MASERU — Tebello Mapota, a social work student in England, will represent Lesotho at the sixth Miss Southern Africa UK beauty pageant in London on June 5.
The 21-year-old beauty told Xpress People she was confident of winning the crown although this will be her first time to take part in a beauty pageant.
“I believe in my potential to win and put Lesotho on a bigger map,” Tebello said.
The winner of the UK competition will proceed to the Miss Southern Africa finals set for Namibia on November 27.
“If I win I am going to represent Lesotho in the finals which will be held in Namibia on the 27th of November,” Tebello said.
“I will get to travel to different southern African countries and have the opportunity to know the challenges facing other countries.”
The University of Wolverhampton student — who has been staying with her mother and brother in the UK since 2005 — will be competing against 14 other beauties from Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
This is the first time that Lesotho is being represented in the pageant, founded by Conrad Mwanza of CM Events in 2004.
“I have never heard of an incident where Lesotho is represented internationally through activities of this kind, so I chose to the take the challenge and pursue one of my dreams,” Tebello said.
“It is easier for me because I only need to bring an evening gown and shoes with traditional and swimwear being provided.”
Tebello, who was staying in Ha-Mabote, Maseru, before going abroad, said she has approached Lesotho’s High Commission in London for assistance.
“I am awaiting a response from the embassy because I had approached them for assistance but with or without their assistance I am going ahead,” she said.
“I mean, I have made it on the shortlist.”
If she wins Tebello said she would become an ambassador of the pageant’s charity partner, Southern Africa Action for Change, and would be required to lobby governments to improve women and children’s welfare as well as do other goodwill work.
“The responsibilities of the crowned girl entwine with my future plan of opening an orphanage for the homeless, disabled and HIV and Aids-affected and infected children in Lesotho,” she said.
“This will make my plans easier because at that stage I would be required to help the southern African countries as well.”
The pageant is open to all women from southern African countries between the ages of 18 and 28.
Liz Feriz, the public relations officer of the pageant, told Xpress People their aim was to create international awareness not only about the exquisite women of southern Africa but also to celebrate the region’s people, cultures and traditions.
“We look to inspire social and business inter-relations amongst those abroad and at home, while offering our aspiring models an opportunity to launch themselves and we hope to attract model scouts to this leading African pageant,” she said.
“The competition provides a social event for southern Africans to interact and connect with each other and raise the profile of southern Africans in the UK, as many of us are always looking for ways to improve the lives of our fellow countrymen back home that do not have the exposure and opportunities we have.”
Feriz said the queen of the UK leg of the regional pageant will meet winners of national titles at the Miss Southern Africa final in Windhoek, Namibia.
“The UK competition is for international participants who would be taking part in the finals in Namibia but between the months of July and September, national auditions would be taking place in the southern African countries,” she said.
Feriz said the competition this year will help focus attention on the region with the football World Cup starting in South Africa on June 11.
“Southern Africa is a land of rich cultural diversity. The Miss Southern Africa UK event will place its focus on tourism and the natural beauty that Africa possesses,” she said.
“We have attracted a wider scope of countries and, for the first time, organisers are also representing more southern African countries.
“The excitement and enthusiasm is much stronger this year. We are expecting positive results in the history of the pageant.
“We have also invited UK model agencies to offer more exposure to our contestants.”