MASERU — Beauty queen Nomasondo Mphakisoane will finally leave for the United Kingdom tomorrow for the Miss World 2011 contest after an eight-month struggle to secure sponsorship for the trip.
Mphakisoane’s dream trip appeared to have been dashed until she received a call from the Ministry of Tourism on Monday.
She said she was told that her request for funding had finally been approved ending an eight-month struggle to secure funding.
Mphakisoane will however arrive in London late as all other contestants arrived in the UK on Thursday.
A delighted Mphakisoane told XpressPeople on Friday that she had lost all hope that she would be able to travel to the pageant.
“I am already very late. All girls were supposed to arrive in London on Thursday with activities commencing on Friday,” Mphakisoane said.
“I really thought my dream of participating at the international level had been shattered but thankfully there was a swift change of heart from the ministry and I am thankful for the opportunity.”
She said she was grateful that several private companies had also given her some financial help to make her trip a reality.
“The likes of Turning Point, Sports Scene and Sign World had already chipped in with most of the things I needed before the ministry came on board at the last minute,” she said.
Mphakisoane said the delay in finalising the trip reflected negatively on Lesotho.
“I am happy to leave but I’m also disappointed because the delay has reflected negatively on the country because of non-cooperation from the ministry (of tourism),” she said.
She said she received a call from the ministry on Monday afternoon telling her that her application for sponsorship had been approved.
“I received a call from the principal secretary of the Ministry of Tourism on Monday afternoon and only went to see him on Tuesday.
“He said the sponsorship letter he received from us didn’t have any dates so he was unaware that we were late. Anyway all I am thinking about now is my trip,” Mphakisoane said.
Coincidentally on Monday, Face of Lesotho national director Tlali Tlali wrote a scathing letter to Tourism Minister ‘Mannete Ramaili accusing her of bias in the selection of individuals sponsored by the ministry.
“We have been knocking on your door for the past eight months (from February to October) to date and nothing has come of our efforts,” Tlali wrote in the latter.
“The said lady (Mphakisoane), needless to mention how broken-hearted she is, now has to look forward to life with a missed opportunity because our government has failed her.”
Tlali then demanded a public apology from the minister adding “nothing short of this will satisfy our burning hunger for justice in this matter”.
Speaking to XpressPeople on Friday, Tlali said he believed the ministry only had a change of heart after reading the letter.
“I am glad the ministry finally came over,” he said.
“It is their responsibility to help towards the development of the local beauty and fashion industry and this means a lot to us,” Tlali said.
Mphakisoane was crowned Face of Lesotho 2011 earlier this year earning the right to take part at the Miss World contest in London.