‘Le­sotho set to host ac­claimed pageant’

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE Moun­tain King­dom is set to mark another mile­stone by host­ing the Miss Deaf Africa 2016 next May, the pageant’s CEO Noku­lutha Mbatha has said.

Mbatha made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing the Beauty Pageant As­so­ci­a­tion of Le­sotho (BPAL) fundraiser for beauty queens on Satur­day.

Miss Deaf Africa is an an­nual beauty pageant that be­gan in 2012. Among its ob­jec­tives is mo­ti­vat­ing and in­spir­ing dis­abled chil­dren to be­lieve in them­selves and not let their dis­abil­ity stand in their way.

The event is also meant to high- light cul­tural di­ver­sity, beauty and the po­ten­tial of young deaf women across the African con­ti­nent.

The pre­vi­ous edi­tion of the pageant was held in Hec­tospruit, Mpumalanga province, South Africa in May this year, and won by Mosotho stun­ner, Tl­hokomelo Sabole from Qeme.

Ac­cord­ing to Mbatha, who hails from Swaziland, the 2016 edi­tion of the ac­claimed pageant will be held in Le­sotho.

“It is with great plea­sure that I an­nounce Le­sotho as the host of the fifth edi­tion of Miss Deaf Africa which will be next May,” she said.

“The cur­rent Miss Deaf Africa, Thlokomelo Sabole, who hap­pens to be a Mosotho, is the rea­son for my fly­ing all the way from Swaziland to grace this event.

“I was inspired by her de­ter­mi­na­tion to win the ti­tle even though she had al­ready won the sec­ond princess ti­tle in 2014. That, how­ever, did not de­ter her from her goal of win­ning the main ti­tle which she fi­nally did this year.”

Mbatha said the pageant also served the role of men­tor­ing fu­ture lead­ers and am­bas­sadors, adding that they should be ac­corded sup­port and not be dis­crim­i­nated against or abused.

She also noted that if prop­erly utilised, pageants could also im­mensely ben­e­fit the econ­omy as av­enues for the pro­mo­tion of tourism.

How­ever, BPAL chair­per­son, Tlali Tlali, said the as­so­ci­a­tion had not been for­mally in­formed of the host­ing of the pageant, adding that it was be­ing or­gan­ised by Miss Deaf Africa and the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho.

Con­tacted for com­ment this week, the Min­istry of Tourism, En­vi­ron­ment and Cul­ture’s Di­rec­tor of Cul­ture, Moliehi Ntene, said the pro­posal was still to be fi­nalised.

“We re­cently got a propo­si­tion from Mbatha about host­ing the pres­ti­gious Miss Deaf Africa pag- eant here next year and she is yet to come again to en­lighten us on the ways it can be used to boost our econ­omy,” she said.

“We are go­ing to en­gage with the lo­cal pageants as­so­ci­a­tion since they are the peo­ple who know more about them than us. We will also in­volve the Le­sotho Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion which di­rectly deals with mar­ket­ing tourism in the coun­try.

“We are al­ready ex­cited be­cause Miss Deaf Africa will not only boost tourism but crafters, hos­pi­tal­ity ar­eas and lo­cal artistes will ben­e­fit too for we will be host­ing many for­eign tourists.”

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