Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane crowned second runner-up in Miss Universe pageant told Israeli media that she would have “regretted it for the rest of her life” had she not made the controversial decision to participate in the pageant on Sunday.
Mswane chose to participate in the international beauty pageant despite pressure against the decision.
“If I had not come to Israel to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, I think I would have regretted it for the rest of my life,” Mswane told The Jerusalem Post after she defied the South African government that pressured her to boycott the contest, because it is being held in Israel.
She spoke in an interview to the newspaper, in between rehearsals for the pageant’s musical numbers, breaking her silence about the pressure she has faced.
The host nation, Israel, had come under fire for its alleged anti-Palestinian war crimes and being known for allegedly being an apartheid state.
Citizens for Integrity on Monday called on Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa to apologise to Mswane after she made the top three at the 70th Miss Universe pageant which was held in Eilat, Israel.
In the swimsuit category, Miss SA wore a white high-waisted two-piece bikini complemented by an animal print swim coverall and a pair of nude heels. Mswane’s hair was styled in a high ponytail and she wore silver hoop earrings.
However, Mswane still received backlash on social media.
Twitter user @NnaKeMopedi said Mswane is not South Africa’s queen and that she is there representing the company that sponsors the pageant.
“Our queen would not be seen in a state which regards other people and her as less humans, an apartheid state. She is there to do as she is hired.”
Not our queen, she is not representing South African, but that compony which sponsors or makes that SA pageant.— Thabo (@NnaKeMopedi) December 11, 2021
Our queen would not be seen in a state which regards other people and her as less humans, an apartheid state. She is there to do a she is hired.
Another user, @ActingCeo7, said it is “disgusting for a black person from South Africa to go and legitimize a racist settler-colonial regime that even today is demolishing the homes of Palestinians to make room for European and American settlers.”
Disgusting. Honestly, genuinely disgusting. For a black person from South Africa to go and legitimize a racist settler-colonial regime that even today is demolishing the homes of Palestinians to make room for European and American settlers. I'm sick. https://t.co/85rUMTFIoj— Simo Häyhä (@ActingCeo7) December 11, 2021
The 24-year-old ballet dancer and model wore a white gown designed by Ezra Couture for her formal attire. Her hair was styled in a high bun for this look. While modelling down the runway, the MC announced that with her law degree, she plans to be an attorney specialising in international humanitarian law.
Twitter user @faatimahE said Mswane’s choice to specialise in that makes no sense.
Please lord an attorney specializing in international humanitarian law but competing boldly in an apartheid state. MAKE IT MAKE SENSE https://t.co/RXHWBuyPr0— Lady Violet Crawley (@faatimahE) December 11, 2021
In the outfit representing her country, Mswane was dressed in a white bodysuit adorned with feathers and a silver headpiece, said to be representing a dove of peace. The costume was designed by the competition’s costume department. The Miss SA Twitter account said:
“Our beautiful Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane represents her nation, culture and its spirit of Ubuntu. A nation that has shown that lasting peace can be achieved. She is honoured to bring this message of hope to the global stage.”