Last Tuesday, reigning Miss Botswana, Sumaiya Marope, and her princesses, Naledi Williards and Emma Warrius, received Green Bracelets donated by American mogul, Russell Simmons, through his initiative Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF); a nonprofit organisation that raises money to economically empower disadvantaged communities in diamond rich African nations.
The Green Bracelet is a symbol of the Diamond Empowerment Fund and designed by Simmon’s own company, Simmons Jewelry Co. It is made of malachite stone beads strung onto a green elastic band, with a (conflict free) rough diamond encased in a diamond shaped stainless steel case, and retails at US$125 (P 862.50).
However, the green bracelets handed to Marope, Williards and Warrius on Tuesday are reportedly valued at US$1200 (P 8280).
Speaking to Sunday Standard, Thapelo Pabalinga, CEO of LeapFrog Communications, co-organisers of the event, said that to the best of his knowledge, US$1200 is what the bracelets are worth, “probably it’s a higher grade of the diamond, I can’t really say,” he said.
“We certainly didn’t buy the green bracelets to pass them off as being sponsored by Russell Simmons,” Pabalinga said. He added that all who were present at the Miss Botswana ceremony witnessed Russell Simmons via satellite link, including footage of his visit to the Debswana’s Jwaneng Diamond Mine, and also saw him confirming that he sponsors the three top women with a Green Bracelet each.
Pabalinga also cemented Bissau Gaobakwe’s declaration on Tuesday that indeed, they had sat down with Russell Simmons during his visit to Botswana in 2007, to work together through the Diamond Empowerment Fund.
Meanwhile, reigning queen, Sumaiya Marope, whose prizes also includes an SLK Mercedes Benz and a P50 000 education bursary, has announced three projects that she will work on during her reign. The first being environmental conservation, which she will work on with Mokolodi Nature Reserve, enabling young children to learn about the environment and wildlife.
She will work on encouraging HIV testing and, lastly, advocates for privatised jails, which would improve rehabilitation of criminals. She added that her aim is to be helpful to Batswana during her reign.