What do you want to be known for? What did you do that was different? What is your legacy? How will you be remembered? Those are some of the questions Nomvula Mabuza aims to answer in her reign as Ms South Africa 2018.
We meet at Visit Vakasha Guest Lodge 2 for our photo-shoot and interview. I find her doing her own make-up and Ingrid Modis (stylist) curling her hair as we prepare for the photo shoot. On the bed were accessories, dresses, heels and a bedazzled item which is her crown. We immediately switch the conversation and touch on her crowning. She mentions being a finalist was the prelims but winning is the exams. “Being a finalist is one thing but having the crown is another. It becomes your legacy. The question is what will you do with your crown? The real work starts now,” said Nomvula.
The African Pageants crowning event was hosted in the ‘Platinum Province’ which is North West province. The gala happened on Saturday, November 4 at ATKV Buffelspoort. The contestants were judged on their national outfits portraying their African heritage, portfolios, videos showing their seven months journey as finalists, evening gowns and interviews, just to name a few of the judging criteria.
As I take her back to pageant week Nomvula beams with joy. “I miss the wonderful moments we shared with the other contestants. Even though we were competitors we were sisters, we were family.”
The beauty queen mentioned she is still getting use to being a winner. “People are used to Miss and Mrs and not Ms, they are probably thinking who is she? There is a lot of work to be done and it is not for a year. I believe it is lifetime work. I am happy in the space that I am in.”
How Nomvula found out about the competition was through browsing on Facebook and a questionnaire popped up. She answered all the questions and after hesitating for a long time she clicked the submit button.
Weeks later she received a notification stating that her form was submitted successfully. She went for a photo shoot and months later she was in the running.
She had once entered for Miss Teen but that was her first and according to her the last beauty competition she was going to enter. Reason for that was she did not fit in. “I am not a skinny person and in my mind I thought pageants are meant for girls that are a smaller size than me. So I quit the competition,” explained Nomvula. As she recalls this moment, she remembered that her maternal grandmother is a former beauty queen. She was crowned Miss Sophiatown back in her days.
In the previous year no one was given the Ms crown because they did not find a suitable person. “Ms is a person who is a 21st century woman, been through life, gone through life and life happened to her. She is a real woman. Whatever you want to describe her as, that is what she is.”
The Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management majoring in Accounting from Brunel University in Uxbridge, London graduate recently went to Manila Philippines to take part in Mrs World Peace.
This was her first international pageant and she won best face and national costume.
“I want to align myself with ethical pageants and this platform gave me exactly that. International pageants are tough, even though I did not get a place but I was delighted to have won national costume,” Nomvula beamed with joy.
She was beautifully dressed in African beads hand made by Jessica Mbangeni of KwaNtu Afrocentric Designs.
“I felt honoured to have worn the pieces. The beads took time to make and I was privileged to have worn it. A big thank you to everyone who trusted me with their outfits and had faith in me as it paid off.”
Nomvula’s life is quite busy excluding her title she is a mother of two and an owner of a consulting company named Leluhala Consulting but manages to look as beautiful and grounded as ever. She commands her team for managing her diary ensuring that work and family time is well balanced. Her team comprises of Shemane Masia (technical and creative director), Thami Magele (manager) and Jerry Deeuw from Jerry Deeuw Media (public relations).
Her spirit of giving started during her days while residing in London where she was juggling being a student and a care worker amongst other titles. On her list as Ms South Africa she wants to carry on being a blessing in other people’s lives. Nomvula will continue with the anti human trafficking and sexual exploitation; mental health awareness and other various projects.
“With the anti human trafficking and sexual exploitation project we are moving it up a notch, in conjunction with partners of choice that I share same values with. The reason I want to tackle mental health is because wherever there is self doubt, self loathing and self hate it limits your gift. The gift that you are to the universe and the universe gets robbed of the best of you.”
Programs of Ms South Africa were officially launched in January when a gala was hosted at The Marion On Nicol Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg.
In doing all this Nomvula wants her time as Ms to make a difference that will be felt and life changing.
“If there is anything happening around the country or the globe that fits into our vision we will add it on our program list. What is most important is when you come into someone’s life you cannot come in and not make a difference. Even if I touched only two people for me that is good enough.”
She closes off the interview with one of her favourite words “The road is long, it is hard but not drudgery. It is hard work when it benefits you and others.”