A diamond in the rough is currently being polished to represent Botswana at this year’s Miss Universe pageant, scheduled for November 9th in Russia at which organizer, Safie Sekgwa, is confident that since Batswana have clinched it before, they can bring it home again.
Currently ranked at position 34 out of 132 countries, Sekgwa is certain that through the virtues of respect and advocacy for human rights, Batswana will once again provide a reigning queen to follow in the footsteps of former Miss Universe, Mpule Kwelagobe.
The initial auditions were a two-day trial where entrants were narrowed down to 30, and who were further shortlisted to the current 12 finalists who will be vying for the title at a date and venue to be disclosed at a later date.
The selection criteria of the 12 finalists was not limited to the mere physique of the entrants but also their intellect and their ability to hold conversations, their grasp of culture, current affairs and confidence, through a bikini parade, to be able to represent the country well on an international arena.
Sekgwa reiterated that their core mandate as the organizers was to establish a sense of responsibility in their contestants to be ambassadors of change. He further cited advocacy against gender-based violence, child abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, promotion of the rights of women and providing equal opportunities to all in their endeavors.
Being the “face of change” is the campaign they are targeting for this year as, according to Sekgwa, they intend to groom the forthcoming Miss Universe Botswana to be a leading example and an inspiration to the youth.
Like any project of this magnitude, the pageant has also experienced its hurdles, specifically with the scouting, which ultimately led to all auditions being held in Gaborone.
Sekgwa explained at a media briefing that for the past two consecutive years they, as organizers, had tried to conduct a nationwide search which had proven to be difficult due to the extremely low turnouts in the respective locations.
However for 2013, the search, conducted only in Gaborone, had garnered contestants from as far as Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and proved to be more effective than the initial nationwide search.
Their target as Miss Universe Botswana are High School students to steer them in the right direction, giving them advice and guidance.