By Neo Kolane
Lesotho beauty queen and model Rethabile Letsoepa is raring to go and all pumped up to bring the crown home after making it to the finals of the annual Miss Africa 2021 beauty pageant scheduled for later this year.
Twenty- year old Rethabile started modelling in 2017 and has already made her mark in the beauty scene, having bagged numerous crowns. She won her spot among 25 finalists in February.
The pageant is a beauty spectacle for African women and models between the ages of 18 and 60. It has several categories, such as Miss Africa, Miss Africa Elite, Mrs Africa and Mrs Africa Classic.
Born and bred at Popa in Mokhotlong but now permanently residing at Ha Shepeseli in Leribe, Rethabile is one lass with a heart of gold as she loves helping needy people in her community.
Describing how she ended up entering the competition, Rethabile says she came across a post online in December 2019, of the search for models who were interested in testing their mettle and vying for the Miss Africa contest.
“I then filled out an online application form and sent it to them. They responded to me in February and I was in the semi-finals. We were also requested to send three professional pictures and biographies in order for the finalists’ selection to begin. They selected the finalists and I was one of them!
“The journey has been so much fun. The other ladies have amazing personalities and we are all able to interact with each other, even the CEO of Africa Pageants, Mrs Carolyn Baldwin Botha. There have also been hardships in my journey. It is not easy securing sponsorships during this Covid-19 pandemic, but they are necessary because without payments, I cannot be part of this competition anymore,” she said.
Rethabile, who has entered several pageants in the past, launched her modelling career in 2017 with the Miss Botha Bothe High School contest, which she won.
She went on to be crowned Miss Valentine’s 2017 before becoming first princess in the Miss Teen Botha Bothe pageant. The list is endless, but the big one was being crowned Face of Lesotho in 2018.
She admits doing community work as an individual can be quite daunting, so she pays tribute to beauty pageants for giving her a platform to secure vital sponsors to see the work through.
“I also love pageants because they teach me a lot about life in general; we are always coached on how to behave, how to lead and how to start our own projects and businesses.
“It is through pageants that I managed to steer clear of vices that are usually associated with adolescence, such as drugs and wild parties; these are a no no in this industry. I also have my country’s interests at heart, and pageants allow me to contribute to our economy by improving tourism in Lesotho.
“I was advised to never compare myself with the other ladies because there will always be girls who are ‘better’ than me. I was told to work on becoming the best version of myself and to embrace all my flaws, so that other girls who may look like me may be empowered and learn to love themselves too.”
Rethabile looks up to Miss South Africa 2019 Sasha Lee Laurel, who she describes as a gorgeous beauty queen who always works on community projects. “She does a lot of international modelling in Germany.”
The 2021 Africa Pageant is scheduled to be hosted from November 12 to 22, 2020 in the North West Province of South Africa.