Nala was born at Oyaya, Zululand. She makes vessels from her rural home near Eshowe, where she was taught to make beer pots by her mother, Siphiwe, also a leading local potter. Nesta Nala’s work was chosen to represent SA at the Cairo International Biennale for ceramics in 1994. In 1995 she won the prestigious FNB Vita Craft Competition and the National Cermaics Biennale in 1996.
In 1999 she participated in the Smithsonian Institutions’s Folk Life Project in Washington. Her work is represented in major public and private collections in SA and abroad.