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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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Thabiso Maretlwaneng certified Master in filmmaking

27th March 2023


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Dr Lame Pusetso comes to writer’s rescue

20th March 2023

Multi award winning author of fifteen (15) books, Dr Lame Pusetso has put together a platform to empower local writers. Dr Pusetso is a President and Chairperson of the Executive Board of Kasapa Society.

She is also the Managing Director of Poeticblood Publishers and an owner of an online bookstore dubbed Mind and Soul Bookstores. Dr Pusetso has reiterated her commitment to helping upcoming authors, writers and poets in establishing their crafts and capitalizing on them.

In an exclusive interview this week, she said that she has put together a platform dubbed Botswana Literature Awards, which have fourteen categories.

When quizzed on what the awards stand for, Dr Pusetso said “writing as a form of art in Botswana is a skill that many have and have always been exploring. As a publisher, I have met different writers from all walks of life and some indicating that there isn’t enough motivation to keep going.”

In Botswana and according to the writer, there has been a limited representation of appreciation of authors. This is despite their efforts year in year out.

The whole intention of these awards really is to honor and recognize the hard work that local authors put in, when doing what they know best (writing).

“This is a way of appreciating their creativity and we will be doing this across all genres. The awards also act as a motivational tool to young writers who still have dreams of becoming best selling authors. Quite frankly, their works are of great importance and we cannot afford to let that slide like that.”

Dr Pusetso emphasized that all the winners will walk away with an award, a certificate and complimentary gifts to take home. “The two winners of Best Overall Author and Best Young Author will in addition receive book publication deals which includes book distribution and marketing for a year.

She gave a clearer picture of how authors can be a part of the literature awards.

“The awards are open to every author from the age of 7, must be a Motswana, and their book should have been published before or by 2022. For authors with more than one book, they are allowed to compete with only one book for one category, and different books for different categories.”

The young writer pinned hope on institutional collaborations, in order to stage the second edition of the awards next year, saying “We believe with these awards, the different institutions and stakeholders will show interest in helping nurture the literature scenario in Botswana.”

“It will also give authors hope and light to keep writing and penning down their stories for the benefit of all. We anticipate to host the next edition in 2024 with assistance from all interested parties.”


Dr Pusetso stressed that there are fourteen (14) categories, and they are: Religious or Faith Based Book, Poetry Book, Children’s Book, Multi-lingual Writer, Best Collaboration, Setswana Novel, English Novel, Motivational Book, Best Young Author (7-13), Overall Best Author, Best Theory, Best Online Writer, Best Media Writer (Honor Award) and Honor Award (Long Serving Best Author).


Best Media and Honor Award, Dr Pusetso said are not based on submissions but nomination by the committee. “For Honor Award, we want to appreciate the individual who has inspired the Botswana writing scenario over the years and even assisted numerous authors as both a writer and a community leader.”

The Best Media Writer award is meant to appreciate a journalist who is actively taking part in appreciating and helping authors in marketing, advertising and affording them a platform to showcase their works through their writing skills.

Meanwhile, the Botswana Literature Awards will be held on the 29th April and they are partially sponsored through the literacy grant. This is a grant under the Botswana National Library Services which falls under the Ministry of Youth, Gender, Sports and Culture.

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Women’s Awards hit the ground running

20th March 2023

The second edition of the much-anticipated Women’s Awards Botswana will be going down on the 27th May 2023 in Gaborone at Travel Lodge. The organizers of the prestigious awards have announced finalists, with three nominees per category.

Women’s Awards Botswana is established to empower women and celebrate them from all walks of life and across sectors. The awards raise awareness for women to be granted equal participation, particularly in decision-making positions, as one way of breaking the gender bias.

They also seek to celebrate the outstanding achievements of women from diverse industries in Botswana. Taking a closer look at the categories, He for She award celebrates and shines a light on men who stand and support women.

These are men who advocate for inclusion of women, men who stand against GBV and men who promote any service that can better women life. Her Abilities award looks into women who have shown determination to keep moving and achieve any goal they have set for themselves, regardless of their disability.

Other awards are self-explanatory. They celebrate women in arts, culture and entertainment, agriculture, creativity, innovation and technology, tourism and hospitality, community impact as well as organization supporting women.


When speaking in an interview, Founder and Director of Women’s Awards Botswana, Bofelo Zebe, said in their first edition, they had fifteen categories, which was enough for a piloting project.

“But we left out many industries or lines of work. After the event, we received reviews and suggestions, and there was an intensive evaluation that led to us increasing the categories to eighteen for this second edition.”

He said the nominees were voted in by the public, adding that the finalists were judged by a panel with the support of votes from their supporters.

When shedding light on what winners take home, Zebe indicated that there is an award trophy, certificate and goodie bags for all categories but “we are working to have financial sponsors jump on board so that winners and nominees can receive monetary incentives. We are also busy at work trying to retain our previous sponsors.”



Desmond Lunga, Tlhabo Kgosiemang and Christopher Seagateng


Ditshupo Mosoboloko, Thanolo Keutlwile and Seneo Mabengano


Koketso Seleke, Goabo Kgasa and Mumsie Odirile


Naledi Marape, Ouname Mhotsha and Keamogetse Kenosi


Montle Rantatana, Lesedi Matlapeng and Trudy Bakwena


Nomathemba Masuku, Basadi Molelekeng and Keolebogile Keabetswe


Marang Mbaakanyi, Didintle Moreki and Thandeka Palai


Masego Keleadile, Wapula Matshambane and Tshepo Phokoje


Bridget Gothaang, Waone Makobo and Kimberly Matheakgomo


Suits Africa, Nomlu Nail Bar and Sunflower Desserts


Prezlin Clothing and Dawn Bell Academy


Mpho Sebina, Dato Seiko and Priscilla K


Sekao Foundation, The Fighters Support Group and Single Mothers Living with HIV


Lebopo Bulayani, Nanzelela Chaitezvi and Kebadile Wasenda


Poppy Sello, Keikantse Shumba and Kedi Lezozo


Marang Selolwane, Palesa Molefe and Masi Sithole


Naseem Lahri, Neo Bogatsu and Lily Rakorong

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