Miss Hope pageantry instills Setswana culture

The objective of the bootcamp was to give the contestants an experience out of their comfort zone
The objective of the bootcamp was to give the contestants an experience out of their comfort zone

A Christian based beauty pageant, Miss Hope decided to take aspiring queens for a bootcamp at Gakgatla this past Independence holidays and teach them Setswana culture and ways young Batswana women are expected to behave.

About 27 contestants attended the event. Amongst them were 12 Miss Teen Hope International Botswana finalists and 15 Miss Hope International Botswana Finalists. The bootcamp ran from September 30 to October 3, 2021. In an interview with Arts & Culture, the pageant's director Tlhatlogo 'Sera' Madiba said the objective of the bootcamp was to give the contestants an experience out of their comfort zone.

She added that they wanted them to experience life outside the city and learn Setswana culture and survival skills. She also explained that they intended to teach the ladies team work spirit and character building. "We took our finalists to historical site of the area.

Kgosi Lenyetse Moshapa of Gakgatla welcomed and addressed the ladies regarding Setswana culture and morals while one of the old women in the village known as Matebele taught them cultural behavior of a Motswana woman right from childhood to adult hood. Our former Miss Teen Hope International Botswana 2017/18 and second Princess of Miss Teen Hope International Botswana 2017/18 also addressed the girls on how to handle criticism in pageantry industry, self branding and personal pageantry life journey," she said.

The ladies also visited Gakgatla community elders who taught them about culture in general."We decided to strictly eat Setswana food, we did not allow cell phone use, the girls cooked using firewood, and we slept in tents. We also made sure the bootcamp was fun by playing Setswana games and kept fit by hiking the historical hill where we discovered remains of ancient humans and animals that lived there the past centuries. Our contestants also cleaned and prepared food for themselves," Madiba pointed out.

She further explained that the boot camp champ award winner will be announced on November 27, 2021 at the grand finale, Cresta President Hotel. She also said there will be more activities held as a build up to the grand finale, like trashion show (where contestants would be expected to design clothes using trash), sponsored walk, snake visit and community service. In an interview with some of the contestants,Mililani Mathumo said her experience at the boot camp was educational and an eye opener.

She added that she learnt Setswana culture, how things were done back in the days, the kitchen utensils used, the mode of transport that was used and foods that were eaten like legodu, botatshe, selei just to mention but a few. For her part, Tshegofatso Kgabeng said her bootcamp experience gave her an opportunity to learn, to experience and to connect to nature and culture. She explained that she learnt a lot from that beautiful experience. She highlighted that some of the activities she enjoyed included sleeping in a beautiful farm in Gakgatla and learning that the village was named after a river that was attractive to the eye and produced very pleasant green pasture.

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