Miss South Africa 2021, Lalela Mswane, has to be among the beauty queens that has gone through the most for the crown. As she defied all odds and came in top three at the Miss Universe pageant in Israel last year, now her fans think she deserves an apology from the government after how they treated her.
Recently, the government, through the Presidency’s official Twitter page, announced that President Ramaphosa had received a Letter of Credence from the Ambassador of the State of Israel. The two were pictured together exchanging the letter, and Israel’s flag stood proud.
As the news hit social media, many recalled how the government had treated Lalela when she announced that she would be going to Israel to compete in the pageant. They think the government now owes her an apology, as the backlash against her was clearly not motivated by a desire to distance Mzansi from a country accused of human rights violations and apartheid.
At the time when Lalela was gearing up for the pageant, the government through the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DAC), withdrew support for her and distanced itself from Miss SA organisers. The reason cited was that the pageant would have a “negative impact on the reputation and future of a young black woman”.
Now Miss SA fans are calling out the government for hypocrisy. They completely turned their backs on the beauty queen when she needed their support the most, and now because it benefits their personal interests, they turn around and happily shake hands and enter agreements with the Israeli government, like their prior “hesitation” is all forgotten.
Tweeps now think that the outrage was never about Israel or their apartheid. They think it was a personal attack against Lalela, although the reason for it is unclear. Some have suggested that it was because she comes from Kwa-Zulu Natal, and that she was hated the minute she was crowned.
The overriding sentiment is that she deserves an apology, not just from the government, but from all those social media users who bullied her. Her fans are calling for all the bullies to now extend the same energy in holding the government accountable if it was really about Palestinians and activism, or they must apologise to Lalela for causing her unnecessary turmoil over fake wokeness.
Read also: Death Threats Did Not Deter Lalela Mswane
Others have doubled down on their convictions, though. They believe that it is possible to hold both of them accountable: neither Lalela nor the government was right to have dealings with Israel, and have thus refused to apologise to her.
However you feel about this, the beauty queen did have to endure a lot of hate while she chased her dream, and we are so proud of her for coming in third in spite of it all. We hope to handle things with the level of grace she showed.