Beauty queen, Langa redefining beauty with natural cosmetics Former Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Langelihle Sibanda

Mbulelo Mpofu

AFTER leaving behind the world of pageantry, former Miss Universe Zimbabwe, Langa Lloyd Sibanda, has dived into the exciting realm of entrepreneurship, focusing on cosmetics in central Harare. 

The renowned beauty is known for her distinctive appearance, including her iconic short hair, which defied conventional beauty norms that favour long and straight locks. Langa’s journey towards pageant success began at a tender age. Hailing from Kezi, the young beauty made waves in 1996 as she represented Zimbabwe in the Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas.

While Langa was not crowned Miss Universe, her impact on the global stage was indelible. She became a beacon of hope for Zimbabwean women, epitomising African beauty in its unique form. She challenged conventional standards with her dark skin and trademark short hair, leaving audiences in awe and admiration.

In a recent interview with Chronicle Showbiz, Langa opened up about the difficulties she faced in the modelling industry as a result of societal norms. Nevertheless, she remained resolute in her journey towards self-confidence and self-acceptance, encouraging people to understand that true beauty transcends mere appearances. 

“My modelling journey was not an easy one, as I had to overcome teasing and criticism about my appearance as a black woman. Determined to build my self-confidence and embrace my unique qualities, I persevered and developed a thick skin to show people that beauty isn’t just about what we see, but the inner person,” she said.

Throughout her modelling career, Langa observed a glaring gap in cosmetics tailored for dark-skinned African women. 

“I encountered a persistent issue: foundations and makeup products were often ill-suited for African skin tones, either too light or too dark. This glaring gap in the market was not only frustrating, but also untenable,” she explained.

Motivated by this disparity, Langa founded House of Langa in 2012, initially focusing on dark skin tones before expanding to accommodate all shades. Her entrepreneurial skills were honed during her time in the United Kingdom, where she worked in retail management and the beauty industry. 

She brought her knowledge and passion back to Zimbabwe, establishing House of Langa as an animal-friendly company with vegan certification. Quality and integrity are paramount to the former beauty queen. She ensures thorough research and diligence in product development, refusing to compromise on standards. Her cosmetics line is natural and vegan certified, made from organic African extracts. She never tests her products on animals, but instead, relies on willing friends and family members to try them out.

“I firmly believe that skincare products should meet the highest standards. I couldn’t simply endorse imported products with my name without ensuring their quality. It was imperative for me that if my name was associated with these products, thorough research and diligence were non-negotiable,” she emphasised.

In addition to make-up, House of Langa boasts a home-ware line dedicated to up-cycling and recycling cherished items, breathing new life into them. They have also ventured into a food line that ingeniously incorporates ingredients used in their skincare products. Her delectable relish and preserve, crafted from the Kalahari melon’s rind, have gained a devoted following among her clientele.

Langa’s aspirations extend beyond the realm of beauty products. She desires to contribute to her community’s welfare by collaborating with women, particularly single mothers from her hometown. Passionate about encouraging women to persevere and utilise their skills to sustain their families, she fosters a spirit of self-reliance and empowerment. This inspired her collaboration with women who make leather bags.

In a ground-breaking collaboration with the University of Zimbabwe’s Innovation Hub, House of Langa developed mineral make-up that was unlike anything seen in the conventional cosmetics market. They used African extracts such as amarula and watermelon rind to create unique and high-quality products.

According to the beauty, her upbringing played a significant role in shaping her character. Her father, an agronomist and industrious mother instilled in her a sense of respect and a love for nature. She carried these values into her business, ensuring that House of Langa is environmentally conscious and sustainable.

Despite her busy schedule, Langa always finds time to indulge in her other passions. Cooking is her escape and a way to express herself. Her favourite dish to cook is umpholokoqo served with amasi and isinkwa somfahla. With her unwavering dedication and pioneering spirit, her House of Langa has the potential to transform the cosmetics industry, while inspiring young women to embrace their unique qualities and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. — @MbuleloMpofu


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