Miss South Africa has allegedly been pressured into pulling out of the Miss Universe pageant to be held in Israel next month.
Human rights organisation #Africa4Palestine said on Tuesday afternoon it “welcomes the news that Miss Lalela Mswane, current Miss South Africa, is withdrawing her participation from this year’s controversial Israeli-hosted Miss Universe pageant”.
A protest calling for the boycott of the Miss Universe pageant had been planned for Friday by the Palestine Solidarity Alliance.
“We eagerly await the formal announcement and hope that Miss South Africa withdrawing sets an example to other contestants who maybe afraid to publicly stand up for human rights,” said Africa4Palestine.
“Miss South Africa will now join a growing list of participants who have withdrawn from the upcoming Israeli pageant including Miss Malaysia, Miss Greece, Miss Laos and Miss Indonesia who are all not attending this year’s Miss Universe taking place in apartheid Israel.
“We have received information of Mswane’s withdrawal following the national outcry and public calls from South Africans, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Zwelivelile ‘Mandla’ Mandela (MP), and other notable personalities, for Miss SA to cancel her participation from the Israeli hosted event.
“Miss South Africa was trending in the country yesterday, but for all the wrong reasons. We are glad that it now seems that sense has prevailed and that Miss South Africa is choosing to be on the right side of history by withdrawing from the Israeli-hosted event.”
However in another development IOL quotes Miss South Africa Organisation CEO Stephanie Weil as saying statements indicating that Mswane had pulled out “were completely unfounded and untrue”.
Weil said a “very, very small, but extremely vocal, group” had attempted, and failed, to derail Mswane’s chances at the prestigious international pageant.