Miss SA Lalela Mswane jets off to Israel: ‘I am deeply thankful to all the amazing people who supported me’

29 November 2021 - 12:00
Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane has received backlash for her participation in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel.
Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane has received backlash for her participation in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel.
Image: Supplied/ Yolanda van der Stoep

Miss SA Lalela Mswane has thanked the “amazing people” who stuck by her side as she prepares to represent the country at the Miss Universe pageant in Israel next month.

The beauty queen took to social media at the weekend to confirm she was participating in the pageant, despite calls for her to withdraw.

The 24-year-old said attending Miss Universe was “not only an honour but also a huge responsibility”.

“I am determined to serve our country proudly in the best way I can.

“I stand today as an empowered woman because of so many before me who fought for our voices to be heard. I feel my duty is to do the same for the women of the past, the women of today and the women to come.

“There is no greater time to shed light on issues affecting women, to choose courage over comfort and to be steadfast in my beliefs regarding the advancement of women and our rights.”

Mswane said she viewed her participation in the pageant as a “unique opportunity” to hopefully contribute to a process of dialogue and peace.

“I am deeply thankful to all the amazing people who have supported and uplifted me and brought me joy and comfort during the lead up to this moment. I wish to compete with the support of South Africans and do my country proud,” she said. 

The pageant has been in the spotlight around the world amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Last week transport minister Fikile Mbalula pleaded with Mswane to take a stand and not attend the pageant. 

He said if Mswane decided not to attend, she would lose nothing and would gain a great deal.

“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 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.


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