Fight for legal rights over Mrs Namibia pageant headed to court

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By Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - The principals of Mrs Namibia and Mrs Namibia Godly Women have been quietly feuding for three years over the legal ownership of the pageant. Arminda Braziel who founded Mrs Namibia Agency that organised Mrs Namibia pageant is threatening legal action against Luzaan Blaauw for copyright theft.

Arminda Braziel who is also known by her divine name in ministry as Prophetess Destiny Angel is claiming to have copyrights of the name since 2007 before the inception of Mrs Namibia –Godly Woman Pageant.

Blaauw registered the Mrs Namibia Godly Women pageant with the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) in 2015 and has so far hosted two pageant.

The debut edition was hosted in 2016 followed by another in 2017 and preparations are at are underway to host the 2018 edition at the end of year. Mrs Namibia was also established to showcase and celebrate the beauty of married women.

But Braziel, who is now based in South Africa, is crying foul and accusing Blaauw of copyright theft. She stressed that it is only ethical for Mrs Namibia Godly to legally buy the rights to use the name that she initiated first.

“I registered the pageant at the Copyright Commission back in 2007 and this issue of registering under BIPA, I am not aware of it because I have been out of the country since 2013.  I got my copyright from Ministry of information and Broadcasting. 

“When I came up with Mrs Namibia, the idea behind the pageant was to celebrate married women and give them a platform to reach out to the community to share marriage experiences to single ladies so that they make informed marriage decision. 

“The pageant ambassadors was supposed to reach out to women on marriages, because married women and women in general go through a lot in their societies and need to share on the ways of navigating such problems, and also donate things to orphans,” said Braziel.

“The first edition of my pageant was held in 2007, the second edition in 2008, the third edition in 2009 and 2010 was the last edition before I started struggling with funding. Back in 2008, I saw this Luzaan lady posting things on Facebook about Mrs Namibia and at one point I went to confront her and told her to leave my idea alone and I thought she understood but surprisingly, I was told that she officially registered the pageant in 2015.”

Braziel narrated she decided to put the pageant on hold due to financial constrain and in that period pursued her divine calling in God’s ministry as a prophetess. During that period she relocated to South Africa to pursue her divine calling.

“What makes this case even feels like a betrayal is the fact that one of the judges I was working with on the other pageants I did is actually now working with this Luzaan lady, and to me it shows that they have been planning about it this the whole time. 

“At one time they were sending me messages telling me to just leave the pageant because I was neglecting it and yet I was just struggling financially.  I honestly feel like they are just teaming up against me just because I am black, they think that they are more superior to me,” she said.

Braziel she still wants to nurture her brainchild and as soon she is financially back on her feet she will resume operations. She plan to return to Namibia later this year or early next year to seek legal intervention.

However, Braziel could not produce copyright papers for Mrs Namibia saying she has misplaced them. Meanwhile, Blaauw has dismissed Braziel allegations saying that her pageant was officially registered with BIPA, which she produced them to The Southern Times during interview on Tuesday.

“This lady has been threatening me several times now and even my lawyer knows about the incidents.  She started threatening me two to three years ago.  I am not sure what her issues are but what I can say is that I am legally operating and not stealing anyone’s idea,” said Blaauw.

“Mrs Namibia Godly Women is a beauty pageant that focuses on Christian married women. It is a Christian based initiative meant to reach out to the less privileged. I have spoken to my lawyer about it and I was advised to put the matter on hold.  She has been sending messages and posting negative messages on our Facebook page and we just deleted and moved on with our vision.”

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