More than 10 Years Later, BW to Make a Glorious Return to Miss Universe

  • The excitement around Botswana’s return to Miss Universe is palpable both within the country and abroad


After a decade-long absence, Botswana is set to reclaim its spotlight on the international stage with its return to the prestigious Miss Universe competition.

In 1999, Mpule Kwelagobe became the last Miss Universe of the century, winning the crown in the country’s first-ever entry in the beauty pageant.

After a hiatus, Botswana is now poised to make a triumphant comeback, demonstrating its evolution and resilience over the past decade.


“Since 1999 when Mpule won the coveted title, there was no sponsorship support and we couldn’t participate for the past 10 years,” said the Assistant National Director of Miss Universe Botswana, Omphile Phuthego, in an interview.

“We are back as Lebopo Citizen Consortium, which is a team of entrepreneurs and licence holders of Miss Universe Botswana. We have expertise in different areas and have pulled our resources to make a huge comeback.”

Botswana’s decision to re-enter Miss Universe reflects a renewed commitment to celebrating its diverse beauty and empowering its young women.

Eagerly anticipated

With a rich cultural heritage and a burgeoning pool of talented individuals, Botswana’s re-entry on the global pageant scene is eagerly anticipated.

According to Phuthego, the goal is to deliver an inclusive platform that enables women, regardless of social and economic standing, to pursue their personal and professional goals and make their dreams come true.

“Our auditions will start on April 13 in Francistown, then Palapye on April 14 and Gaborone on 20 and 21 April,” she said.

Three locations deliberate 

“Our choice of three locations is deliberate because in the past we held auditions across the country at great expense and had a low turnout.

“As long as you are above the age of 18, you qualify to audition. This is why the pageant is called the biggest celebration of women because we don’t have impossible requirements.”

As preparations for the competition intensify, Botswana is expected to select a representative who embodies the essence of the nation.

This should be someone who exudes confidence, intelligence and compassion because the chosen delegate will have the honour of representing the country in Mexico in September this year.

Meanwhile, the pageant is appealing to potential sponsors to come on board and become a part of this fascinating pageantry story.

The National Director of Miss Universe Botswana, Safie Sekgwa, told Time Out: “Beauty pageants are our strength as a developing economy and the country prides itself in selling its beauty.

“Pageants are an effective global marketing platform. This is why as an ambitious economy seeking to become a high-income economy, we should rely more on them to amplify our nation’s brand, attract inward investment, and showcase our unique tourism product on the global stage.”

The excitement around Botswana’s return to Miss Universe is palpable, both within the country and abroad, not least because of the nostalgic reverberations from 1999 when the world was awed by Mpule Kwelagobe’s beauty and intellect.

As the next competition draws nearer, anticipation continues to grow, with fans eagerly awaiting the chance to cheer Botswana’s representative on a global stage.