her PR, it might have been advisable for    her (or that team) not to give in to public pressure as the competition rules stipulated clearly that the tattoos “should not be visible”.

At Miss World level, the entry criteria also state that visible tattoos are inadmissible. This in essence means that when on stage and when wearing a swimsuit the judges should not be able to see the tattoos. Tattoos according to different beauty pageant experts aren’t a problem, unless one has a huge tattoo that maybe covers half your body, whole arm or a big part of your body. Former Miss Botswana, Tapiwa Preston who represented the country at Miss World posted on her Facebook wall, with regards to the tattoo brouhaha: “now there is some information that the internet would not give you, a lot of contestants from different countries have tattoos.” She has rallied behind Kenosi from the onset; not shying away from making known her support of the 19 year old university of Botswana student.

In the same interview the newly crowned admitted that her mother once visited her during the boot camp even though it is against the rules. Attempts to reach Lorraine Ditsebe who started the complaints were made but she refused to talk to Weekend Life.

Lawrence Ookeditse’s being part of the judging panel

A lot more noise has been made about the judges’ composition. A fact that we cannot however ignore or run from is that a sponsor can be involved in the judging process. How then can sponsors be assured their money is being used right? Julia Morley sits on the judging panel of Miss World each year, and she is the organisation’s chairperson. Ookeditse who works for the Miss Botswana sponsor, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, is also not a newbie in beauty pageants, he was in the judging panel of the Miss Universe 2013.
Judging criterion

The current judging format used by Miss World pageant , the scoreboard,  was first used in the 2011 edition and was generally accepted by people around the world. This format was basically adopted because of its transparency. Five challenge events take place in the run up to the final; Beauty with a Purpose, Multimedia, Sports, Talent, and Top Model, according to the Miss World website.

Likewise, Miss Botswana also used a score sheet system for judging the contestants. Contrary to what many may believe, judging was not done only on the crowning night, as prior to that, the contestants had challenges; Sport and fitness, Top Model, Beauty with a purpose project, as well as SMS voting. In the categories, all girls were marked out of 10, according to Weekend Life investigations. The challenges accounted to 50% of the whole mark and the points were carried over to the pageant night which also constitutes to 50%.

At the grand finale there were five categories they were judged on, Swim Wear, Evening Gown, Overall Appearance, Confidence and Poise and Questions. This publication learnt that, on the scoring for the night, Kenosi led on all categories, save for Questions where she scored badly, and Appearance, which she is said to have been in the Top 2.

In an interview with Weekend Life, Miss Universe 2013 finalist Gontlafetse Maphosa said “Batswana should also know that pre-judging holds the same importance as the final night. It is the organisers and committees who meet the girls on a daily basis and can tell who really performs very well. This helps the pageant night judges to have the right pick and would make the pageant night result credible.”

Miss Botswana organisers should perhaps consider displaying the results on a larger platform for the public to see.

When asked what they were looking for in a queen one of the Judges, Boitswarelo Lebang said “we were looking for a beautiful, intelligent, somebody who can be an ambassador of the country,” and according to the judges, Kenosi is it all. The lady is said to be smart, the rest we could judge for ourselves, she has the right height, figure and is naturally beautiful.

The judges must have had the reputation of Miss Botswana as Botswana’s foremost beauty pageant at heart, as well as that of Botswana in the final decision to crown Kenosi as the ultimate winner. Surely the legacy left by Emma Wareus and Mpule Kwelagobe could not be left to rot in such simple manner, especially in our golden jubilee celebration. Why else would they send an incompetent contender to represent us in Washington?

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200,000 Members of International Church Hold Virtual Prayer Service for Covid-19

22nd September 2020

After its initial outbreak with a cluster of pneumonia cases at a seafood, poultry and live wildlife market in Wuhan City, China, Covid-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. The virus has hammered economies worldwide and brought devastation to many.

On 16 September Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a church with thousands of members in various countries, held a global online prayer service to pray for the victims of the coronavirus and their families, healthcare workers, government officials and for the complete eradication of and cure for Covid-19.

The virtual prayer service was live-streamed to the entire congregation with more than 200,000 members in countries all over the world participating, including the USA, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

In keeping with social distancing, health protocols and protecting its members from possible exposure to the coronavirus, Shincheonji arranged the virtual gathering for members to pray together in safety and set an example for others.

Prayers were mainly for the healing of those infected with the virus, for overworked healthcare workers who are struggling to fight Covid-19, and for people in economic distress in the wake of the pandemic. The overwhelming online participation from its members worldwide showed the desire and urgency to end this virus and for healing and restoration in communities.

The Chairman of Shincheonji Church Mr Manhee Lee suggested this online virtual gathering and said that all believers will continue to pray at the church’s worship services until the complete eradication of the coronavirus.

At least 1,700 of the church’s South Korean-based congregation have donated their blood plasma for research around an effective treatment. Convalescent plasma has also showed promise as therapy for Covid-19 and is believed to have reduced the severity of symptoms in critical patients.

“In order to defeat Covid-19, we need to embrace, love, and unite,” as global citizens, the church said. “We wanted to do all we can as believers by praying for the people working to prevent the spread of the virus and healthcare workers who are working at the frontlines of this battle against Covid-19 and we believe that God will answer our earnest prayers.”

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AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020

The annual prestigious music awards, African Muzik Magazine Awards and Music Festival (AFRIMMA), has resumed this year. But this time around with a virtual version of it.

The awards that celebrate the originality of African music has unveiled their seventh edition. The awards seek to promote the African talent by bringing together on the same stage African legendary artists to celebrate African culture.

The event was established by the International Committee of AFRIMMA, in collaboration with African Union to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage amongst African countries.

However after the Covid-19 global pandemic, the event will not be hosted on a live global stage, but it will be hosted virtually and nominees are expected to deliver their performances virtually. The AFRIMMA Virtual Awards 2020 is set to be the first of its kind in the African music world with performances coming from different artists around the world and audience catching the performances, speeches and award presentations on multiple streaming devices.

Amongst the many who are nominated by the AFRIMMAs is local sensation Vee Mampeezy who has been nominated in the category for Best Male Southern African alongside music giants, Black Coffee- South Africa, Slap Dee – Zambia, Cassper Nyovest- South Africa, Master KG- South Africa, Jah Prayzah – Zimbabwe, Vee Mampeezy – Botswana, Shyn – Madagascar, Tshego- South Africa, Tha Dogg – Namibia and Yanga Chief – South Africa.

Mampeezy has established with WeekendLife that prior to that, he had received an email from AFRIMMA confirming his nomination. They wished for him to perform which he said he will confirm the performance first with his manager, but as for now he is not sure if he will be performing.

“We have accepted the nomination. It is such an honour to be nominated alongside music giants like Black Coffee. I am very excited, others I am not as excited to be nominated alongside them because I have been nominated before with them. I do not mean to say they are not great, they are great in their respective right,” he said.

“We should be excited as a country that Botswana has been nominated as well. Before anything else, the fact that we are there as nominees makes us winners. It is such an honour to be recognised more so that Botswana is a small country with a very small population.”

Famous and most decorated artists the likes of Diamond Platnumz, Mr Flavour, Harmonize, Davido and Jah Prayzah are also amongst the nominees. However, South African based artist affectionately known as Master KG has been nominated six times for Video of the year, Best Male Southern Africa, Artist of the year, Best Collaboration as well as song of the year.

Master KG’s song ‘Jerusalem’ has been making waves internationally, and it was used mostly during the pandemic to shake off the Covid-19 anxiety. The song was nominated after South African Music Awards (SAMA) failed to nominate the young talented artist.

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Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020

Miss Earth Botswana is an annual local environmental-themed beauty pageant competition promoting environmental awarenessconservation and social responsibility. The reigning Queen dedicated her year to promoting specific projects and often addressing issues concerning the environment.

The Queen does this through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, coastal clean ups, speaking engagements, shopping mall tours, media guesting, environmental fairs, storytelling programs to children, eco-fashion shows, and other environmental activities.

Even though this auspicious year has been faulted by the COVID-19 crisis, Miss Earth Botswana 2020 Seneo Perry has seen this as a chance to fix her crown, and get dirty in conserving the environment. This is highly impressive as it expresses how dedicated she is not only in wearing the crown, but putting in some work to create a better greener world.

Perry is a Botswana based environmentalist, equipped with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business Leadership from Sheffield Hallam University (BAC) and a top 5 finalist in Miss Earth Botswana 2019. As an eco-warrior at heart, she has dedicated her time and energy towards educating and empowering the next generation on the importance of preservation and careful management of the environment and natural resources (a clean and safe environment.)

Miss Earth Botswana will be hosting SOS Children for a film documentary dubbed “Into the Okavango” on Saturday 19th September, in Tlokweng. This initiative is influenced by National Vision 2036 Pillar of National Values which is our identity, our unique natural and cultural resources, tolerance of diversity as well as national values constitute a value preposition that makes Botswana a place to live, work and do business.

In an exclusive interview with WeekendLife, Perry’s Manager, Shimah Keakopa, said the purpose of this event is to encourage the children to open up their minds a bit more to think outside the box as they are about to choose their career paths and what more they can offer to their country as upcoming young leaders.

“This event is held under the theme ‘‘Botswana will have healthy ecosystems that support the economy, livelihoods and our cultural heritage as well as enhance resilience to climate change’’. We strive to help young children grow up knowing their purpose in life and what they actually do in achieving their ambitions.”

For her part, the queen said since 2013, conservation topics have always attracted her interests towards achieving a clean and safe environment for the benefit of humanity. She said “Botswana relies heavily on the tourism industry as it contributes 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Our tourism industry has been characterized as more of a fauna and flora type, which is the great attraction to local and international tourists.”

“Therefore it is imperative that we conserve and continuously engage in environmental issues, to preserve our untouchable pristine wilderness. Furthermore people who live closest to natural resources generally absorb the greatest cost associated with conservation,” she said.

Perry told WeekendLife that a lot still needs to be done to ensure everybody is of one mind in an effort dedicated towards environmental conservation, which not only benefits the flora and fauna but the economy as well through activities such as agriculture and tourism.

“In Botswana, there still not enough policies (some outdated) and public awareness towards environmental conservation, especially the collective effort that should exist between government, private sector and Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Whereas members of the general public do not have adequate access to the information on the importance of environmental conservation and this results in them being unaware of the best practices and standards in environmental conservation,” she said.

When she is not impressing at beauty pageants, Perry is a Managing Director of “Restoring the Prime Colour of the Earth” a charitable organization established in 2019 with the objective to educate both young and old people the importance of keeping a clean and safe environment and to restore the breath-taking landmarks in Botswana.

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