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There are more ways to describe a woman of substance, but the best way to describe Yanela Ntlauzana @yanela_ntlauzana would be a ray of sunshine and a woman with type a personality. Yanela Ntlauzana is the founder and director, Africa UK Pageants and Empowerment Programmes @africaukpageant. She was a former presenter at Redroad FM and Mrs. SA19 Semi-Finalist. She is a young woman who packs a combination of athletics, creativity and benevolence. In a one on one with African Pride Magazine, she gave an insight into her life and what goes behind women empowerment and beauty pageants

…During my journey, came the realization that we need an empowerment platform for    African women based in the UK…


Giving more insight into her life, Yanela revealed that she is a mother of two boys “18 and 13 respectively”. She is based in the UK and originally from South Africa. “I am an advocate for autism awareness and acceptance, a qualified trainer in the field of autism and special needs and I hold a BSC in Psychology”, said Yanela. She also added that she is a champion for women empowerment, especially for women of color.

Yanela finds motivation in “seeing people reach their full potential in whatever they are doing or being”. Recollecting how the Africa UK pageants started, she said “I was a semi-finalist for Mrs. South Africa in 2019 and during my journey, came the realization that we need an empowerment platform for African women based in the UK. With a focus on women age 30+, regardless of their shape, size marital status and whether they have children or not”.

Being such a benevolent and innovative woman, she believes that women always have something to share even as they grow older, thus came the need to include “Mrs.” Into the beauty pageants.

As we grow, opportunities to be empowered especially via beauty pageants tend to get    limited. It seems as if the message is ‘the older you become the less beautiful you get’, the less empowering and there are less and less platforms that exposes the beauty and     power we gain with age. I personally believe that as I grow I have more to share and the more I share the higher the need for me to be equipped and I empowered, you cannot put from an empty cup!

When asked what goes behind organizing the beauty pageants, she said “I think the love and passion of seeing other women thrive and become better versions of themselves. The participants/contestants are at the center of the programme”.

In the next five years, Yanela would like to see a better version of herself. For her, she would like to be “an empowered woman empowering others not only in the UK but in Africa and the world”. “My ideal path is to learn as much as I can from others, my role models and mentors”, she said.

In her opinion, “gender equality is a broad subject, a lot of work has been done here and I believe there’s a lot of room for improvement. This starts with the right questions asked, correct analysis and change implementation from small to bigger social circles. Empowerment and education of all genders plays a big role if change and improvement is going to happen”.

As for the coming beauty pageant, Yanela promises “a more diverse class of African women of different ages, sizes and color, etc.” Being the first to admit that challenges come in every aspect of life including work, she said that a lot of work goes into planning these pageants.

Event planning is a challenge in itself however, we pride ourselves for delivering. The      challenge sometimes, is highlighting that the programme is much bigger than the Grand  Finale itself but a lot of work is put on by the team and the contestants to get to the grand   finale evening.

Of course, these challenges may be nothing compared to her happiest moment in life, which is when her boys were born. Yanela has this to say to someone entering a pageant for the first time, “Take it as a journey, and learn as much as you can. Challenge yourself, do all the things that you are required to, that are a challenge for you. That is where growth happens! Enjoy it, pick all the positives and ignore the negatives”.

Interestingly, the pageant does not have beauty specifications when picking contestants. “Our platform does not have any physical attributes criteria”, said Yanela. When planning the pageants, Yanela has the privilege of knowing contestants and seeing them flourish and this is what she enjoys most about her work.

I have the privilege of knowing the contestants from registration and through the final      night. Seeing them blossom and flourish is the best part for me

Yanela seems to enjoy running a lot and so we asked what she enjoys most about it. She said “Running is something that has become more meaningful to me. I do it to keep fit and healthy. Also, the excitement in preparation for a race and then the sense of achievement after a race is a buzz and that’s great. I don’t compete but run to get a new personal best. Competing with myself really. The best races/runs are the ones I do with my running partner and coach”.

For Yanela, running has therapeutic benefits. She asserts that “when I am running I get to be out and about. I use the time to reflect and a time to think about all the things that I am grateful for. I do my best not to bring any of my worries or stresses to my runs”.

Enlightening us about one of her upcoming projects, “the Autism Awareness Dinner”, she said it is her own way of raising awareness for autism and its acceptance. “African Autism Awareness & Fundraising Gala Dinner is our own way of raising autism awareness and acceptance in a brighter and colorful way”

“It is a celebration of difference and diversity the best way we Africans know how. This is an event that is very close to my heart because my sons have a diagnosis of autism and we refuse this to be a definition of who they are, they are different yes, aren’t we all? Given equal opportunities like all, they can be and do so much more. The event is on 11th March, 2023 in Manchester. For more information visit”.

For leisure, she spends time with her closest friend and family and also travel. Yanela’s other hobbies are reading and travelling and would say the people who know her best are, her partner and children. @yanela_ntlauzana @africaukpageant @YanelaNtlauzana

If you would be interested in participating in the upcoming Miss/Mrs Africa UK 2023, registration is now open and you can register on the website 

INTERVIEW BY: Arowolo N. Ola.


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