It has been the custom of years in Botswana for crowned queens to wear weaves. However, this year’s Miss Botswana pageant did not only have contestants who embraced their natural hair but the winner was bold enough to go the bald-headed way of South Africa’s Shudufatso Mushida. As far as breaking with the past goes, Palesa Molefe was up there in a class of her own when she became Miss Botswana 2021/22.
While it will take time to get used to these changes, robust debate on social media about what a beauty queen should look like should help because the view that beauty is primarily cultural and native is among those being advanced there. The truth is that many love Molefe, who has been a visible beauty for her aura and poise before she wore the crown at Limkokwing University’s Hall Fame recently.
Asked to share her thoughts about the new Miss Botswana, Fashion Creative and Image Pioneer, Tsholofelo Dikobe, said Palesa Molefe embodies the story of home individually and effortlessly. “Her demeanour, self-awareness and now self-actualisation stand out,” Dikobe said.
“Significantly, she’s an intellectual. I just loved her before I knew she was going to contest for Miss Botswana. There’s something about her. She’s ready for a global hatch. Being natural is a state of being and is not about creating an impression. Palesa Molefe is authentically herself in every sense.”
For Miss Universe Organiser, Safie Sekgwa, beauty pageant is not necessarily a beauty contest. “It is a celebration of the diversity of women of all cultures regardless of social or economic standing,” she told Executive Life. “Pageants are powerful and effective if their value is understood and recognized by society, the government and the corporate world.
“It is also important for the contestants and their parents to understand the objectives of the pageant they are in. Sponsors stay away because controversies tend to court pageants and pageants remain misunderstood, underrated and undervalued. Although a beauty pageant is a beauty contest, it does not necessarily mean that the most beautiful woman on the night will or should win. There are many factors that decide the winner.”
But it is very much that people always have their favorite who usually doesn’t win. “Unless it is a Miss Popularity or a people’s choice prize or award, it is never about what the audience thinks but about the objectives of the pageant in question,” he said. “Many people think that the most beautiful young woman on the night of the pageant should be crowned queen. But a beauty pageant is a journey.
“There are many factors that decide the winner, and it all boils down to the objectives of the beauty pageant in question. A beautiful contestant who understands the values and objectives of the pageant in question and is easy to work with stands a very good chance of winning. This includes understanding why she has signed up for the competition and how she can take advantage of the platform in line with her own personal and professional goals.”
The Essence pageantry!
Discussing opportunities available in pageantries, Sekgwa said such platforms empower women to confidently pursue their personal, career and business goals. “Pageants also offer marketing and branding opportunities for developing countries like Botswana,” he noted. “They allow us to take advantage of our strengths in the form of the beauty of our nature in Women, Diamonds, Tourism and Culture to create value and attract investors and ultimately boost our inflows of foreign direct investment.
“As our country’s brand ambassador, the winner should understand Botswana’s value proposition to investors. She should understand the basics of foreign relations as she is also a diplomat. She must understand our country’s overall socio-economic goals. This is why international pageants need partnerships with the Government of Botswana. Pageants bring results.”