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Right candidate for the crown

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Once she was crowned the opinions started to rage. Social media was alight with both negative and positive, but mainly negative comments. The gripe was that she was not black enough or she did not represent the Motswana woman; her critics went as far as wanting her to be substituted with either the first or second princesses.

Difficult as it was, the mature 19-year-old from Mmadinare village did her best to focus on her task at hand and leave the naysayers aside. “People spoke about different issues including the colour of my skin not being dark enough for the crown. I was very sad. My initial thoughts were that I am not being accepted. I had to quickly change my attitude and realise that people will always talk. I will never be the number one for everyone. I chose to focus on thinking that I am the right candidate for the crown.”

The beautiful and friendly Mabengano had to develop a thick skin quite early in life. The bombardment of negativity from her critics only served to make her stronger. She reveals that her mother passed away when she only 14 years, she has since been raised by her aunts and uncles. She also has an older brother who is now 23-years-old.

“There was a time when I was young and my mother was the only thing I had. I then lost her and learnt a lot- most importantly to depend on myself, and not on other people.” Mabengano is aware that everything happens for a reason and has since accepted her loss.

“I have people who have played their role in my life since my mother passed on and I would not be here without them – my aunts and uncles.” On the night she was crowned all her loved ones were there and she is happy she made them proud.

Being genuine and original is something that she prides herself in. “I like to say ‘be original and don’t repeat legacies’. Sometimes when you look at people you see a little bit of Beyonce or Rihanna. You have to be you at all times.” The pretty face has had to suspend her Design Studies until 2017, when her year of reign ends. Her project for the ‘beauty with a purpose theme’ is called, ‘They need us’.

She started the project after a visit to Princess Marina Hospital where she had discussions with social workers who explained that there are abandoned children in the hospital who have no home to go to due to poverty.

“The project ‘They need us’ aims to nurture and protect these children who are underprivileged, sick and abandoned. We want to bridge the gap between social workers and the community. We will aim to give emotional support to the children; play, talk and mobilise resources for them to help with food, clothes and housing. I hope the next beauty queen will also take it over.”  

Despite the backlash after her crowning, Mabengano is adamant that she would have still entered, that she has no regrets. “I have always wanted to be an influential woman and I saw Miss Botswana as providing the first step to this goal. Miss Botswana is actually not about me, it is about what I can do for the people of Botswana. What I will bring to the table.”

Missosology.org, a pageant site also ran with the story of the backlash Miss Botswana received based on the social online commentary by Batswana. In conclusion the article’s writer stated that, ‘Unfortunately, racism though goes both ways. If the European nations are hailed for crowning dark skinned women, why do fair skinned women get bashed in most of the African nations? If we expect that being black should not impede victory, why should being white be fair? But what Botswana should do in the future is to clearly define the criteria so that they can fully justify the winner regardless whether she’s black, white, yellow or green skinned for that matter.

This is the 21st century. Haven’t we learned enough from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that we shouldn’t be judged by the colour of our skin but by the content of our character?’

Tshepo Maphanyane, the event organiser says they will continue to host the pageant and to meet all the international requirements set. “I am hesitant to comment about the criticism from Batswana. We have set standards we must meet, based on how Miss World operates. All I can humbly emphasise is that people should seek clarity and information to gain a better understanding before criticising.” Maphanyane explains that they are more motivated than ever to host the next Miss Botswana.

The idea is that the public must be involved with the pageant from the starting phases of the competition, when they skim down the contestants. “We are very ambitious about the next pageant but we need a lot of support from the public, starting with the auditions to the end of the competition.

Everyone should know that they have a role to play because after all this country and this beauty queen representative is ours, together. Whether we win or lose at the Miss World pageant we are in this together.” Maphanyane urges the public to take ownership of the pageant because without the public support the pageant will be not run. “We need the support of the public to run the pageant. Lastly we need financial support we cannot be able to run this project without finances.”

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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