Crowned Miss Botswana at a glittering event in Gaborone over the weekend, Lesego Chombo is set to fill in Palesa Molefe’s big shoes as Batswana’s most favourite and popular beauty queen.

The coronation night officially marked the end of Palesa’s successful reign that united Batswana in the course of a difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic and actually restored enthusiasm for the Miss Botswana brand, setting high standards that the new queen must now surpass.

“The one thing I have for Batswana is my service through my project that is targeted to underprivileged communities, especially children,” said the new queen, Lesego. “I am looking forward to sharing myself with the world through my skills, character, passion and intelligence.”

Tshepo Nthaga was crowned First Princess while Sebaga Manyapetsa became Second Princess.

Who is Lesego Chombo
Twenty four-year-old Lesego Chombo was arguably the strongest contender at the Miss Botswana competition with her intelligence, eloquence and optimism. From the onset, the Maun native was confident about winning the coveted crown, and when finally she did, Batswana took to her like an insect to light.

Chombo is a practicing attorney, a staunch Christian and an astute pageantry fanatic whose greatest aspiration is to become Miss World early next year. She aims to add value to everything she does and has said so in so many words.

Her Beauty With A Purpose project is about creating a conducive environment for economically disadvantaged children.

People who serve
The project entails taking the children through developmental programmes that will equip them with skills and encourage behaviour that will improve their emotional, social and cognitive standards.

In answer to a question about the relevance of beauty contests, Chombo said nobles of pageantry are people who serve. “Pageants for a long time have been merely associated with beauty but they have evolved to mean intelligence, love for the community and service,” she said.

“That’s what a queen means to me, and those kinds of people are still relevant. Whoever impacts change in their community no matter the platform is relevant.”

Tasked with the job of selecting the country’s new queen, chief judge at Miss Botswana, Lorato ‘Lala’ Tebogo, said it was a tough journey because they had pre-judging sessions before the coronation night.

Tebogo said the assignment was a nerve-wrecking experience because they were tasked with selecting a queen for a nation that is outspoken; one that will not compromise on standards.

“We made the decision to crown Chombo in the full confidence that she fit the bill as the best queen of the nation,” she asserted. “We were looking for a diverse queen who would fit in a lot of roles in different spaces.”

“Besides her beauty, we chose someone who will represent the country ably and adjust in different spaces. Lesego Chombo is relatable, friendly, intelligent and willing to serve.”

Privileged occasion
The coronation of the new Miss Botswana was a privileged occasion and a historic moment for Botswana that was done in the presence of reigning Miss World, Karolina Bielawska.

The special instance was a manifestation of the friendship between the Polish beauty and erstwhile Miss Botswana, Palesa Molefe, who impressed many around the world with her outstanding poise and confidence when she stepped onto the Miss World stage in Puerto Rico in December last year, especially in events leading to the finale that was eventually held on 16 March 2022.

Said Bielawska: “Palesa just started her foundation and I just wanted to say we are all very proud of her. I would like to thank Batswana for the warm welcome. I have had the opportunity to see some of your wildlife, diamonds that made your country but I truly believe that the best diamonds you have are your people who are full of passion and love.”

Palesa launches foundation
Meanwhile, former Miss Botswana Palesa Molefe launched her own foundation styled Palesa One Molefe Foundation last week.

She has been championing children’s mental health as her Beauty With A Purpose project. Palesa’s new foundation will be all-encompassing and will include her creativity as an actress.