TWENTY-YEAR old Kamohelo Mohapi walked away M20 000 richer on Saturday after winning the Miss Tertiary Institutions 2015 pageant held at the National University of Lesotho’s (NUL) Netherlands Hall in Roma.
The pageant was planned by the Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association (LPPA) and featured 18 contestants from various tertiary institutions in Maseru. It was meant to provide the youths with sexual health information and other related LPPA services.
Among the academies represented was Lerotholi Polytechnic, National Health Training College, Lesotho College of Education, Institute of Extra Mural Studies and NUL.
During the pageant, Tšepiso Thellane and Ntšeliseng Mohapeloa also clinched the first and second princess titles while taking home M10 000 and M5000 respectively. Mohapi, who is former Miss Lesotho, and her two princesses will serve as LPPA ambassadors over the year of their reign and work closely with the association in its campaigns. LPPA is currently focusing on educating young people about the escalating incidents of maternal mortality among youths and combating the stigma faced by HIV/AIDS patients.
Mohapi oozed confidence as she showcased poise, beauty, and brains by eloquently responding to the questions posed by judges.
The questions revolved around the strategies that needed to be employed to ensure young people could access health services. The contestants were also asked how they would use their position to encourage their peers to adopt healthy lifestyles.
A buoyant Mohapi told the Weekender after taking the crown that her research about LPPA’s mission and objectives gave her the edge over the other contestants.
“I was competing against experienced contestants, most of whom have won titles in the past. But through determination and effectively answering the questions given to me, I had an advantage over the others,” she said.
“I researched about LPPA because I knew the questions would be centered on the association’s programmes. Added to that, their activities are also in line with the course I am studying.”
The second year Bachelor of Arts in Humanities student at NUL said winning the title would help achieve her goal of inspiring the youth to fight the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and the high rate of maternal deaths among the youth.
“As a beauty queen, my main objective is to work closely with the community to change their lives for the better. I entered this pageant because I saw it as the perfect platform to address the challenges facing the youth,” she said.
“Tertiary students are greatly affected by the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate and maternal deaths because they sometimes try to keep their pregnancies a secret and don’t seek medical attention. Others resort to illegal abortions which increase the risk of death.”
She added: “I am going to use this title to help LPPA appeal to youths in different communities and schools through various campaigns.
“I also intend to encourage parents to talk to their children about the challenges we face as young people so that together we can make Lesotho a better place.”