Was government right to withdraw support for Miss SA Lalela Mswane? Opinions are split

15 November 2021 - 09:10
Lalela Mswane will participate in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel despite calls for her to pull out. File photo.
Lalela Mswane will participate in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel despite calls for her to pull out. File photo.
Image: Supplied/Miss SA

Miss SA Lalela Mswane is dominating conversations on social media after the government issued a statement on Sunday to announce its decision to distance itself from her participation in the Miss Universe pageant.

Mswane is embroiled in controversy since the Miss SA Organisation said she would not be withdrawing from the pageant set to take place in Israel in December.

Many online are opposed to her taking part in the pageant, while others were critical of the government for withdrawing support. 

Politicians and civil society have in the past week called on Mswane to take a stance against Israel in that country’s conflict with Palestine.

The department of sport, arts and culture said the Miss SA Organisation did not seem eager to appreciate the negative impact of representing the country in Israel.

The department said Mswane’s individual interests and aspirations to compete on the Miss Universe stage cannot outweigh the reasons that require her withdrawal.

“If anything, by withdrawing, Miss SA’s reputation and overall standing will be far more advanced in SA and internationally in comparison to a once-off event that can prove disastrous to her future and public standing as a young black woman,” said minister Nathi Mthethwa.           

Mandla Mandela, grandson of former president Nelson Mandela, had earlier called for Miss SA to boycott the event and welcomed government’s decision.

TimesLIVE recently ran a poll asking readers whether Mswane should boycott the event.

Most readers (60%) said she should go ahead as the Miss Universe event “is not politically inspired”, 34% said she should “do the right thing” and withdraw, and 5% said they would watch and see before weighing in.

Here’s a snapshot of some reactions on social media:        


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