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MBABANE – Pageant season is underway but beware of fraudulent organisers, who are defiant over national pageants rules, and the worst part is that young girls are in danger.

The Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC) along with the National Pageants Association in the kingdom are furious and greatly concerned over the safety of young girls who aspire to tap into the modeling and beauty sphere as pageant imposters have increased. Currently, there are three pageants that are claiming to be the official Miss Teen Eswatini. One of them is set to host its crowning on September 10. The main concern is that these fraudsters refuse to register with the pageants association in the kingdom. Or just to make an effort to acquire consent from their contestant’s guardians. There are universal laws that protect children under the age of 18 years; one set rule over minors is that their parents/guardians should be involved in everything that they partake in to ensure their safely.

“The safely of these young girls comes first and we are very worried, especially because these people refuse to abide by the rules of running national pageants, ones that involve underage minors. On their official pages on Facebook, they have posted pictures of their current finalists, which is a  direct violation against the POPIA Act. A responsible party may, subject to Section 35, not process personal information concerning a child posted on September 17th to October 18th 2019.  The POPI Act sets out the minimum standards regarding accessing and ‘processing’ of any personal information that belongs to another. The Act defines ‘processing’ as collecting, receiving, recording, organising, retrieving, or the use, distribution or sharing of any such information.  

When reached for comment, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer, Superintendent Phindile Vilane shared the sentiments of the safety concern of the councils committee, and advised that they were opening their doors to them for discussions on how to protect the girls. This publication managed to contact the director of one of the pageants, Teen Festival Miss Teen Eswatini. During the first call, they were under the impression that the caller was a potential contestant.


One thing that stood out and justified the concerns of the ENCAC was that they never asked to have guardians’ contact details even after they were asked if it was needed. They were more concerned about informing the ‘potential’ contestant that they needed to have a ball gown and bikini ready for their official crowning which is scheduled to happen at the Theatre Club in Mbabane. When reached again for an official comment after alerting the ‘director’ that he spoke to a journalist of this publication, they were quizzed about their defiance with registering with ENCAC. The director refused to disclose his name, or any information about their internal systems. After he was engaged by this reporter about the dangers of their event, he finally said that they would meet up as a team and consider registering under the relevant structures in the kingdom before they host their official event.

It’s worth noting that when a citizen is interested in hosting a national beauty pageant, they are obligated to register with the ENCAC, which is an administrative organisation, under the Ministry of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs. They have delegated powers, to preserve, promote and co-ordinate all matters of Arts and Culture, in the Kingdom, of Eswatini, supervised by the Directorate Office under the ministry.

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