Rethabile Ts’oane pulled off one of the rarest feat in the pageantry world; winning the Miss World Lesotho 2016 crown on her first introduction to the pageantry world. The slim, long legged Lesotho beauty was encouraged by her cousin to enter the Miss Lesotho.

Prior to the pageant, she had never competed in any competition before except engaging in fashion shows since the age of 15 years.

Ts’osane says her quest to embark in the competition began as a quest to prove that thin girls can also be comfortable in their skin. ‘In most African societies, and from where I come from, being thin is often conceived as a problem. When you are thin, people naturally assume that you aren’t eating well, or have a health problem since you don’t fit into their mould of a stereotypical Mosotho woman with big hips and ample behind,” she says with a laugh.

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Armed with a purpose in mind, nothing could stop the 21 year old from achieving her goal despite being thrust in the deep end with pageantry veterans. After entering the local beauty pageant, Ts’osane was catapulted to the world class arena where she had to compete for the Miss World crown with 117 other beauty queens from all over the world.
One of the most anticipated challenges in the Miss World competition is the ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ challenge. This challenge awards the contestants with the most relevant and important charity project in her nation. Ts’osane says the beauty with a purpose project meant caring for her own and giving back to the community – one of the most rewarding experiences of her life. She dubbed her project, “The face and Hope Foundation”, which is one of her major focus currently.

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Rethabile intends to continue pursuing her charity project beyond her reign

She is very emphatic and solemn when describing the project she deems very close to her heart. “The project is an outreach to chronically ill patients in our country, particularly those who are disadvantaged geographically, financially and otherwise. We went to remote areas to offer services such as monitoring of their vital sciences, social counselling and offered spring cleaning of their households. During this time, I enjoyed massive support from my classmates and school in general” says the beauty queen, who is currently pursuing her nursing studies with hopes of pursuing medicine with specialization in paediatrics in future.
Having seen some of the most devastating conditions during her project, she is fiercely determined to help the socially less economically empowered as well during,and after her reign. “One of our patients is a 19 year old girl who was involved in a car accident t a year ago while still completing her high school studies. She was left crippled by the accident, and being an orphan could not afford a basic wheelchair hence is unable to go to school and complete her studies. She lives in dire poverty, even a mere bed is a luxury.” Ts’osane points out that these are just some of the many plights that the community faces. With the face and hope foundation, she has managed to help some of those afflicted and continues to do so till this day.
However she highlights that the major problem that still persist is lack of funds to help carry out some of the project initiative. Since the inception of the Face and Hope Foundation project, she has received most of the help from her school, with one of her lecturers having offered her car during the mobile clinic outreach activities. However she is hard at work looking at more ways to raise funds, writing proposals to various companies in the private sector and investing some of her own money in the project.

Her prospects beyond Miss World Lesotho include growing the foundation to reach as many people as possible as her year-long reign is very short given her goals for the community outreach project are long term. “There is no greater joy I derive in life than seeing the smile on someone’s face and knowing that I helped put it there,” She says with a gleaming smile.

By: Mantsebeng Maepe