Twenty-two -old Palesa Molefe from Mochudi has been crowned Miss Botswana 2021/2022.
Under the theme “Unearthing a New Jewel”, the Miss Botswana grand finale was held over the weekend of November 5-6 at Limkokwing University Hall of Fame where Molefe was crowned the fairest of them all.
Strong-willed ambitious and resilient, Molefe often sheds a tear when she speaks about her past.
Having been brought up by a single parent, the beauty queen believes her hardships have helped mould her into the woman she is today.
Before she heads out to José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum in Puerto Rico for the Miss World finale in two weeks, she stopped by The Voice offices to speak to Sharon Mathala. The Southern Times reporoduces excerpts of that conversation.
Q: For the benefit of those who may not know your profile how would you introduce yourself?
A: By profession I am actor, producer and content creator and I am your Miss Botswana 2021.
Q: Let us into your childhood
A: Well I am the only child. I was raised by a very beautiful strong woman. She tried her very best to make sure I have the best in life and I felt that throughout my life even when things were hard.
Growing up I changed schools a lot. I don’t think I have ever been at the same school for more than two years; I have been to more than eight school and I think that is pivotal because it helped shape my interpersonal skills and being able to relate to different people.
I have never been one for girl cliques. You see, when you are in a clique it is a form of security, you feel like you belong. But I reached a point of a sense of individuality and knowing who I truly am.
I was never myself when with those groups because we spent a lot of time trying to fit in but the question is who are you when no one is around? I reached a point where early on I decided to learn and unlearn things and how to redirect my own life away from girl clicks.
Q: Take us to the time after you completed your formal schooling.
A: When I completed my formal school, my mother had just lost her job and she got into a state and I needed to step up and provide.
I had to work after Form 5 and I have been working ever since, I have never opened up about this but I had to own up to the responsibilities that come with life.
I do have intentions of going back to school though. But I do not feel less than a lady next to me who has a degree, I know education is important but we also need to learn things on the side that enhances that education.
Q: And now after such hardships you are crowned Miss Botswana…
A: It warms my heart and makes me emotional because it is the validation that I need that I am still worthy even if I did not go to school for four years, but don’t get me wrong I am not disregarding education but it is just that we have different paths and every story is valid.
Q: Tell us about your acting career.
A: I have always loved being in front of the camera. I remember when I was in primary school I got into a pageant and I won my very first pageant, but that fizzled out as I grew older because one cannot entirely depend on that for income.
I was looking to maybe go into the medicine fraternity but that was just not me.
And now with the advent of smart phones I found myself recording a monologue one day and kept on doing it. I had great mentorship from Tefo Paya and he has also helped shape my acting career in a big way.
I had my big break with my role on The Star on UPIC TV and the feedback is amazing.
Q: Does this then mean your acting career will be put on hold now that you are Miss Botswana?
A: Unfortunately yes because with this now it means I serve Batswana and Botswana. There are responsibilities that come with this piece of jewel on my head. It means that it is my season of serving and working.
The acting will be on a pause but the creativity won’t stop.
Q: What would you say are some of the highlights from your Miss Botswana journey?
A: Definitely learning how to dance traditional dance. I have always wanted to learn how to dance traditional dance but never got the opportunity to.
It would also be bonding with the other sisters and creating friendships that will last a lifetime.
Q: What was going through your mind when your name was called for the top 5, top 3 and eventually the winner?
A: (Laughs) To be honest, at first I did not believe it. In fact I had a moment of hesitation, at some point I was not sure if it was my name being called out. I remember as I was walking to the front I zoned out and had a little conversation with myself.
Q: And who is the first person you called after winning?
A: Well a little causality happened with my phone. I lost it.
Q: What did your mother say to you after winning?
A: She said “galalela” (shine on). Just like my name Palesa it means flower, it means to bloom. So she told me to go on child, go and blossom to the world.
Q: What is your beauty with a purpose project that you will present at the Miss World stage?
A: My project is about superheroes. It is about teachers. I believe teachers possess super talents and superpowers. They are entrusted with the responsibility of grooming future leaders and I am of the view that there is not much done to support them to achieve this.
I will be holding workshop with teachers for stress management and personal development. For them to create safe spaces for future generation they too need to be ok. – The Voice