Reminders of Apartheid Present in Miss South Africa 2018

Twelve finalists will compete for the title “Miss South Africa” on Sunday, May 27th, its 60th anniversary!

The pageant, hosted by Bonang Matheba, will be held at Sun Arena at Time Square, Pretoria.

Some changes are happening in this upcoming competition. Following the cut to the top 5 finalists, the top 2 will be announced. One will proudly be crowned “Miss World South Africa” while the other will be honored with the title “Miss Universe South Africa.”

Both will compete in their own respective competitions. However, only one princess can be “Miss South Africa 2018.” In order to determine this, they will be asked one final question.

The winner is to receive R3 million, which is the largest prize in the history of the event! That makes the Miss South Africa pageant the richest competition in the world.

Traditionally the reigning Miss South Africa would compete and represent her country in both pageants. Changes were made in order to expand South Africa’s presence on a global stage. No scheduling issues can occur due to the change as well.

Beauty therapist, Rooper Leen, welcomes the new development. “It is a good move, moving from the traditional way of doing things,” she says, “It makes the contest more attractive and interesting. Doing the same thing over and over again will end up boring. It is a great advantage to have 2 beauties eligible to compete at a global platform. It improves our chances of winning. I am really supporting of the move.

The controversy, however, is not stemming from the simple change in rules. Because it is the 60th anniversary of Miss South Africa, all of the past winners were invited to participate in a parade. The celebration and parade exclude the Black pageant queens that were barred from competing during the apartheid era.

Black and colored pageant queens were allocated into Miss Africa South, and then Miss Black South Africa. Miss South Africa was not made inclusive until 1992.

Managing executive at Sponsor Cell C and former winner Suzette van der Merwe finds no issue in the matter.

She says, “Those pageants were owned by other organizations and not the Miss South Africa Organization. We can only reflect on our journey and that of the Miss South Africa pageant over the last 60 years.”

Others are not as forgiving as Suzette. The segregation due to the apartheid era politics was not Black pageant queens choice. Had the laws been different, the Black and white queens would have competed together. The exclusion is implying acceptance of the way things once were.

Revered 1980s model, Nakedi Ribane also commented on the matter.

“The sad thing is that we have a new dispension since 1994 and excluding Black women who were disadvantaged by apartheid is not fair. What Miss South Africa is saying is that they are happy and endorse apartheid.”

While Miss South Africa has obviously not endorsed apartheid today, it is still crucial that they denounce it. It is extremely important that the pageant acknowledge the wrongs that were previously committed because the racist laws did affect the beauty world.

The first non-white winner was Amy Kleinhans in 1993. Jacqui Mofokeng, the first black winner, was crowned the following year in 1994.

Mofokeng describes the moment she won as surreal. “It was mind-blowing,” she says, “ I have heard people talk about seeing stars. On that day, I actually saw them and I was blinded for a moment. If you watch the show, you will see me staggering. That was a God moment for me and I didn’t know it. But now I know.”


Featured Image via Flickr.


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