lalela mswane, miss sa, israel

Former Miss SA Lalela Mswane has been criticised again for her decision to visit Israel in 2021L
Images via Facebook: Miss SA

Lalela Mswane dragged over Miss SA Israel trip amid SA’s Gaza stance

Amid South Africa’s hearing against Israel at the ICJ, ex Miss SA Lalela Mswane has been reminded of a ‘poor decision’ to visit the country.

lalela mswane, miss sa, israel

Former Miss SA Lalela Mswane has been criticised again for her decision to visit Israel in 2021L
Images via Facebook: Miss SA

Former Miss SA Lalela Mswane has been reminded of her past “transgressions” – a trip to Israel to represent the country at the 2021 Miss Universe pageant. This is amid South Africa’s genocide case against the country and allegiance with Gaza at its presentation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The court – the highest legal body of the United Nations – has begun its hearing brought forth by SA at The Hague in the Netherlands.

Filed by a local legal team, SA is demanding that Israel “immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.”

ALSO READ: ‘I felt so dirty’: Lalela Mswane on near-rape experience as a little girl


On 13 December 2021, the Miss Universe pageant took place in Eilat, Israel. The location was a source of great scrutiny for the international pageant.

Nevertheless, the Miss SA organisation and winner Lalela Mswane – who insisted on going – were criticised by the public and by the government for supporting an “Apartheid state.”

Despite the backlash, Lalela was crowned Miss Universe 2021 second-runner-up. A few months later, she would go on to win Miss Supranational.

Amid the ICJ hearing, Lalela has found her name trending on X over her stance all over again.

ALSO READ: ‘I wanted to kill myself’: Lalela Mswane on Israel pageant backlash [watch]

@_Nelleaux: “I hope Lalela Mswane is watching. Not just as the former Miss South Africa who couldn’t give a damn about the optics of her stance on human rights, but as a law graduate who most likely intended to defend a constitution that encourages the protection thereof, specifically.

@kaylenciaga: “Lalela made the worst decision. She will always be remembered for this. She made her bed”

@brownsunsets: “I think what makes Lalela Mswane’s choice and statements so extremely disappointing and pitiful, is that other countries who had no history of Apartheid, pulled out of Miss Universe in 2021 due to it being hosted in Israel, an Apartheid state. It’s embarrassing and baffling”.

Here are a few more reactions


Lalela Mswane’s backlash for deciding to go to the Miss Universe in Israel made headlines at the time.

Mandla Mandela – the grandson of former SA president Nelson Mandela – criticised Miss SA organisers and other countries who decided to continue their participation in Israel, which he deems an “Apartheid state.”

Pro-Palestine movements – including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) also strongly condemned her.

ALSO READ: Lalela Mswane addresses hot water over Miss Supranational

The Department of Arts and Culture also issued a statement, withdrawing their support to the Miss SA pageant and Lalela.

A part of it read: “What during initial consultations appeared like engaging, constructive and progressive discussions, was later met with an unpleasant demeanour that is intransigent and lacking appreciation of the potential negative impact of such a decision on the reputation and future of a young black woman.”


Speaking to Anika Larsen on eTV’s My Guest Tonight last year, Lalela Mswane went on to defend her trip to Israel.

She said: “It was a known fact, whoever wins is going to Miss Universe in Israel. So it’s not a me thing.

“It was whoever. It just happened to be me. I didn’t pick the location; it was just set. Had it been absolutely anywhere in the world, I would have participated.

“Being in Israel had nothing to do with my decision or the organization’s decision to go”.

Lalela added that the situation could have been handled differently. She added, “I think things could have been handled more sensitively.

ALSO READ: ‘I followed what felt right’: Lalela speaks after Miss Universe Top 3 win

“In hindsight, I was very silent a lot of the time because I felt like if I said something, I’m going to be criticized anyways. So part of me just felt like I had no fight, and we left to keep or even to attempt to counter what people had concluded about me.

“But also, I am my own person who was your harshest critic. I firmly believe that many people joined this hate movement against me.”