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Lalela has no regrets after Israel controversy

We’ve told you before that the Miss South Africa organisation and Miss SA 2021 herself, Lalela Mswane, were set to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel. This, despite criticism from activists, the public and even the SA government that she would be supporting what Human Rights Watch has labelled an apartheid state guilty of gross human rights violations against Palestinians. 

On Sunday, the pageant was held in Eilat. Mswane finished third behind winner Miss India, Harnaaz Sandhu, and first runner-up Miss Paraguay, Nadia Ferreira.

Mswane used the pageant stage as an opportunity to speak about “cancel culture”, saying: “I believe in cancel culture. In the same breath, I believe in redemption culture and hoping the person has matured, learnt and done better. I hope they do better and are redeemed. I do believe they can grow and should be given the gap to do that.” 🤨

Her supporters have called on the Minister of Arts & Culture to apologise to Mswane for leaving her in the cold without government support. Political analyst Lebohang Pheko took to Twitter to praise Mswane for her resilience. She called out the South African government for its inconsistent policy position on Israel, citing the government’s silence when South Africa’s Rugby 7s team (Blitzbokke) attended a training camp with Israel’s 7s rugby team in Stellenbosch last December.

Earlier last week, Mswane spoke out for the first time, telling the Jerusalem Post in an exclusive interview that she had no regrets about competing in the pageant. “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,” she said.

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 December 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.