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Zero-to-Zero

Publishing Date : 18 December, 2018

Author : TSHENOLO MOKGOSI

After so much endeavour trying to persuade the entire country that ‘’this time’’ it will be different, it looks like the last-minute Miss Botswana organisers failed to live up to expectations after Moitshepi Elias’ participation at Miss World was as lull as a radio on pause.


A controversial short-circuited Miss Botswana pageant was held in September 2018 at Masa Hotel. Miss Botswana 2018/2019 spokesperson, Basadi Molelekeng had explained that “the main focus of the Pageant was to re-brand Miss Botswana.” “We will not have the Miss Botswana run as it has been. What is going to happen is that this year we will just have a mini pageant with last year’s top 12 and crown the winner from there,” she said.


But ultimately the grand finale only attracted three eligible contestants from last year’s pageant. The pageant organizers, the Botswana Council of Women (BCW) in partnership with Development Advance Institute, had promised to rebrand Miss Botswana and take it to greater heights to change the way the pageant is viewed as it had lost its spark.


Previous Miss Botswana winners had not been remunerated. Miss Botswana 2018/2019 spokesperson, Molelekeng in so many of her interviews with press, said they were to train, glam up the queen, promote and market her as much as possible to build her brand, to build Botswana Entrepreneurs brands who were part of the rebrand and sponsoring the queen with makeup, clothes, hair and mentoring.


Despite all the rushed efforts to come up with this year’s Botswana representative for the Miss World, the Queen, Moitshepi Elias who started the pageantry in 2013 with Miss Teen Universe Botswana indicated before the event that it was her last year doing pageantry as a contestant as she has lost hope in the pageant.


But after hearing the promises and seeing the new management and organisers’ confidence, she decided to try her luck one more time. Elias was confident that with the support from the country, her fans and the organisation, there is no doubt she will do well at Miss World.
The public was not aware of Miss Botswana’s departure for China, her arrival or Miss World Pageant itself. The grand Finale was on the 8th Of December and most people did know about it. South Africa’s SABC 3 aired the pageant. There was a voting process and on social media, Elias constantly pleaded the public to vote for her to make it to the next round. By the 6th December Elias got only 0.02% of the votes.


People on social media are very disappointed in the organisers. They feel like the organisers neglected Elias and let her promote herself instead of letting her focus on the pageant and preparing herself. WeekendLife had reached out to Mr Benjamin Raletsatsi on the 29th November and asked him if he has any idea that Batswana don’t know that Elias needs votes and support from the country. He confirmed that he is aware but has no idea how to fix this and asked us to assist him with any help we might have.


“Please offer some assistance, we voted on another platform,’’ he said. “There were a lot of challenges and we incurred costs we didn’t budget for but like we said in our five-year plan, the first year we are going to observe, and she is going to be our ambassador.’’ Moitshepi arrived Thursday afternoon from China. Her family was there to welcome her home.


Her parents were rather emotional and angry.  “We were told we were going to be taken to China to go support her, it didn’t happen. She went to represent Botswana, but I don’t know which Botswana she represented because Botswana o bihitse ngwaneke [Botswana snubbed my child]. There was a lot of turning down. She asked for assistance from Office of the President and Ministry of Youth and the Permanent Secretary asked Moitshepi to turn down the opportunity [to go to China]. She had no support at all!’’ Moitshepi’s father said.


‘’She did not have wardrobe, she did not have make-up, she had to share make-up with other contestants. Why would things change when it comes to my daughter as if she is not a citizen? Ngwanake o sotlegile, o diragaletswe ke dilo tsedi botlhoko tota [my child suffered, she experienced painful things] I am afraid she won’t even get what she was promised. It’s the first time seeing or talking to Mr Raletsatsi ever since Moitshepi went to China. We are not happy.’’


WeekendLife asked Raletsatsi why the public was not informed that Moitshepi is coming back just in case her fans and friends wanted to come welcome her home. He said: “We decided to keep this as low as possible. We will post pictures on Facebook.’’ Despite what she went through, Moitshepi said she is very happy to be home and is looking forward to focusing on her project that she will soon disclose. She said she has learnt a lot from China and Miss World and cannot wait to use what she learnt to change the perspective about pageantry in the country.


“I was surprised to be making headlines in China when I know that I was not talking to any newspaper in China. Batswana don’t understand that every negative comment they post on my post on my posts are seen all over the world and it affects my marks during the pageant,’’ said Moitshepi.


Vanessa Ponce de Leon made history to become the first Miss Mexico to be crowned Miss World 2018. The 2018 pageant took place in the Sanya City Arena in Sanya, China. The 26-year-old winner beat 117 other contestants, including runner up, Miss Thailand Nicolene Limsnukan, Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo, who came third, and other finalists from Belarus, France, Scotland, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Mauritius, Nepal, and New Zealand. Botswana failed to make it to top 30 while South Africa, Uganda and Nigeria are the only African countries that made it to top 30.

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