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Getting To Know Mrs South Africa

Lisa Prosser

Posted on July 04 2019

When Matapa Maila won Mrs South Africa earlier this year we felt like proud parents! We had a feeling she would take the title though admittedly, we were a bit biased having gotten to know this lovely lady from our shoots over the past seven years. She is a dream to work with; humble, grounded and real and as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Sweet and at the same time formidable! 


When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be many things, I knew that a person can not only be good at one thing and I therefore departed from a multiple narrative point of view. At some point I wanted to be an actor, a model, a boss even though I hadn't figured out a boss of what, haa haa one thing was certain though, I needed to make money, be independent and change the landscape of poverty.  


Tell us about your childhood, your upbringing and how it molded you into the woman you are today?

I come from extreme poverty, humble beginnings in every sense of the word but I learnt a lot of things in that period in my life. I refused to let the struggles be my identity. I learnt resilience, I tapped into the power of my mind. I had to train my mind to be stronger than my emotions because I didn’t want to get lost in privation. I learned self-discipline, to cope even without food, to be happy regardless because joy is free. I knew my circumstances were temporary and that one day I will leave it behind. My hope and dreams rested in tomorrow being better. Even when I missed school due to lack of sanitary towels, my love for education remained unshaken. I accepted my lack in terms of material things, but I embraced my surplus on what existed in my mind. My mind didn’t have to mirror my circumstances. Poverty motivated me to work hard and leave it behind. It has, however burdened me, because how do you truly move forward knowing that multitudes are still held back. That their reality has not changed. However, hope is always stronger than hunger and small deeds go a long way, hence my love for community work. 


Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I have learnt to embrace the present and be content with my life where it is while working towards my next goals. It is important to teach ourselves to be present and allow growth to happen organically. If we continuously chase we will never achieve wholeness. I am happy with how far I have come and we of course never stop becoming so I will definitely further my studies, and I dream of publishing a book one day and also focus of being a good mom to my beautiful daughter. 


What characteristics do you value most in people?

Hardworking selfless individuals who never use their circumstances as an excuse. People who are not scared to fail and who are never paralyzed by ‘NO’. People who, despite their past are determined to be in their power today. My daughter mostly, she inspires me to want more out of life because I never want her to believe that any of her dreams are out of reach.


What is your favourite way to spend the weekend?

At home, enjoying a home cooked meal, with a good book and with my daughter.


You are driven and ambitious! How do you juggle your career and busy schedule with family life and being a mom? 

I started working very early in my life and I knew that for me to succeed I will not only use my brains, but will need access to the thinking of others who have been in the game long before me. I believe in mentorship and team work. Also, I am the first to ask when I don’t understand or when I don't know. In life you only get the things you have the courage to ask for. Similarly I prototype the success stories of others and I know that a career path is a genderless path. Because excellency resides in each and every one of us. We sometimes stagnate our own progress by imposing self-doubt. Being powerful is a state of self-belief. The burden of a dream pushed me to work hard and while observing how others are doing it, I allowed myself to manifest in my own lane. I have also learnt the art of being present.  When I am at work I am fully present and when I am at home I am fully present. 


Describe your style?

I like sheer elegance, a lot of colour and my look must always represent some aspect of my life, like scream boss mom :-)


What do you look for in a brand?

I like brands which are relatable and authentic.



Matapa is one of our #pessopeople, she embodies the Pesso brand.


How as your life changed since winning Mrs South Africa?

The warmth and the love of the people. The hugs and endless selfies. Hearing someone tell me they went for their dream after hearing my story. That I encouraged someone to go for it again. Helping a young girl pay for her varsity fees through the Women4Women foundation. Every day brings with it a different blessing. It is impossible to single out one moment. However the highlight is seeing the joy and the pride in my daughter’s eyes each time I drop her off at school and the other kids scream out Mrs South Africa, she scores brownie points with her peers and that makes me happy.


Are you a hunter or a gatherer?

I am a bit of both because each has a role has a part to play when the season requires for it. 


The Evolution of Matapa from 2012 to now…

matapa maila

matapa mailamatapa maila

matapa maila

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