Keakopa beats challenges

Despite facing challenges ahead of the Pageant, Keakopa was named Misss Pan African Queen - Culture and Tourism
Despite facing challenges ahead of the Pageant, Keakopa was named Misss Pan African Queen - Culture and Tourism

Lebogang Keakopa, a young talented Motswana woman’s perseverance and passion to win an international beauty pageant have paid off.

Even though she did not win the Miss Pan Africa title due to some impediments she faced along the way, the young woman did not give up and gave her all in the competition and finally came home victorious. Having won Miss Pan African Queen Culture and Tourism was enough to put a smile on her face.

“Miss Pan African Queen is a continental pageant aimed at empowering young African women. It all started with online auditions, and from there I was selected to represent Botswana. I was battling against queens from other 28 African countries in Nigeria on November last year. I was late for camp because I encountered Visa problem during the last day of travelling. When I reached Nigeria, I had to reapply for another visa and wait for it before I could join other ladies in the pageant,” she said.

Keakopa explained that her journey towards the beauty pageant was not easy as she also faced financial constraints. Many companies and ministries turned down her initial plea for funds, she said. However, that did not demoralise her as she kept knocking on companies and individual doors where some good Samaritans came to her rescue.

Anneglo Fashions dressed her. An elder woman from Mmopane known as Mma Dliwayo offered her another traditional dress together with P1,000 cash.

As time went on with no one coming on board to help her, she decided to work hard on achieving sponsorships so that she could pay for her flight ticket and accommodation. Finally there was a light at the end of the tunnel as Gosego ‘Slymm’ Gaobowe who collaborated with Club Lagos raised funds for her through a show dubbed Ladies Invasion.

“We were able to cover part of the accommodation fees. Thato Seleka assisted with a voucher for spa treatment and facials. Phakalane English Medium also contributed P2, 000 towards my expenses. I was blessed with a few benefactors that came to my rescue and I am so grateful to them.  Meanwhile, Owl Photography also came in to do my videos and photo shoots in preparation for the main event,” she noted.

Against all odds she encountered, Keakopa was allowed to be on stage on the final day when she finally arrived. With the zero marks she had earned because she could not partake in camp where different aspects of activities that attributed to the marks that determine crowning,  she settled for the lesser title of Miss Pan African Queen Culture and Tourism and was awarded with Pan African Youth Leaders Award. This was because she was given an opportunity to talk about the beauty, nature and experience of her home country, Botswana, which she said she takes pride in.

She revealed that she was working on growing the pageantry industry in the country. Keakopa is currently taking part in Miss Beauty with Albinism as a chief adjudicator. She has also been blessed with being a judge for Miss Imperial Business School and Miss Nature.

She advised all other aspiring beauty queens in the creative industry to persevere in order to achieve their goal. She said when one aims to succeed in life she must be prepared to work hard advising that the future of the beauty industry lies in collaborations.

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