Miss SA faces critique for participation in Miss Universe pageant in Israel

Miss SA faces critique for participation in Miss Universe pageant in Israel…  As the Miss Universe Pagent looms under just a month away, our recently crowned Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, is facing criticism.

Miss SA faces critique for participation in Miss Universe pageant in Israel
Miss SA faces critique for participation in Miss Universe pageant in Israel—–

As the international pageant is set to take place in Israel, and given the Palestine/Israeli socio-political dynamics in relation to South Africa – people are questioning Mswane’s decision to attend. The criticism largely comes from South Africa’s friendly relations with Palestine and the opinion-contested coining of Israel as an apartheid state in the eyes of some, but not all.

Naturally, the Israel/ Palestine divide is exactly that – a divide of opinions for those on the neutral spectrum. However, many South Africans are pushing for Mswane to rethink her involvement.

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One activist group in particular, namely The Palestine Solidarity Alliance, has expressed massive critique and a call for a boycott against Mswane. These decisions come after they alleged that Miss South Africa “refused to engage with their plight” as per Briefly, and is “more concerned with her own plight than that of Palestine.”

According to Opera News, the activism group claims that the princess of South Africa blocked them and their youth wing from communication.

In response, The Miss South Africa Organisation told TimesLIVE it “is 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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What we see here is the political contestation that international pageantry can cause – when tiaras and gowns become symbols of alliance or anti-alliance in the eyes of the public, writes Cape {town} Etc’s Ashleigh Nefdt, who holds an Honours degree in International Relations. People are largely drawing their opinions regarding Miss South Africa’s involvement in the Miss Universe competition based, on South Africa’s alignment to Palestine in relation to our Foreign Policy. As the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, DIRCO outlines: “the formalisation of diplomatic relations gave expression to strong and long-standing ties of friendship and mutual support between the peoples of South Africa and Palestine.” However, these matters become a sticky set-up in the world of pageantry (which is largely a form of cultural diplomacy) when the individual and the symbol that a figure like Miss SA embodies, becomes blurred.

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The questions we as the public can ask then are how much do we expect from a symbol like Miss South Africa, and whose direction should she follow? The government? The Miss SA body? Or her own?


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