Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
2 minute read
9 Nov 2021
4:03 pm

‘We’re not a political organisation’: Defiant Miss SA body says Lalela Mswane will go to Israel

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Miss SA says newly crowned Lalela Mswane will participate in the 70th Miss Universe pageant, to be held this December in Eilat, Israel.

Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane. Picture: Instagram

There has been mounting pressure from political figures and social media users alike for the Miss South Africa (Miss SA) organisation to boycott Miss Universe, set to be hosted in Israel.

Now, the organisation has responded to The Citizen, and says newly crowned Miss SA Lalela Mswane will participate in the 70th Miss Universe pageant, to be held on 12 December in Eilat, Israel.

There have been concerns from pro-Palestine supporters that South Africa participating will constitute supporting what they view as an apartheid government in Israel.

The two states have been in conflict for decades in relation to land territories, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank since 1967 and police brutality.

The Miss SA organisation said they were aware of reports that Mswane had pulled out but CEO Stephen Weil denied these claims.

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She said with all the misinformation and fake news around, the organisation was “also thrilled to be able to make Lalela’s childhood dream – to wear the crown while representing her country globally – come true”.

Weil said there were a “few” who attempted to “bully” Mswane into not representing the country and following in the footsteps of Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi.

“Her refusal to bow down to pressure, to look a certain way, was groundbreaking and opened the door to diversity and the rise of the individual as opposed to lookalikes.

“Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted. She is a shining beacon for young women everywhere, showing them that being beautiful while being clever and educated is very possible.

“We are not a political organisation and the Miss Universe pageant is not a politically inspired event,” she concluded.

Social media users said the pageant organisation should have followed in the footsteps of leaders such as Nelson Mandela in showing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Commenters added that Miss SA couldn’t be neutral in this instance.

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