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 highlight 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 pageant 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.”