Beauty pageants have always attracted controversy hence it has been tough to get sponsors. This resulted in the Miss Botswana competition not taking place last year, made thus Botswana ended up not having a representative at the 2014 Miss World competitions that were held in London. South African Rolene Strauss won the pageant.
Despite this, some people still aim to redeem the glory that pageants have and the positive impact that they can bring. Thokgamo Mogapi who is the organiser of Miss Culture and Peace International Botswana 2015 said that as someone who has contested in pageants before, she knows very well the challenges of being in a contestant and how demoralising it is when things that were agreed upon by organisers and pageants are not fulfilled. "What differs is the passion I have for pageants. Since I have been involved before as a contestant, I am alive to the issues that contestants have, I have decided to take responsibility and embark on a new goal to make sure that contestants are not disappointed, because it is not only about getting the crown," she said.
Miss Culture and Peace International pageant will be held at Mantlwaneng Theatre on the 28th of March. So far, 14 ladies have been shortlisted to go and compete for the coveted title. She said the aim of the contest is to promote culture and peace in Botswana at an international level, where the winner will have the opportunity to represent the country at the Miss Culture and Peace International in Pijuana, Baja California in Mexico as from the 17th to the 25th of October. Though it is being held for the second time internationally, the contest, Botswana will be participating for the first time. She said that the contestants should be able to help portray the country in terms of its culture where they will have to showcase the culture of their tribes locally, while the winner will then have to represent Botswana as a whole and help on sharing the different cultures that Botswana has.
The ladies’ age range is between 18 and 24 as per the international standards. Mogapi said that though it is a pageant about culture, they have made and exception for the contestants to be able to compete with the normal gowns that they always use in pageants, other than the traditionally sewn one on order to so that contestants do not incur a lot of costs since as traditional ones would cost more. She said the winner of the competition will be the one that will be provided by the locally designed traditional gown to go and compete in Mexico. Mogapi said though some companies have lost confidence in pageants, others promise to help them. she called for others to come on board and help promote Botswana.
"Despite everything I promise a good event. I am doing this with all my heart and i want people to start appreciating pageants again,” she said.
One of the top 14 shortlisted candidates, Neelo Nthobatsang said that she is happy over the way the pageant is being organised, adding that the organisers update them through constant communication. She vowed to take the crown home in March. “Peace and culture is all about living in unity and harmony because culture shapes the way we see the world. So it is capable of bringing people together and I am ready to fight for the crown,” she said.
19 year old Duduetsang Maruping said she is trying to get as much information as she can get regarding beauty pageants since it is her first time participating in one.