SA reacts to Miss SA equating calls to boycott pageant in Israel as ‘bullying’
Author Janine Jellars, satirist Lesego “Coconut Kelz” Tlhabi and actress Florence Masebe have joined hundreds who have reacted with disgust to the Miss SA organisation's response to calls that Lalela Mswane boycott the Miss Universe pageant in Israel.
Miss SA organisers issued a statement on Tuesday confirming Lalela will participate in the international pageant despite most South Africans being against the idea. They went on to equate such calls with “bullying” Lalela.
“Anyone who wants to rob Lalela of her moment in the spotlight is unkind and short-sighted. She is the shining beacon for young women everywhere, showing them that being beautiful while being clever and educated is very possible.
“We are not a political organisation and the Miss Universe pageant is not a politically inspired event,” read the statement from Miss SA Organisation CEO Stephanie Weil.
Their statement caused a hectic reaction on the TL and saw a lot of people calling out the organisation for wanting to renounce being “political” when it suits their agenda.
Janine said: “Why is Miss SA framing the conversation around Miss SA going to Israel as 'bullying'? People are simply saying: If you are going to represent SA, then represent the values of SA. Is the Miss SA Organisation not aware of the official SA stance on Palestinian liberation?”
“To try to claim that @Official_MissSA is apolitical is also disingenuous, especially as the pageant has recently starting using the framing of 'the personal is the political' in its drive to further inclusivity and representation. You are sending a black South African woman to represent SA on stage in an apartheid state. If you don't understand how tone deaf that is, then I don't even know what to say.”
You are sending a Black South African woman to represent South Africa on stage in an apartheid state. If you don't understand how tone deaf that is, then I don't even know what to say.— Janine J 💕 (@janine_j) November 9, 2021
Though there were a few people pulling behind Miss SA who expressed their opinions as to why she should go, most people on social media focused calling out the organisation's “hypocrisy”.
Here are some of the top Twitter reactions “equating” calls for Lalela to boycott Miss Universe as “bullying”:
In the same breath that @Official_MissSA wants to denounce politics, they bring up black women hair which is EXTREMELY political. The hypocrisy my lord.— Lesego Tlhabi (@LesegoTlhabi) November 10, 2021
Also remember when black women had to have their own pageant because… politics? Lol pic.twitter.com/qELSk3qMDM
I am more surprised with Lalela. Her name is a message. LISTEN. She is an LLB graduate. She should guide the Miss SA mlungus.— Kwanele Asante, MScMed (@breastlessAfrik) November 9, 2021
This Miss SA thing should not even be up for debate, what is so hard? The country has a stand.— African Child #SwaziLivesMatter 🇸🇿 (@ZikhonaTshona) November 9, 2021
Nelson Mandela took international solidarity so seriously. There is no ways you can use him in any example defending a view to ignore a boycott. Are you mad?— Noxolo Madonsela (@Noxxcee) November 8, 2021
If Mandela was alive, Miss SA participating in a pageant held in Israel would not be a debate. She would not go!
LOL! The Miss SA organisation is talking about sending a Black SA woman to Israel for a beauty competition because she won't be bullied when the exact issue over there is *checks notes* bullying people through occupations and violence. Cool.— Nanana Rathabe (@NthabiWabi) November 9, 2021
Miss SA Lalela Mswane standing firm - she’s going to Israel to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. She refuses to be “bullied” by those calling for her withdrawal. Is she right? A beauty queen shouldn’t be political? What is representation if not political? #702Breakfast— Bongani Bingwa (@bonglez) November 10, 2021