08 May 2009

Young Muslim beauty can't believe it's true

he newly crowned Miss Botswana queen Sumaiya Marope, 22, says she is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that she has just won the title.

Yesterday morning, the Ramotswa- born queen said she rolled from her bed and fell onto the floor, just to convince herself that she was not in dreamland about her newly found fame.

"I don't know; I'm still trying to figure out whether I'm still dreaming or not. This morning I fell from bed just to check if this is not a dream. It was painful...that's when I realised I wasn't dreaming," she said with a broad smile.
Pain is deeply rooted in the beauty queen's Arabic name, Sumaiya, which was given to her by her Muslim father. Sumaiya, she says, is a name of the first female martyr in Islam. The beauty queen describes herself as a Muslim. " My father is a Muslim, his family is Muslim. I go to the mosque as many times as I can', reveals the beauty.

Her family watched her steal the show on Saturday night. "Everybody was there, it was beautiful, my mom, father, my sister, uncle and auntie, everybody," she told Showbiz.

She says they also stayed and celebrated with her until the wee hours of the morning in her room at the Grand Palm Hotel. "In the morning I had breakfast with my family, as well as lunch, that's how we decided to celebrate the crown."

The helicopter ride? "I felt butterflies in my stomach. It was exciting. But we didn't do much, due to the weather, we didn't manage to fly, we just sat there...it was the weather, it was raining heavily".

Sumaiya is studying for a degree in International Business at Limkwokwing University.

She already holds certificate in marketing management. She also says she studied drama too. "I'm a stage performer, I enjoyed it very much (acting). In fact it gave me the motivation to be come what I am . But right now, I'm not thinking of following up acting, not now," she says, her face lighting up with happiness.

On winning the P300, 000 Mercedes Benz car, she says: "It is an indescribable feeling. It is not everyday that you get a car - a P300, 000 car like that, it is a wow!"

Sumaiya says she does not have a driver's licence for now, but she cannot wait to have one. "I'm planning on getting one," she said. Monday morning she did not have the Benz yet. She had not yet changed it into her name, but she is confident it is only a matter of time now before everything falls into place.

" I don't know where it is right now. Perhaps it is at Naledi Motors."

" It is an elegant car, I love elegance, as Miss Botswana queen. As a young person my other choice would be a 7 Series."

She also reveals that according to the terms of her contract she is not allowed to sell the car during her 12-month reign.

But would she swap anything for it? " Not now. I would treasure it. It will help me reminisce on how I got it. It is a special memory."

Sumaiya has not decided yet whether she will have to suspend her academic programme to fulfill her busy schedule as the Miss Botswana.

" We are only beginning to plan what kind of activities I will be involved in; so we will see. But if push comes to shove, we will have to strike a balance, I might have to do part time."

She says she is aware of rumours that started flying to the effect that she did not deserve the title.

"I have heard that. But I was taught that people will always try to bring you down, but the important thing is to keep your head up."

What is she going to do with her P50, 000 bursary prize? " I don't know.