Twenty-five-year-old Neo Barkaath from Qabo in the Gantsi district was crowned Miss RADP 2016 at Botho University on Saturday night.
She has won a cash prize of P10,000, jewellery set worth P8,000 from Malaika Gemstones and project money of P50,000. She beat other 13 finalists from seven different RADP settlements. Mompoloki Rachocho from Zoroga in the Central District was crowned the first princess while 22-year-old Morelo Sango from Khwai in the Northwest won the second princess title. Rachocho won a cash prize of P7,000 while Sango walked away with P5,000.
It was a tight competition from the onset, but Baarkath outlined her intentions to win the title from the beginning by impressing the judges during the traditional attire segment. Her dance also showcased Basarwa way of living by gathering wild fruits. She was proud of her Sesarwa roots and was also looking beautiful in the traditional garment.
The girls returned on stage with their evening gowns and they now had to fight their way into the top five. They were all looking stunning but the panel of five judges had to choose the best five.
Those in top five were Rachocho, Barkaath, Sango, Doreen Thau from Khawa and Kesetse Baoreng from Khwee. They were all asked random question and on top of that, the judges looked at other elements including talent, confidence and personality amongst others.
The queen was asked what she would do to tackle youth challenges in remote areas if she were crowned Miss RADP. “Youth in our area drop out from school, there are no jobs, we abuse drugs and alcohol and there are high cases of teenage pregnancy therefore I will work with the relevant stakeholders. We will aim to change the mindsets of these young people because the government has availed different programmes and we should take them serious and create jobs in the process,” she said. She said Setswana is a language barrier because most people in her area speak Sesarwa.
After all the questions, it was now down to the top three to work their way towards the title. The three women were evenly beautiful, talented and confident but the judges had
They were all asked the same question and the judges asked what would their role be to bring developments to their area if they won. Barkaath gave the best answer by outlining that the youth in the remote areas should understand RADP. She said people do not understand RADP no wonder they are lazy to capitalise from available government programmes. “I will provide relevant information so that they can learn to develop themselves and be successful by the year 2025,” she said. The event was graced by the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Botlogile Tshireletso. She said this year’s pageant is special in the sense that it comes at a time when Botswana is commemorating 50th anniversary as an independent state.
“It is pleasing to note that we have contestants from different settlements representing their districts with every pageant we host,” she said. Tshireletso said the contestants should remain positive in whatever they do regardless of their life circumstances because positive attitude is like a magnet for positive results.
For his part, the guest of honour and, the high commissioner of India to Botswana, Ketan Shukla said Miss RADP is a great empowerment initiative by the government. “The overall goal of the RADP is to achieve sustainable, social and economic development of people in the remote areas, through coordinated and integrated multi-sectoral approach,” he said. Shukla said the pageant will prepare the participants for a successful journey in life. The other finalists got a consolation prize of P2, 000 and a solar panel.
The participants were representing seven districts namely; Loogane (Kweneng), Kaudwane (Kweneng), Sekhutlane (Southern), Thankane (Southern), Kgomodiatshaba (Kgatleng), Phuduhudu (Kgalagadi), Khawa (Kgalagadi), Khwai (North West), D’kar (Gantsi), Qabo (Gantsi), Zoroga (Central) and Khwee (Central). The event was sponsored by Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Apex Properties, Lionpark Resort, ED Lights, Orion, Btv, Shahnaz Herbals, Scan Display, Liquorama, Choppies, Saktar Industries, Malaika Gemstones, ACFIT Architectural Solutions and FU Hui Import & Export.