Africa Anti-Poaching pageant to raise awareness

SHARE   |   Sunday, 08 March 2015   |   By Ontametse Sugar
Organiser of the pagent Mothibi and Co organiser Ellis Kebonang Organiser of the pagent Mothibi and Co organiser Ellis Kebonang

Botswana just like some countries in Africa has always fought against poaching. With Botswana being considered one of the countries in the continent that have a lot of elephants, there have been measures that the government have put in place in order to curb poaching. Mostly when people talk about poaching, they mention only the big animals like the rhinos or the elephants, as if the killing of the small animals is not poaching.  Botswana will for the first time host the anti-poaching pageant which is aimed at sensitizing Batswana and Africans about the bad and dangers of poaching. The pageant is organized by Captive organisation in conduction with the Ministry of Wildlife and Tourism, which has endorsed Captive Organisation with the mandate. Percy Mothibi who is one of the organisers said that they wanted something that can be able to have representatives from all over Africa, and realised that there was no better way to do that than holding a beauty pageant.
He said that with Africa and Botswana having had a lot of animals before, it is sad to see them becoming extinct. He said this will in the long run kill the tourism industry because now the animals will be non-existent and as such affecting the economy. Botswana as a landlocked country have been able to safely guard the coming and outgoing of animals, and also with the intense guarding of the Botswana Defence Force which works with the Ministry of Wildlife. Co-organiser Ellis Kebonang said despite that, it does not mean poachers are not coming to Botswana, since they follow these animals from their countries like Zambia or Zimbabwe. He said that through this Africa anti-poaching pageant, they want to send the message to other countries, and aim to have representatives from all African countries. With the auditions yet to take place, the organisers said that they will make sure that all Batswana are included as they search for the local queen and king, in which they will hold auditions at constituency level. Those who make it will then proceed to regional until the national one where they will bring the best girls from all over the country to compete for the crown. He said despite all this they will be using the international standards of a beauty pageant as required by the Miss World or Miss Universe since they want the pageant to be of quality.
He said that they aim to educate Batswana because many do not have an idea that there are poaching syndicates in the country, which are run by literate and astute men in the society, but normally the herdsman are the only ones caught which does not solve any poaching problems. “In Botswana we are still to catch a poaching syndicate leader, because most of the people who end up in prison are the ones that have been ordered to kill those animals.  They even got no idea even how much the horns  or skins that they got cost and that it make other people rich in this country," he said. Kebonang said it is now time that Batswana come together to fight anti-poaching, and not only rely on the government to do the job. The auditions for the pageant will be held in Gaborone on the 14th of this March at Central Building District (CBD) in order to launch the event. It will take place at the three Dikgosi monuments, which the national museum has offered for free.  Artists, models, speakers from conservation organizations are expected to grace the event. On why they included men in the pageant, Kebonang said they realised that it is not that women are the most ones involved in poaching , but rather men, and that is the reason why they saw it fit to have men in order for them to help send out the information to other men.
The organisers said they want all Batswana to take part in order to help curb anti-poaching, which can result in imprisonment as in South Africa where the poaching leader was sent to 40 years in prison not long ago.



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