Being a wife and mother is already a full-time job and likely the most important job that any person can ever hold in life. But Nomalanga Mhlaui-Moses has never been one to be average. In addition to being there for her young family, Mrs. Mhlaui-Moses is an Assistant Professor of Professional Studies and founder of an organization that provides, among other things, life strategies for success for Black Women and College students.
Oh, by the way, she is also the reigning Mrs. Botswana for 2011 and preparing to compete in the Mrs. World pageant in just a few months. It is due to her enduring commitment to excellence, intelligence and empowerment of those around her that Nomalanga Mhlaui-Moses is today’s Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on Your Black World.
1) What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses. I am a Life Strategist for Black Women and College students. I am an Assistant Professor of Professional Studies at a local college and I am the founder and CEO of NOMA UNlimited (www.nomalanga.com) which offers success programs that focus on achieving individual goals through Personal Development. The programs I offer come in the form of keynotes, audio programs, workshops and seminars and also individual life coaching programs.
2) You were recently named Mrs. Botswana. Was it difficult to win this crown and how has it changed your life?
Being awarded the Mrs. Botswana crown was not difficult but it was a long process. The two issues that I had to deal with were that I live mostly in the United States and that makes it challenging to enter a pageant in my country of birth, Botswana. The other issue was that no Botswana organizations were willing to host the event so the crown was awarded through an intense interview process. Being Mrs. Botswana has enriched my life in that it has given me a platform to do meaningful work. I am currently in the process of setting up a Foundation (Nomalanga Mhlauli-Moses MOSETSANA* Foundation) through which I will focus on programs that help to prevent teenage pregnancy for high school girls and also give scholarships to these young women to finish their high school education, buy uniforms, books and supplies. *The word “Mosetsana” means girl or young woman in Setswana.
3) How do you balance between being a wife, a mother and a career woman?
I believe that balance is something that any woman who has a family as well as a career is always working at improving. There are two things that make it work:
1. Prioritizing-When our lives get busy; it is possible to get pulled in many different directions so prioritizing is very important. I start every day with a list of objectives/goals and anything else that comes up, unless it is an emergency, has to wait. My objectives vary from work tasks such as grading papers or home life events such as taking my baby girl, who is four years old, to see a movie like “Rio” that we went to see a few weeks ago.
2. Getting help-I believe that one thing that black women have in common is that we believe ourselves to be strong and independent but sometimes that translates to us not asking for help when we need it. I have a husband and we are raising our children and building our lives together as a team; it does not all fall on either one of us to do any one thing. I get help with housecleaning, babysitting, administrative task-basically anything that I don’t necessarily have to do myself, even if I have to pay a small monetary fee for the help. The way that we lose balance in our lives is by believing that we can do everything and be all things to all
people, which is not realistic.
4) Tell us about your family background and how you ended up where you are
In the 1930s, when South Africa was still under Apartheid, my grandfather fled to Botswana and consequently married a Motswana woman. My Father was born and raised in Botswana and so was I. While we love our beautiful Botswana, we still identify ourselves as Xhosas who originate from the former Transkei in South Africa. I originally came to the United States in my very late teens to attend college and after college I married a wonderful man (American) and we now have three beautiful children, one of which is my step daughter. My husband, who was born and raised in Miami Florida, has had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting Africa as we travel to Botswana at least once a year to visit our family members who still live there.
5) What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to take a more active role in advocating for young black women, both here in the US, as well as across the world. I am currently developing a college course (Learning Community Seminar) that I will teach at my college of employment which is designed to explore the issues of minority women today. My desire is to contribute to positively shifting the image of black women which, unfortunately, has been grossly misinterpreted and attacked.
Since the birth of my son, two years ago, I have also become more invested in doing what I can make sure that young black men (and women) are afforded the same opportunities, respect and honor as their counterparts from other races and cultural backgrounds. I am aware that it is a little selfish, but I believe that, as parents, we are responsible for creating a future in our communities that our children can thrive in.
6) Is it difficult preparing for the Mrs. World pageant?
I personally have not perceived that preparing for the Mrs. World pageant is difficult. My intention is to just be the best of who I am, which is how I live my life anyway. The only challenge that I have is not knowing exactly when the pageant will be because it was postponed due to a travel ban to the original host country. I’m excited to represent both the beautiful married women of Botswana and the United States.
7) Is there anything else you’d like to share with our Your Black World
The one lesson that I have learned and am constantly reminded of is that fear is a part of our nature but it is not an excuse to play it small. We all have a unique set of gifts and talents and we have an obligation to ourselves and the world to show up, speak up and do what we can to contribute to positive change.
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