Protest action against Miss SA Lalela Mswane attending the Miss Universe pageant, to be held in Israel in December, is currently underway.
Newly crowned Mswane and the Miss SA organisation are under mounting pressure to boycott the pageant.
Last week, the South African government withdrew its support for the pageant, with Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa saying Miss SA’s decision to participate in Miss Universe lacked “appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman”.
“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented and government, as the legitimate representative of the people of South Africa, cannot in good conscience associate itself with such,” said Mthethwa.
In response to the criticism, the Miss SA organisation said they were not a political organisation, and that anyone who wanted to rob Mswane of “her moment in the spotlight” was being “unkind and short-sighted”.
“She is a 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,” the organisation said.
Similar words were uttered recently by the current Miss Universe, Andrea Meza, who hails from Mexico.
Forbes reported Meza saying the location of the Miss Universe pageant did not bother her, and that the competition should not be politicised.
Protest action underway
From 2pm on Friday, organisations ranging from Africa4Palestine to the ANC, Nehawu, the EFF, SACP, Youth for Palestine and Al Jama-Ah, gathered outside the Miss SA headquarters on Rivonia Road, in Morningside, to once again implore the organisation to boycott the Miss Universe pageant.
According to Jacaranda News, the JMPD is at the scene to keep traffic flowing in the area, and to monitor the protest action.