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Ugly year for beauty pageants

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Just like the music industry, the pageantry sector was also left shuttered PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The local creative industry will take some to recover from the effects of Coronavirus and industry players would not want to be reminded of the year 2020.

This year has left many local creative minds stranded, hungry, angry and depressed as many lost their gigs and have not worked almost for the whole year due to COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in the government totally closing events to avoid mass gatherings. After local artists' long quest for the government to open up for events, the government took heed of their cries and opened up for events with very strict COVID-19 guidelines which among them included not allowing more than 50 people in a venue. This was a blow to many who decided to either cancel or postpone their events.

Just like local artists and music promoters, the pageantry industry was also left shuttered. Many beauty pageants are being either cancelled or postponed to next year. However, some beauty pageants directors have decided to continue hosting their pageants despite the consequences they would face afterwards. In an interview with Miss Little District Botswana and other kids beauty pageants director, Kefentse Gokganwang, said COVID-19 has negatively affected them. "It has affected me hugely. We are not able to do the beauty pageants even with this 50 people limit because pageants have expenses, and a lot of them can't be covered by ticket sale for 50 people. So making profit is impossible unless ticket prices are hiked and if the prices go up people don't buy tickets. I have a friend who tried to do the pageant with that 50 people limit but it flopped because people are crying with their own expenses. Some are afraid of COVID-19. They are afraid to risk their life to attend events.

They are afraid of being infected by the virus," she said. Gokganwang added that the virus affected their international pageants that made a better profit for her because she got commission through the children she goes with for the pageants. She explained that the commission enabled her to do a number of things and also sustain herself. She pointed out that not being able to travel any more affected her financial life too. For her

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part, MRS Botswana director, Kagalalelo Lesetedi said the COVID-19 year has been a challenging one. However she explained that hard work and dedication got to pay as they have to turn lemon into lemonade.

 "Most people gave up and we used that opportunity and managed to be the only brand that hosted and crowned the queen. It wasn't an easy one - but we managed to pull it through. Better than all other years as it was our first time to get a venue sponsor from Travelodge. Ever since we started in 2017 no organization has supported us this much. A challenge got us in terms of number of people allowed in. With 50 people we couldn't raise enough money for everything we need to do this term.

We afforded the deco, stage sound and lights but flight tickets for our team to go represent us internationally next year; accommodation and meals are still pending and need to raise funds or get sponsorship for that," she said. Lesetedi explained that most organisations that last year promised to sponsor turned them down saying their CSR funds had been used for COVID-19. She stated that the 50 people attendance limit was not survival. "It is challenging for leading brands like this one, results or success is not measured by profits but having managed to host the pageant this year is a great achievement we have made so far. This makes us to be able to continue serving as we had promised.

 As entrepreneurs we work hard to make money for survival, but we all know Rome was not built in a day. This is a year that needed people to show their commitments and how dedicated they are in what they do. We continue serving regardless of the challenges of life and it’s during such challenging times where our volunteerism services are needed the most. Our queen has already started her service, visiting villages of Botswana speaking to people about Gender based Violence that became worse during this COVID-19 times,” she further revealed.



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