Johannesburg - Something about politics drives a wedge.
It cuts in and overtakes without indicating.
It drives on the yellow line and can stop wherever or whenever.
Something about politics is like gravity; whether you believe in it or not, it draws you in or pushes you down.
Politics is synonymous with air, you inactively partake in consuming it.
Politics turned Lalela Mswane’s world upside down for daring to partake in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel, a country often derided for its treatment of Palestinians.
She always knew being Miss South Africa was not going to be a small feat, but she never “expected a baptism with fire”.
How dare she dreams in colour, attempting to conquer the pinnacle of her career?
I suppose to a country, still deeply divided themselves in who they support, her participation was seen as her choosing a side, Israel or Palestine.
Mswane questioned herself if whether going was even the correct choice.
I mean the needs of many outweigh the needs of one, right?
We all have nightmares sometimes, how could choosing her dream not be an option?
The main bone of contention is that her participation was an automatic “representing South Africa”, and she could not separate herself from that. And for that, she was crucified.
She modelled a thin line between personal achievement and patriotism.
That same patriotism is broken into parts itself.
Nine days after Israel’s declaration of independence, on May 24 ,1948, the South African government of Jan Smuts granted de facto recognition to the State of Israel.
Smut was a long-time supporter of Zionism.
This recognition of the new Jewish state happened two days before Jan Smuts’s United Party was voted out of office and replaced by the pro-apartheid National Party.
Following the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, South Africa established diplomatic relations with the State of Palestine in February the following year.
Former South African president Nelson Mandela visited both Israel and Palestine and called for peace between both sides.
However, Israel has been criticised for its treatment of the Palestinians, and parallels have been drawn between apartheid South Africa and modern-day Israel.
We have diplomatic ties with both states and are losing our minds over which side of the solidarity slice is buttered the most.
Over which side Mswane had to butter.
She was stuck between Israel and a burning Palestine.
But like the true tale of an Indian labourer, Dashrath Manjhi, also known as the Mountain Man, Mswane carved her own path.
With a hammer and chisel, Manjhi gave 22 years of his life to carve a 110m long path through a mountain, cutting a 55km trip from his village to town down to 15km.
It was the path of most resistance.
Her goal is to launch her campaign, tackling unemployment in the country.
She has pledged 10% of her Miss SA winnings to her cause.
Despite the backlash she received for her decision to participate in the competition, she said she would definitely do it again.