Meet the 3-year-old South African who emerged a winner at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards

Little Lethu, who is now an internet sensation, won the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards held in March 2023. Photo credit: Lethu nanas on Instagram

Little Lethukuthula Bhengu, fondly called Lethu, recently caught global attention via several online videos when she showed off her reading skills at the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. In April 2022, the smart Soweto toddler began learning how to read when she was just 25 months old. As small and shy as she was, she started reading well at two years old, thanks to the efforts of her mum, Ntombikayise Bhengu.

Ntombikayise discovered Lethu’s extraordinary learning ability when she saw the toddler playing a game on her cousin’s phone, which required matching pictures with words. Surprisingly, after playing the game each day, Lethu could still remember the words and pronounced them well.

Her mum began teaching her three-letter words, which the toddler picked up quickly. “I wrote three-letter words, and after a few minutes or an hour, she was able to remember those words. It was ten words,” said Ntombikayise. This prompted her to research kids reading techniques online and utilized a phonic method to break down each word into each letter sound for little Lethu to comprehend.

“Then I did research on how to teach kids how to read. At first, I wrote down three-letter words, and she could memorize them within 10 minutes. But then I realized that method wasn’t effective because there are so many words in the English dictionary.”

“I saw this video of this other teacher saying before you teach a child how to read a word, like a full word, make sure that they know each letter of that word and the sound of each letter.”

Little Lethu, who is now an internet sensation, won the 2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards held in March 2023, beating other contenders like Anele Mdoda’s son, Alakhe; stylist Tshepi Vundla’s son, Siba Bogopa; and the famous youngest African Club DJ – DJ Arch Jnr.

Her dad, Phakiso Masooa said his daughter was over-excited at the event, especially when she posed with the mock-up trophy at the awards watch party at Rosebank Mall, streamed from the US.

“Her mother, Ntombikayise Bhengu, and I are also extremely happy about her winning the award,” Phakiso said.

“We campaigned very hard for this and now she’s the youngest to ever win this award. Nickelodeon contacted us late last year via Instagram and requested an email address to send the notice that she’d been nominated and we had to keep the news a secret until voting lines were open in January,” he adds.

Lethu’s parents Phakiso, and Ntombikayise, work together to create different content for their child on Instagram and Tik Tok, and have amassed over 932.7k followers under her Tik Tok name @lethu-nanas with over 17.1 million likes. Even though her parents knew how smart she is, they never imagined that Lethu would gain much attention on social media.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 11, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates