South Africans demand withdrawal from Miss Universe pageant in Israel
South Africans have protested to reject plans by Miss South Africa beauty pageant organizers to participate in the Miss Universe show in December in Israel.
“We are protesting due to the fact that the Miss SA organization refuses to withdraw Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane from the Miss Universe pageant and boycott it,’’ Noor Ahmad of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance Youth League (PSAYL) told reporters on Friday during a protest outside the offices of Miss South Africa beauty pageant organizers.
The South African government announced it is withdrawing support for Mswane due to her decision to take part in the pageant.
South Africa opposes Israeli regime’s occupation of Palestine and said it cannot in good conscience associate itself with the show on Dec. 12.
“The aim of the protest is to keep applying pressure on the Miss SA organization to boycott the pageant. Lalela hasn’t left South Africa for Israel yet so there is still time for her to withdraw and for the Miss SA organization to boycott the pageant,’’ said Ahamad.
She said South Africans need to support the call for a cultural, academic, art and other forms of boycotts against Israel as part of the international solidarity to defeat the occupation.
The protest was endorsed and supported by several civil society organizations in South Africa.
Chief Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela, a grandson of the late Nelson Mandela, reminded South Africans that international solidarity movements helped South Africa in its struggle against apartheid.
“We are calling on our government to withdraw the name of South Africa from being used at the upcoming pageant in Israel,” Mandela, who is also an MP for the ruling African National Congress, told reporters at the demonstration. He said neither should a South Africa flag be flown at the show nor should the name of South Africa be associated with the pageant.
Mandela reminded his country of Palestinian support in all forms during their struggle against apartheid and South Africa now has a duty to stand with them as they face brutal oppression under Israel.
Meanwhile, Africa for Palestine also says the Miss South Africa organization is misrepresenting the country by attending the Miss Universe pageant in Israel.
Several organizations marched outside the Miss South Africa organization’s offices in Johannesburg on Friday and handed over a memorandum as part of a protest against Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane's involvement in the competition.
The ruling ANC backed the has backed the boycott called on organizers to emulate the nine contestants who boycotted the 1976 Miss World pageant in protest of the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa.