MASERU – Nthole Matela is a beauty queen with a dream, she has a vision to one day own a beauty pageant company for young Basotho girls to fully express themselves and give to them enough exposure to the world.
Nthole is aged 27 and is the last of 3 siblings. She went began her primary schooling at the Leribe English Medium Primary School in Hlotse, Leribe, which she completed at Hlotse Methodist Primary School.
She then proceeded to Khethisa High School before enrolling with the Institute of Development Management to later obtain a Degree in Community Development and a Certificate in Tefl English Teaching. She is currently a married woman and a mother to a beautiful 19-months-old baby girl. Nthole’s pageantry journey started in 2012 when she joined a local pageant in her home town, the Miss Hlotse Pageant, where she was crowned inaugural Miss Hlotse.
Her love for pageantry grew and the following year she won the Miss National University of Lesotho Fresher’s Pageant. Later that year, 2013, she joined the national pageant, Miss Lesotho; she won that pageant too and went on to represent Lesotho in the 2014 Miss World Pageant that was held in London, England.
She did particularly well there and brought back home an award for an outstanding performance in one of the fast track events. “When I was going for the Miss World in 2014 I initially didn’t have any sponsors, nobody was willing to cater for my expenses and I had to go out and source out some financial assistance. I managed to secure a few backers, it was not much but I finally made it through. I remember one of my sponsors was the KFC outlet,” Matela said.
She was having a good time in the entertainment industry, and in 2015, she joined People’s Choice (PC) FM as a radio presenter.
In the same year she won the Vodacom Superstars presenter search and remained a presenter for the duration of the Vodacom Superstars’ competition. In 2016, she joined the Virtuous Queens of Africa Association, which is a group of African beauty Queens that give back to their various communities. That year, they went to three countries to fulfill their mission. They visited Kenya, Nigeria and Benin.
In 2017, Nthole joined the Miss University Africa pageant that was held in Nigeria. “Comparing our country to all these countries I have been to, we are still far behind in terms of exposure and how other countries view pageantry as a serious business. In our country we hardly get sponsors and our government has no support to pageantry at all, in other countries they get sponsors…they don’t struggle much,” she noted.
“I was 21 when I went and it was truly a life changing experience. I got to see life through many different perspectives and got to push my abilities further than I thought possible. It gave me the exposure that I needed to thrive. It also gave me the confidence I needed to audition for the PC FM job. It has also allowed me the ability to make lifelong sisterhoods with my pageant sisters and travelling has become great because I have a friend in almost every country,” she added.
Nthole has since started her own beauty business called Shiny Claws where she does manicures, the business, she says, is doing quite well. In the near future, she plans to start her own pageant where she plans to give young Basotho girls a platform to express themselves and change a lot of misconceptions in the country about it, and later gun for Miss World.
“COVID-19 has definitely slowed things down and pageantry world, like in every other industry has had a lot of adjusting to do, this has taught me to be present in every moment because nothing is certain and tomorrow is never guaranteed.”