Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane’s home village reacts to her winning the crown
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Johannesburg – Lalela Mswane, a 24-year-old LLB graduate, ballerina and model, was crowned Miss South Africa 2021 at Grand West Arena in Cape Town on Saturday evening.
It was the 63th crowning of Miss SA and saw the biggest gathering of reigning and former beauty queens, including the current Miss World, Miss Supranational and Miss Universe.
Mswane succeeds Shudufhadzo Musida and it was announced that she would soon be preparing for the upcoming Miss Universe 2021, which will be hosted in the Israeli resort of Eilat in December.
Runners-up were Zimi Mabunzi from the Eastern Cape and Moratwe Masima from Gauteng.
Mswane hails from the remote village of KwaSokhulu in northern KwaZulu-Natal, on the outskirts of the small town of KwaMbonambi, outside Richards Bay. She is the first Miss SA from Zululand. The news of her being crowned has been met with emotional statements from people in her community.
Musician and former The Voice SA contestant, Bubbles Mnomiya, was overwhelmed at Mswane winning, saying: "Sokhulu awumncinyane! Our New Miss South Africa 2021...Lalela Mswane from KwaSokhulu Ontingweni!!! To say I am emotion(al) is an understatement. I am in tears! Dear black queens your dreams are valid and can be your reality!!!"
Her sentiments were echoed by many from KwaSokhulu and neighbouring communities of KwaMbonambi and Richards Bay.
Sthembiso Thethwayo said: "Congratulations Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane. We are very proud as the community of kwaSokhulu to have #MissSA2021 from our backyard. Indeed dreams do come true." while Sne Zulu tweeted: "I’m so emotional bakithi ukuthi a young woman from kwaSokhulu won an entire Miss SA pageant ... Young girls from kwaSokhulu will be inspired simbi isimo lapha!“
KwaSokhulu is an impoverished community, where many of the villagers are subsistence farmers. It is an area that still needs urgent attention and it is what many hope she will help to do. The rate of unemployment in the community is high.
Mswane visited her community in August, going to Ontingweni Primary School with her mother.
During the final stages of the competition, where the final three contestants state the cause most important to them, Mswane highlighted the issue of the high youth unemployment rate in the country.
Delivering her first speech as Miss SA after the crowning, she said it was now her duty to start conversations and seek meaningful solutions to for this crisis.
"During the journey towards this title, I made unemployment the cornerstone of all the causes I care for because it not only affects our youth but is the source of many of the social ills so prevalent in South Africa.
“My campaign aims to offer support to young people to assist them to create their own employment opportunities by means of entrepreneurial skills and, in doing so, empowering them to be self-sufficient and to secure their own economic futures. I neither take the magnitude of the task lightly nor for granted because I know unemployment is a complex issue. But action towards its reduction is necessary today more than ever. Let us get ready to create and build healthy and sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities, take ownership of and shape our own futures. There’s never been a better time to do so."
In a statement released on Saturday evening, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said Mswane’s achievement reignites hope for the youth and comes at a time when the provincial government is implementing strategies aimed at rebuilding the economy which is reeling from the devastating impact of Covid-19 and civil unrest.
“We will support Ms Mswane’s endeavours to use the Miss South Africa platform to shine the spotlight on unemployment and poverty, especially among the youth and seek meaningful solutions towards its reduction. She has not only put KwaZulu-Natal on the map, but she is an exemplary role model, who wants to be part of the solution to eradicate unemployment."
Mswane received R1 million in cash as well as a further R3m worth of sponsorships and prizes, including the use of a fully furnished and serviced apartment at the luxurious Central Square Sandton, with interior decor by Vursa, and a Mercedes Benz C-Class Sedan for the year of her reign.