Miss SA faces backlash over Miss Universe participation in Israel

Miss SA faces backlash over Miss Universe participation in Israel

Miss South Africa organisers are facing increasing pressure to boycott the Miss Universe pageant in Israel. 

Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane
Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane/ Instagram (@official_misssa)

Lalela Mswane's reign as Miss South recently began, but she is already facing a big controversy. The KZN-born beauty will soon be leaving for Israel to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. 

However, Pro-Palestine supporters have urged the 24-year-old not to attend. 

Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) says South Africa's participation is "inexcusable". 

"With regards to Miss South Africa. It’s disappointing that she as well as her organisers will be representing us, a country that knows first hand what it is like living under an occupation, in an apartheid state," the PSA wrote on Instagram. 

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Mandla Mandela, the grandson of struggle hero Nelson Mandela, has also called for a boycott. He says Lalela should not attend the ceremony in Israel "in protest at the occupation and the cruel treatment of Palestinians at the hands of Apartheid Israel regime".

"We call on Miss South Africa and the nation as a whole to boycott and withdraw all support for the Miss Universe pageant in Apartheid Israel. There is nothing beautiful about occupation, brutality and institutionalised discrimination against the Palestinian people," he wrote on Instagram.

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Meanwhile, the Miss South Africa Organisation is moving ahead with plans for the Miss Universe pageant. The organisation told TshisaLIVE that officials will not be "getting involved in a political war of words".

The Miss Universe pageant will take place in Eliat on Sunday, December 12. 

There has been mixed reaction to calls for the pageant to be halted. Some social media users have also defended Lalela against the online hate she has received over the matter. 

"Contracts were signed, responsibilities and duties were stipulated. Lalela is receiving misdirected backlash. Start with Miss Universe organisation, why they’ve decided to host in Israel. Then go to Miss SA organisation, why they’re participating," one Twitter user wrote. 


Another Twitter user added: "You can't put politics aside when you're Miss SA."

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Main image courtesy of Instagram/@official_misssa

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