Trashy Clothing, a queer Ready-to-wear, and politically aware, Palestinian fashion brand, recently released their Autumn/Winter 2021/22 “Errorvision” runway film. Using the label “Miss Apartheid,” the brand depicts how Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, has been condoning apartheid policies imposed by Israel on Palestinians.
“No art-washing agents allowed in song contests, sports competitions, and beauty pageants,” Trashy Clothing commented.
This came in the aftermath of the criticism sparked against Mswane over her eagerness to participate at the Miss Universe 2021 competition in Israel despite Israel’s oppressive policies against Palestinians and Palestinian women in particular.
Mswane arrived in Palestine and will be participating despite the Israeli apartheid and the oppression that Palestinians are facing, as well as the travel ban on all South African countries due to COVID-19.
The government of South Africa has withdrawn its support to Mswane because of its support for the BDS movement in Palestine.
“The atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinians are well documented,” said Minister of Arts, Sport, and Culture Nathi Mthethwa in a statement earlier this week.
Users on Twitter have been calling out Mswane and demanding her to withdraw from the competition, clarifying that the policies of apartheid Israel are the same as those practiced in South Africa.
Amid this controversy, Miss Greece Rafaela Plastira voiced her support for Palestine, announcing that she would withdraw from the competition in protest against Apartheid Israel that occupies Palestine.
“I may not live in Palestine, but Palestine lives in my heart forever,” she said. “Palestine, you are not only in my mind every day, but you have the most beautiful place in my heart forever,” she added.
“I am disappointed in Miss Universe for this! It was a childhood dream for me, but I really don’t care. I CARE about my people!! Humanity ABOVE Beauty Pageants!”
Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela and the chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, called for boycotting the Miss Universe Pageant in Israel.
“We must stand together and take a bold stand against the genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity committed daily by Apartheid Israel against the innocent Palestinian men, women, and children in Occupied Palestine,” he said.
“We cannot in good conscience support the Miss Universe Pageant in Apartheid Israel whilst it flagrantly denies the fundamental human rights of the Palestinians, continues its occupation of Palestinian lands and continues the expansion of its illegal settlements in violation of International law,” he continued.
In a video made by the BDS movement, Palestinian women demand Miss Universe beauty pageants to withdraw from the competition in protest against the oppression that Palestinians face on a daily basis and salute contestants who withdrew from the competition.
“From Palestine, we salute Miss Malaysia and Miss Indonesia for withdrawing and boycotting apartheid Israel,” said Nesma Abu Shammala, a Palestinian woman from Gaza Strip.
“We also salute Miss Greece, the South African government, and all solidarity movements for their principled positions,” said Kristy Shammas, a Palestinian woman from Ramallah.
However, this is not the first time creatives and/or artists decide to condone Israel’s oppression in the name of being “apolitical,” and/or “an entertainer.”
In 2018, South Africa’s DJ Black Coffee performed in Tel Aviv on the same week Israel killed more than a dozen Palestinians and wounded a thousand others. In fact, his stance was similar to that of Mswane, claiming that he had “rights and free will.”
The Miss Universe 2021 competition is to be held this December 12th in the Red Sea resort of Eilat.