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Catwalk queen eyes continental glory

Khahliso Khama
MASERU — Catwalk queen Nomazondo Mphakisoane faces her biggest challenge yet when the 23-year-old stunner represents Lesotho at the inaugural Miss University Africa beauty pageant scheduled for May 7 in Abuja, Nigeria.
The reigning Miss IEMS and Miss Intervarsity, who has become one of Lesotho’s leading models in recent times, will be among 53 beauty queens representing different countries at the intercontinental varsities pageant.
But inspite of the frightening odds, Nomazondo remains optimistic of bringing home the glittering crown and winner’s cash prize of $10000.
Nomazondo appears to draw confidence from her latest feat — that of dazzling her way to the 2009 Miss Intervarsity title, in the face of fierce competition by beauties from Swaziland, Botswana and Lesotho.
“Winning the Miss Intervarsity title (which ultimately led to her being chosen as Lesotho’s representative in Nigeria) was particularly tough, since it also involved contestants from Swaziland and Botswana,” the 1.69 metre-tall beauty told Xpress People on Wednesday. “It will be equally tough in Nigeria but I’m looking forward to the pageant and feel optimistic about my chances.
“It is unbelievable that I will be leaving in a few months time to represent Lesotho at such a prestigious competition. This is so incredible and a real steppingstone for my modelling career.”
Yet it has not been smooth-sailing for the gangling bombshell from Ha-Thetsane, who speaks of being teased for her looks as a young girl.
“As a kid, I used to hate being so tall. I was a laughing stock way back in primary school because I was both very tall and bony. This went on through my high school at Thetsane where I completed my studies a very miserable student,” Nomazondo said.
That source of misery is now presenting her with opportunities, a development which  now amuses Nomazondo.
And despite the pageant falling right in the middle of her academic calendar, Nomazondo — a third-year business management   student at the Institute of Extra Mural Studies — insists she would not miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 
“I will simply have to go the extra mile to catch-up with my studies when I return. This is an opportunity I wouldn’t want to miss.”
Meanwhile, Rajoc Hair and Beauty Salon, who are the Miss University Africa representatives in Lesotho and are part-bankrolling Nomazondo’s trip, told Xpress People contestants would join a boot camp in Nigeria ahead of the pageant.
“All the 53 contestants will join a training camp in April which will prepare them for the pageant. Lots of incredible prizes will be up for grabs, in addition to the winner’s prize of $10 000.”
“The Miss University Africa Pageant is a non-bikini pageant committed to promoting and celebrating the beauty and innate potential of students on the African continent. It also provides the winner with a platform to discuss issues of vital social importance.
“MUA aims to be one of the most recognised and respected pageants in the world, and one that unites African students and the wider African community. Hence, MUA’s overall goal is to discover intelligent and beautiful ladies, unlock their innate potentials, unify university students/youths in Africa and promote African culture,” said Rajoc Hair in a statement.

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