The founder of the bible inspired Queen Esther Beauty Pageant, Vehae Tjiriange, has spread the parade to 20 countries around the world.
With 13 of those already staging their version of Queen Esther pageants following their successful acquisitions of licences from the Maun-based founder.
Since it started in 2010, the pageant has seen 13 countries to-date having their own reigning queens including European, American, Asian and African countries, according to the proud pageant creator.
Canada, the UK, France, Germany, USA, India are some of the reputable overseas countries with the reigning Miss Queen Esther. South Africa also has its Queen Esther, along with Nigeria, Madagascar, the DRC, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, among others.
Tjiriange says her office continues to sell the franchise to more countries. The founder has set up a website through which prospective franchise holders can contact her office.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Queen Esther pageant is scheduled for May 17 in Maun after a lull last year.
The Queen Esther pageant was launched in 2010 at Gaborone Sun, where Michele Marumo was the inaugural winner. Since then it has been staged in 2011 and 2012.
“Our plan is to crown a new queen every year to implement projects for the period of her reign.
“As the founder of this organisation, I am passionate about it and I’m always motivated to see that it takes place every year,” says Tjiriange.
The founder says the pageant aims to draw attention to the realities of HIV/AIDS, women’s issues, child abuse, orphans, foreigners, Tourism, and girl empowerment.
“This year our theme is ‘Empowering The Girl Child’,” she says.
“The focus of the Queen, First Princess and Second Princess will be to work on projects to empower the girl child and also to promote abstinence and behavioural change among young people as the best 100 percent prevention methods for HIV/AIDS, especially at primary schools,” she says.
“Lore lo ojwa lo sale metsi, if our young people can adopt a lifestyle of abstinence, then we can achieve our vision of zero new infections.
“The queen will be running workshops in primary schools covering topics of academic excellence, botho, as well as integrity’,” she says.
After selling franchises to 20 countries Tjiriange feels now could be the time for Botswana to stage an international pageant, the Queen Esther International, in Maun, where their offices are currently located.
However, there is the small issue of sponsorship, which is needed to make the aspirations of hosting the international event a success.
Tjiriange perceives the pageant as more than just a beauty parade, but rather an NGO that focuses on girl empowerment and promotion of abstinence and motivational speaking.
Queen Esther is a member of NCONGO (Ngamiland Council Of Non-Governmental Organisations), where Tjiriange is also a board member. NCONGO oversees and coordinates the efforts of NGOs in Ngamiland, Okavango and Chobe.
Though sometimes short of sponsors Tjiriange is proud that her reigning queen Lesego Chombo, is enjoying her winning prize of a two-year scholarship to study at an English Medium called Okavango International School. She is now a Form 5 student there.
“Our winners are groomed to be good role models, have impact and be productive members of society,” says Tjiriange.