PRESS STATEMENT: Miss South Africa to withdraw from Miss Universe 
09 November 2021 

The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine 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.

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. Miss South Africa will now join a growing list of participants who have withdrawn from the upcoming Israeli pageant including Miss Malaysia, Miss Greece, Miss Laos and Miss Indonesia who are all not attending this year’s Miss Universe taking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.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has previously said: “Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of “normalcy” in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo. Those who contribute to Israel’s temporary isolation are saying that Israelis and Palestinians are equally entitled to dignity and peace…People united in pursuit of a righteous cause are unstoppable”

South Africans, the South African government and anti-apartheid icons overwhelmingly consider Israel an Apartheid State. The late mama Winnie Mandela put it succinctly: “Apartheid Israel can be defeated, just as apartheid in South Africa was defeated.” We thank Miss SA, for being on the right side of history.

South Africa is a country that suffered from Apartheid and a country that relied on people from all over the world to make sacrifices to stop human rights violations from being committed. Hosting an event such as Miss Universe in such a horrific and oppressive country as Israel makes the event ugly. We believe that in the same way that our cricket players and sports people are taking a knee against racism, that Miss SA Lalela Mswane is representing the views of South Africans and Africans by not endorsing Israel and its Apartheid regime.

The reason to boycott this event taking place in Israel, is clear as daylight. Israel’s apartheid policies are well documented by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, several bodies of the United Nations and Israel’s own human rights groups, such as Btselem. In addition, this year alone, the Israeli regime murdered over 80 Palestinian children. That’s, on average, 1 child every 3 days. In May this year, within a period of 10 days, Israel killed – in less than two weeks – over 230 Palestinians including more than 60 children and 3 pregnant women. This is not a regime that is beautiful and no person should normalise an ugly regime.

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AFRICA 4 PALESTINE

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