Mbalula pleads for Lalela Mswane to ‘take a stand’ by not attending Miss Universe in Israel

‘History will be on your side and you will be remembered forever. Use your power’

22 November 2021 - 12:00
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has urged Miss SA Lalela Mswane not to participate in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel next month. File photo.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has urged Miss SA Lalela Mswane not to participate in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel next month. File photo.
Image: Sunday Times

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula is the latest to express his opinion about Miss SA Lalela Mswane attending the Miss Universe pageant in Israel, saying she should take a stand. 

Mswane’s participation at the pageant came under scrutiny this month after pro-Palestine supporters urged the 24-year-old not to attend. 

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) said SA’s participation was “inexcusable”.

On social media Mbalula pleaded with Mswane to take a stand.

“ History will be on your side [and] you will be remembered forever and ever. Use your power. Don’t go to Israel. We are supporting you as our golden girl,” said the minister

Mbalula said if Mswane decided not to attend the beauty pageant, she would lose nothing and would gain a great deal.

He also took aim at the Miss Universe organisers, asking why they chose Israel. 

“The organisers of Miss Universe are to blame. Why Israel? Over so many countries. We stand with the people of Palestine. Solidarity forever,” he said

At the weekend, several organisations marched outside the Miss SA Organisation offices in Johannesburg to hand over a memorandum as part of a protest against Mswane’s involvement in the pageant.

Speaking at the march, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlaminisaid by Mswane heading to Israel, her participation would be like “wearing a swimming costume to swim in the blood of women and children of Palestine”.

Last week government withdrew its support for the pageant, with sports, arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa saying Miss SA’s decision to participate lacked “appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman”.

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

“Our first preference was to try to find each other so as to issue a joint media statement. This has regrettably been unsuccessful, hence the decision to publicly distance government and the people of SA from the Miss SA organiser’s stance on this matter. But even so, we hope some commonsense will prevail in the interest of the reigning queen, Lalela Mswane, and we remain open for discussions in that regard.”

However, the Miss SA Organisation said it was not pulling out of the pageant, telling TshisaLIVE it was “not getting involved in a political war of words and looks forward to watching Miss SA make the country proud on an international stage”.


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