MASERU – Teya-teyaneng-based model, Ts’epang Teba could not believe it when he was crowned King of Globe 2020 in Bangkok in Thailand.
For him victory came after much torment.
December 1, 2019 saw Teba embark on a journey to represent Lesotho at one of the most prestigious pageants in the world.
On all smiles, he carried hope with him to come back with the crown and make his country proud.
Little did he know that before that could come true, he would have to go through a nightmare that almost sank his dream.
He narrates that he departed from OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa and landed at Suvarnabhumi airport Bangkok, Thailand on December 2, 2019.
Upon his arrival in the country, Teba says the immigration office demanded VISA and other documents that acted as prove that he was expected in Thailand and that he was a delegate from Lesotho.
He says the VISA and all other documents were present except the proof of booking at the hotel for accommodation.
“I explained to the immigration office in Thailand, that I didn’t have the document with me because it was not stated that it would be needed before I entered the country. I was taken into an immigration holding room for questioning while awaiting the proof of accommodation,” he recalls.
Teba says he sought to find his proof of accommodation and succeed. To his utter dismay, his world came crushing down on him when the immigration office informed him that it had already been decided that he should be deported back to Johannesburg (original place of departure) and would only be allowed into the country after 24 hours.
He therefore flew back with a tail between his legs and arrived in Johannesburg on December 3.
The encounter was a huge set-back because the competition was to start on the 5th and he could not afford to miss it, especially not after he had poured out his heart and soul in order to put his country on the map. Teba also indicates that there were no funds to purchase another ticket back to Thailand to take part in the competition.
“I felt like my dream was shuttered. I felt defeated. The whole experience was pure trauma but giving up was not an option. I had to be strong and push through against all odds and set my eyes on the finishing line for it seemed greater than the challenges I was facing,” he says.
Just as he was on the verge of losing hope, lady luck struck him as the team that had recruited him to enter the competition came to his rescue. Teba says the team purchased a flight ticket back to Thailand so he could take part and suddenly things looked up a little.
The was a challenge however in that when he took off from Johannesburg it was the opening ceremony – December 5. He says he just has to keep his fingers crossed hoping that it would not be too late when he got there.
He got there the next day and fortunately his entry into the country was allowed. He then rushed to the competition and was allowed to do both cultural dance and talent show on the same day whereas under normal circumstances he could have done those on different days.
Then the competition progressed until the night of the grand finale which was December 8 where the winner was announced and he was crowned King of Globe International 2020. The crowning was handed over from Nepal (previous King) to Lesotho and after all he went through, Teba thought he was dreaming.
“I was over the moon because the challenges were now a part of my success story. I took the whole experience as a learning curve and tried to make sure that I am not a victim but victor,” the reigning King of Globe narrates.
Central to his excitement was the fact that since the inception of the competition, Lesotho is the first country on African soil to win the title. His flight back home was scheduled for the same night as the crowning night. As if he had not undergone enough torture, Teba’s return ticket was deemed invalid at the airport.
This he says was because it had been affected by the deportation that took place earlier that month.
“I was stuck in Thailand unable to return home. Another return ticket (from Thailand to Johannesburg) had to be bought so that I could come back home. During that moment I tried to source means of survival for paying for accommodation and food while still trying to source funds for the return ticket. I spent about nine days trapped in Thailand. Then with the assistance of some local individuals and the help of the team that recruited me to go represent the country, the ticket was bought and I eventually managed to get back home after a challenging journey,” he narrates.
The pageant, which was a 3rd Edition, featured other categories Miss Teen and Miss Queen of Globe International 2020.
The countries that were present at the competition included among others, Nepal, South Africa, and India. The competition was scheduled to start from December 5 to December 8, 2019 where each day had a designated theme to be judged.
Teba reveals that as the reigning King of Globe International, some of his responsibilities are to represent the organisation in international and national programmes that help grow and make a positive impact in other people’s lives.
“As a Medical Laboratory Technologist, one of the paths that I am going to take is to help participate in activities that expand the reach of health services even in hard to reach areas. I am also bound to take part in charity programmes and activities,” Teba concluded.