Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane
Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane

Africa4Palestine accuses Miss SA organisers of U-turn

By Chevon Booysen Time of article published Nov 10, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - Human Rights organisation Africa4Palestine says there are divisions within the Miss South Africa organisation following what they understood was a “U-turn” in announcing that Lalela Mswane will still be competing in the Israeli- hosted Miss Universe pageant.

Earlier on Tuesday the organisation released a statement welcoming an intended withdrawal of Mswane from the upcoming competition.

However, hours later the Miss South Africa organisation chief executive, Stephanie Weil, made an announcement that Mswane will still be proceeding to Israel.

“This U-turn is disappointing. The chief executive of Miss South Africa, Stephanie Weil, clearly supports apartheid Israel by defending the indefensible.

“It is clear to us that there are divisions within the organisation and company of Miss South Africa. We had, in fact, been reliably informed of Miss Lalela Mswane’s withdrawal from the upcoming pageant in Israel, but it seems that there has been interference and pressure, with Miss South Africa now making a U-turn and reversing the withdrawal decision,” the organisation said.

“In our statement released this morning we had indicated that we were looking forward to an official announcement but now that the Miss South Africa company/organisation is intending on still proceeding with travelling to Israel, we thus have no option but to embark on a vigilant campaign including protest actions to reject this position.”

Weil said in a statement on Tuesday that she was aware there were claims that Mswane had pulled out of the global competition, but that these were “completely unfounded and untrue”.

In a statement, the Miss South Africa organisation said they were thrilled to make Mswane’s childhood dream – which is to wear the crown while representing her country globally – come true despite the “misinformation and fake news”.

“(Mswane) has spoken out openly about being bullied as a child. She will not be bullied as an adult against fulfilling her ambition.”

Weil said a “very, very small, but extremely vocal, group” had attempted, and failed, to derail Mswane’s chances at the prestigious international pageant.

“As the reigning Miss South Africa, Mswane will join participants from close on 70 countries in this contest, and will represent South Africa to the best of her ability,” the statement read.

Weil said South Africa was placed very firmly in the 21st century when Zozibini Tunzi, proudly wearing her natural hair without trying to conceal it under a weave or a wig, was crowned Miss Universe.

’“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 look-alikes.

“Like her, Mswane will be a role model to young women – not just across the country, but across the African continent. Anyone who wants to rob her of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted. We are not a political organisation and the Miss Universe pageant is not a politically-inspired event,” said Weil.

Cape Times

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