Getting to know Miss Africa Botswana queen

Miss Africa Botswana, Poelo Mookodi PIC: KABO MPAETONA
Miss Africa Botswana, Poelo Mookodi PIC: KABO MPAETONA

Its very rare for a single young mother to dream of being a model or to be crowned queen in a beauty pageant because of restrictions which always barred mothers from taking part in pageants. It was a dream come true for the single young mother, Peelo Mookodi, when she was crowned the first ever Miss Africa Botswana this past weekend.

Donning her diamond crown and a black outfit, she is seated quietly with the Miss Africa team at one of the upmarket restaurants in the Central Business District (CBD) of Gaborone.

Prior to the interview, the 21-year-old Ramotswa native was asked, “so how does it feel to wear the diamond studded crown?” Before responding she smiled and touched it, “ummmh it feels like a P100,000,” as she laughed.

Mookodi tells Showbiz that her interest in modeling started at a young age, influenced by her keen interest in television shows such as America’s Top Model.

“I have always carried leadership qualities since a tender age. At school I was a prefect and a house head, so I guess I got to build my character at high school,” she said.

At 14 years she relocated to South Africa to pursue her studies, and that is when she started practising modelling. She worked on a number of fashion shows in Johannesburg. “In most of these gigs I was not successful but I kept on trying”.

While trying her hand at modelling and TV presenting with Black Nation Media House, she fell pregnant. At the time, the 19-year-old was pursuing a degree in International Relations at the Wits University.

Being a mother meant she had to drop out of school to take care of her son and leave the entertainment industry for a while. She also had to come back home to Botswana after six years of living in South Africa.

It was only early this year when she discovered that the newly incepted pageant Miss Africa allows young mothers to participate.

“I joined this pageant with intentions of winning even though I knew the competition was going to be tough since all the girls were beautiful and intelligent.”

“You see during the auditions I even marked on November 7 that I will win this pageant,” she says,  showing Showbiz the entry in her diary.

Mookodi tells Showbiz that the excitement was short-lived as she discovered that all the attention is now on her and she has a huge responsibility as the first ever Miss Africa Botswana.

 “I really want to create a mark and leave a legacy. I am working on a project called ‘From Teen to Queen’.

"The project focuses on helping young struggling mothers to establish careers.” She adds that she also wants to help young people. “I want to take advantage of the title and network with individuals that can help develop the youth.”

Quizzed on how she will spend her P100,000, she states matter-of-factly: "I will invest some of the money. I will also use some of it to raise my son and look after my family.”

Mookodi will be representing the country at the first ever Miss Africa pageant that will be hosted in the country next year.

After stepping down as Miss Africa Botswana she is planning on venturing into the media industry. She is currently pursuing her studies in Business Administration at the University of Botswana. n Botswana.

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