Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
16 Dec 2021
6:14 pm

Lalela Mswane feels ‘personally attacked’ by Miss Universe, Israel backlash

Kaunda Selisho

Speaking to Newzroom Afrika, Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane said she feels as though opposition to her decision is a personal attack.

Photo: Twitter/@Official_MissSA

Miss South Africa 2021 Lalela Mswane is back on home soil and she has hit the interview circuit at break-neck speed.

Not only did she speak to eNCA upon landing at the airport on Wednesday morning but she also spoke to Newzroom Afrika on Thursday where she told news anchor Xoli Mngambi that she feels as though the backlash to her choice to go to Israel was personal.

The second runner-up in the 2021 Miss Universe pageant said that she believes the backlash to her choice to travel to a known apartheid state was “misdirected anger.”

“If you feel so strongly about an issue, you would have raised it when the Miss Universe venue or location was announced in July and as we all know, I was crowned in October,” said Lalela.

“If this is really a pro-humanity issue that is so important to so many people… and I’m not trying to invalidate that, I’m a firm believer in it having been started when the venue was announced.”

ALSO READ: EFF calls on Miss SA Lalela Mswane to ‘stand with the oppressed’

Because of the fact that people only took issue with her travelling to Israel after she announced her desire to travel there, Lalela said she feels as though the backlash to her decision is tantamount to a personal attack on her as she is a “low-hanging fruit.”

She went on to motivate her position by stating that no one has “addressed this issue with the President” nor have they, based on her perception, done anything about the “many ties” South Africa continues to have with Israel.

When asked by Mngambi if she understands what the objections were about regarding her participation in the pageant in a year that it was staged in an apartheid state, Lalela explained her position.

“I’d like to think people viewed it as me being in support of Israel in the whole Israel-Palestinian war which is beyond me. It’s a conflict that commenced hundreds of years ago. It’s something that is so complex.”

“And I actually often wonder if the people that are so against me even participating themselves even know why they’re so against me participating.”

She added that even if the pageant was in Palestine, she would have still competed.

Lalela went on to say that she believes “buzzwords” were used to create traction around the issue when Mngambia attempted to frame the issue for her by drawing a parallel between apartheid South Africa and modern-day Israel as many of Lalela’s detractors have done before.

She lambasted the government for having double standards and challenged them to cut all ties with Israel if they’re so against what the country’s government is doing to the Palestinian people.

Lalela concluded by stating that this turn of events has taught her to be steadfast in her decisions and that she is proud of the decision she made to forge on despite the request for her to take a stand against an apartheid state by not travelling there and therefore competing in this year’s Miss Universe Pageant.

“I felt right, I felt justified in doing what I did. Because, you know what? Had the government said ‘ja, we have released all ties with Israel,’ that’s a whole different stance, but I think it’s hypocritical to then ask of me to do something. As I said, I do think I was just an easy target, I was a low-hanging fruit and my participation is in no way an indication of any support towards any state.”