News / Opinion / Editorials
Miss SA Lalela Mswane has probably experienced more in her relatively short 24 years on earth than many would in a lifetime.
Prior to her attending this month’s Miss Universe pageant in Israel, government – led by Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa – took a decision not to support her. Many called for her to take a stance against Israel due to their conflict with Palestine. It led to a barrage of insults thrown at her and even went as far as death threats.
However, Mswane defied the calls to not attend and finished second runner-up.
Whether you agree with her decision to attend or not, the manner in which she has conducted herself over the past few weeks must be commended.
On returning home this week, Mswane said: “I would like young women to know that since the beginning oftime they can achieve everything they want to. And I hope that my actions have inspired you to choose courage over comfort every chance that you get.”
ALSO READ: More beauty queens pull out of Miss Universe in Israel, here’s why
Mswane revealed the pain she encountered, saying: “I felt abandoned. I also felt a bit of anger because I don’tknow what I had done so wrong. I’ll never comprehend what I did to make people feel justified in their actions. You don’t have to be for me, but you don’t have to be against me. You don’t have to, certainly, wish death upon me because I made a choice. I never initiated any war. This is way bigger than me. All I did was just pursue a dream of mine.”
She added: “I do think I was just an easy target. I was a low-hanging fruit and my participation is in no way anindication of any support towards any state.”
We need strong, young women in our country. Despite the backlash she received, Mswane has proved how brave she really is.