Botswana: Miss Botswana Crown Tells Indigenous Story

Kanye — In most instances when the winner of a beauty pageant is announced, the focus is often on the radiance of her smile and the intelligence she projected when answering questions from the judges. The same can be said when 25-year-old Oweditse Phirinyane of Serowe was announced the winner of Miss Botswana 2019 recently.

As the factory hall in Selebi Phikwe was instantly converted into an atmosphere of cheers and ululations from the crowd, not much attention was drawn to the most significant object on her head, the crown or tiara which somehow defined her achievement and distinguished her from the rest of the contestants.

Her crown, made by a local company, La Calla Jewelleries, was the first to be designed and hand-made in Botswana from scratch. It also carries a beautiful story about Botswana and its people, especially the significance of a doek or head wrap on a woman. It has been made with blue, black and white diamonds to signify the colours found in the national flag

"The idea behind the crown was to use our indigenous resources to design something that was locally inspired and produced. For the first time, we wanted to have a locally-made crown that is also inspired by our traditions and natural resources," explained Development Advanced Institute (DAI) executive chairperson, Benjamin Raletsatsi.

He said they saw it appropriate to blend the concept with that of economic empowerment in their journey to deliver the final project that was Miss Botswana.

He said as the organisers of this year's Miss Botswana, they wanted to turn the project into a new challenge that would be able to create jobs and opportunities for people.

He explained that collaboration with the designers fulfilled the objective.

The precious crown has attracted attention from across the world, and a group of researchers from the University of Botswana is expected to showcase it in Europe this month as the first locally inspired design of its nature.

However, due to security, Raletsatsi said plans were underway to make a 3-D replica which the queen would wear on her engagements while the original crown was kept in a safe place.

The designer, and co-founder of La Calla Jewelleries, Caiphus Othomile said the excitement brought by the final product far outweighed the initial challenges encountered.

He does not regret the years that he went through to acquire jewelry design and manufacturing skills from countries such as South Africa and Germany.

"The crown is the most important aspect in a pageant, so we embarked on research with the help of the UB design and technology department because we wanted to design something that Batswana could relate with.

This was an opportunity to use indigenous material and natural resources to tell a story that would link Miss Botswana with the identity of a woman as usually seen in public spaces," he explained.

Othomile said they have also used beautiful stones from the SPEDU region to design some extra gifts that the queen would take with her to the 69th edition of Miss World pageant scheduled for December 14 in London.

The intention is to re-do the crown every year by melting and re-designing it to tell a different story as it rotates among the queens.

However, he pointed out that for it to be feasible, they needed sponsors who could take care of the budget, especially the pricy diamonds that add the glitz and glamour.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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