Brand SA Won’t Take Sides On Miss Universe In Israel

Brand South Africa has refused to be drawn into the debate regarding the participation of Miss SA in the Miss Universe pageant that will be held in Israel next month.

Miss SA 2021 Lalela Mswane, who was crowned last month and holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Pretoria, has been caught up in a Twitter storm over her intention to take part in the Miss Universe pageant.

In recent weeks Chief Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, MP and tribal chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council has reiterated calls for a boycott of the Miss Universe pageant.

Chief Mandela – the grandson of icon Nelson Mandela – said: “We reiterate our call to all Miss Universe pageant contestants to heed our call and do what is right. Boycott Apartheid Israel. Do not participate in the Apartheid Israel Miss Universe pageant.

“Do not allow it to hide behind your presence and a semblance of normalcy whilst it continues its agenda of extermination and discrimination against Palestinians.”

On Monday, Brand South Africa said it was aware of conversations in the news environment regarding Miss SA participating in the 70th Miss Universe competition, which will be hosted in Israel.

Commenting on the matter, Brand South Africa – one of the sponsors of Miss SA – said it was an “apolitical organisation” and was “not in a position to comment on matters relating to the conflict in the Middle East”.

However, Brand SA said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has already pronounced the government’s position on the matter regarding the importance of upholding the principles of self-determination and non-discrimination: Justice for the Palestinian People.

“South Africa has, in that regard, issued numerous media statements strongly condemning the actions of the Israeli government, where casualties have been mostly innocent civilians, children, women, and the elderly,” said Brand South Africa.

“Furthermore, the South African government remains unequivocally committed to and values efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN Resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters.”

Brand South Africa added: “To that extent, Brand SA supports the position of the government. Furthermore, Brand South Africa acknowledges that Miss SA is a private entity with a right to conduct its business in line with its commercial mandate.

“Importantly, the Miss Universe Organisation is a global, inclusive organisation that celebrates women of all cultures and backgrounds and empowers them to realise their goals through experiences that build self-confidence and create opportunities for success.”