One of Botswana’s finest young women, Katlego Mendry has raised the country’s flag high when she was crowned second princess of the Miss Heritage International held in South Africa December last year.
She got the position in the highly competitive pageant that saw beauty queens around the world converging to fight for the crown in Johannesburg.
Mendry will now be making her public appearances. She will also undertake projects, working in conjunction with the queen and the first princess. Having been Miss Tourism in 2013, Mendry was asked to participate, but she did not have any sponsor apart from the local designers who helped her with clothes for the competition. The University of Botswana helped with flight tickets. Miss Heritage is a pageant established in Zimbabwe in which countries around the world are called on to participate where they will show their culture and embrace their religions. This is the first world pageant to come out of Africa, and Mendry was the first Motswana to represent the country at the competition. Mendry said that prior to the coronation night they had a lot of activities that they were judged on like the national heritage presentation, national flag presentation in which they had to explain the meaning of the national flag colours to the audience, explain the national anthem, the writers of it and every message behind it.
“On top of that we were even asked to pick a national anthem from a different country, sing it and also explain it to the audience,” Mendry said.
The contestants also took part in the sport activities and the traditional South African games like mhele and morabaraba among others which then put the local contestant at a better advantage since Botswana share a lot of similar things in terms of culture with the South Africans. During the chef cusisine night, Mendry cooked phaletshe, delele and mophane worms, with all the ingredients coming from Botswana. She said that before the coronation night they were also tasked with the cooking of phaletshe, something that just went smoothly for her since she is very familiar with its cooking. It is with these activities that she made it to the top 10 after the presentation of the traditional wear, the impromptu speech and the evening gown. She made it to the top 5 in which Miss Philliphines was crowned the queen while St Vincent and the Grenadines got 1st princess and she became 2nd princess. Though this sounds like a very good concept of a pageant other than the controversial Miss World or Miss Universe where there is a standard of beauty expected, it is a shame that Miss Heritage did not have that much support. Some of the local designers that assisted her are Culture Spears lead singer Magdalene, Kaone Moreong and Aobakwe Molosiwa. Culture Spears also gave her the songs that she was using for the traditional presentations.
Mendry said the pageant helped her learn a lot about the cultures of other different countries around the world. She said that what hurt her sometimes was how she didn’t get any support from Botswana while other contestants from different countries had their governments and the people rallying after them.
“Beauty contest is a psychological game, if you are not happy you can’t win, and I think that is the reason why many Batswana are not doing well at an international stage,” she said.