By Bahle Gama
At 22, most people are unsure which career path they want to follow. However, it is a very different story for Notsile Anele Sibandze. At this age, she is a court clerk and interpreter at the Mbabane Magistrates Court, a model, and has entered the underway Miss Eswatini pageant.
She is currently a third-year student studying law at the University of Eswatini albeit on a part-time basis which allows her to volunteer as a clerk at the Magistrates Court.
In an interview, the go-getter explained how she copes and keeps her head above water, having added the pageant to the list of things she is doing in her life. She stated that she began modelling at a very young age, adding that she once participated in the Miss Teen Eswatini pageant when she was 16.
“For me, modelling is a hobby, which I have since realized it is passion- driven and it is one of the things that I believe I can call a career in the long run,” she said.
She stated that in her modelling journey, she has encountered numerous challenges, but has never for once felt the urge to fold. Sibandze further stated that modelling has helped her in boosting her confidence and has found herself being an inspiration to many young people, which is one of her greatest achievements.
“Modelling has also given me a certain amount of spotlight, which is an amazing feeling. Being seen and recognised is quite humbling,” she said. In response to what inspired her to pursue law, Sibandze stated that she wanted to be well-versed in the law profession, which she intends to use in her modelling career and other areas of her life.
“As a young black African woman, I realized that I need to know more about the system in Eswatini, which for quite some time has oppressed women. I need to understand how it works and how it can be manipulated to work in women’s favour,” she said.
She continued that having been a model for such a long time, she has experienced challenges that she believed could be curbed by her knowledge and understanding of the law.
“As an aspiring attorney, I believe there is a role I will play in the industry because modelling is not easy in Eswatini,” she said.
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She added that for her to stay relevant in modelling, she approaches agencies, photographers, and clothing labels and asks to work with them. This, she does, via social media and other available platforms.
“I am cognisant that gigs and opportunities will not come to me, but I need to step out and find them myself. I send DMs and applications to work with anyone that is willing in the industry. I want to build my portfolio to be as wide as possible,” she said.
As a result, she has scooped herself a deal with a clothing line called Peek’a Boo that she will be modelling and now has her own personal photographer. Highlighting why she joined the Miss Eswatini Pageant, she said that besides her experience with Miss Teen Eswatini, she felt this could be one of the platforms in which she can be a voice.
“I want to encourage people, specifically women that anything is possible. You can do and be whatever you want, if you set your mind to it. Despite any challenges encountered in life, anything is possible,” she said.
Sibandze stated that she hopes to excel to a level where she can participate in the Miss Universe pageant and represent herself and women globally.
The 22-year-old has had a very strong support system in the form of her mother who she says has been ‘tolerant’ of her passion for modelling.
“Being from a Christian-oriented family, modelling is one of the things she has always frowned upon, however, she realised my passion and love for it and partially gave in. She drives me to agencies and even waits for me to finish, which is something I’m entirely grateful to her for,” she said.
As a word of encouragement to other young people who are still uncertain about which path or direction they wish to take, Sibandze urged that they not let fear take over their lives.
“Fear is the worst disease and if you allow it, it can consume you. Don’t let it stop you, it is better to have failed than not have attempted at all. You fall and get back up again,” she said with a warm smile.