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Resurrection of Miss Universe Botswana

MISS UNIVERSE 1999-Mpule Kwelagobe

The first and last time Miss Universe Botswana was won, was when Mpule Kwelagobe left everyone without a doubt that she was the rightful owner of the crown in 1999’s Miss Universe pageant.

Her win was significant for both Miss Universe Botswana organisers and Botswana as a country, as it put the country on the map with an influx of investors and tourists made a beeline for Botswana.

That was years ago. Miss Universe Botswana has since lagged behind severely, and it has cost the organisation not only money/funding but also its once revered reputation of producing crowned beauties.There have been significant gaps in Botswana’s participation in Miss Universe.

Between 2002 and 2003, Botswana did not participate in the much acclaimed beauty pageant until 2004, when they sent Miss Universe Botswana 2004, Icho Keolotswe, to Ecuador. Miss Universe Botswana’s absence was felt yet again for six years after 2004.

In 2010, an international fashion company domicile in Botswana, Mos Syde Worldwide Entertainment Group, took over and Tirelo Ramasedi was crowned Miss Universe Botswana, representing Botswana in Las Vegas. The years 2011, 2012 and 2013 saw Larona Kgabo, Sheila Molelekwa, and Tsoane Macheng crowned respectively before the pageant went AWOL once again.

This year marks another possible six years since Botswana has participated in Miss Universe. Botswana’s absence in the competitions have been attributed to internal fights within the Miss Universe Botswana organisation. Some organisers are of the belief that there have been acts of sabotage from certain stakeholders which has led to the many missed opportunities by Miss Universe Botswana.

Safie Sekgwa, the current license holder for Miss Universe Botswana, wants to resurrect the organisation and bring it back to its former glory days. The license holder seems to have a well detailed plan including a budget, on how he will resurrect the organisation.

“Next year Miss Universe should come back. I want to go to the United States of America to re-build our relationship. My dream is to create an environment for women to achieve their goals. The pageant used to talk about the country’s tourism, the diamonds, the deltas as well as our culture and we believe that Botswana has the most beautiful women in the world,” said Sekgwa.

“We want to continue where we stopped. We want our Queens to understand our country, economy and tourism. We want beauty with ambition. We can challenge BITC (Botswana Investment Trade Centre) to teach them about value proposition because at the end of the day they should be able to sell our country.

The last time we did something like this was in 2013 when we took them to Teemane Manufacturing Factory in Serowe to see how a diamond is processed, and how impactful it is in terms of job creation.”To bring something that will bring the excellence out of the pageant, he said they will need a whooping P4 million. He said they have worked with a very small budget which put them at a disadvantage.

“We want a serious budget. South Africa’s pageant is done around that amount. We had organised the pageant with P25 000 and to tell the truth it was not enough. We had to use creativity. We had stakeholders at the time, who were not even willing to support.” said Sekgwa.

“We want to promote Botswana to be recognised globally so that we can also attract investors. So that when investors want to invest in Africa, they should know where to go. Botswana does not have a strategy to sell their country. We are a diamond based country, why can’t we invest in those. P4 million will drive this initiative.”

“I want to do the pageant in such way that we would be promoting our culture with girls competing from different provinces. This is so that they gain confidence by competing from their provinces. We want to do everything from scratch. Our goal is for the pageant to resume. Our women need to stop struggling. MYSC had initially agreed to support us.”

“Government should understand his role and give to Batswana to organise certain events. They should give Batswana a chance, permits and licenses to run these events.”

WeekendLife

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

22nd September 2020
200,000

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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WeekendLife

AFRIMMA nominates Vee Mampeezy

22nd September 2020
Vee-Mampeezy

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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WeekendLife

Miss Earth Botswana catwalks to save the environment

22nd September 2020
MISS EARTH

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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