JOHANNESBURG, Saturday, November 20, 2021 (WAFA) – Hundreds of pro-Palestine activists marched yesterday outside the Miss South Africa organization’s offices in Johannesburg and handed over a memorandum demanding Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane to cancel her participation in the Miss Universe 2021 pageant in Eilat, Israel, scheduled for December.
The protesters waved flags of Palestine and banners upholding the call for a free Palestine, demanding Miss South Africa to cancel her performance at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant and to respect the call for a global cultural boycott of apartheid Israel.
Africa For Palestine, a South African human rights organization lending solidarity and support to the Palestinian people, said the Miss South Africa organization is misrepresenting the country by attending the Miss Universe pageant in Israel later next month, and urged Mswane to "respect the call by oppressed Palestinians, progressive Israelis, SA government stance and her supporters" by boycotting apartheid Israel.
Earlier this week, the South African Arts and Culture Department withdrew its support for Miss South Africa due to its planned participation in Israel’s Miss Universe pageant.
The African National Congress party backed the department's decision and called on organizers to follow suit of the nine contestants who boycotted the 1976 Miss World pageant in protest of Miss SA’s participation and against the South African apartheid regime at that time.
Earlier this month, Africa For Palestine released a statement welcoming the intended withdrawal of Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane from the upcoming Israeli hosted Miss Universe.
A couple of hours later, the CEO of Miss South Africa Organization, Stephanie Weil, made an announcement on behalf of Miss South Africa, that Miss Lalela Mswane will still proceed to Israel.
"This u-turn is disappointing. CEO of Miss South Africa, Stephanie Weil, clearly supports Apartheid Israel by defending the indefensible," the organization said in a press statement.
The statement added, "It is clear to us that there are divisions within the organization and company of Miss South Africa. We had, in fact, been reliably informed of Miss Lalela Mswane’s withdrawal from the upcoming pageant in Israel, but it seems that there has been interference and pressure, with Miss South Africa now making a u-turn and reversing the withdrawal decision."
The statement added, "The Miss South Africa brand is getting uglier by the day by ignoring the history of South Africa, by disregarding the suffering of the Palestinians and by dismissing its own supporters who have urged the company to do the right thing and not endorse the Apartheid State of Israel."