Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane Wow in Israel with 'Dove of Peace' Costume
Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane Wow in Israel with 'Dove of Peace' Costume. Photo: FB / South African Friends of Isreal

Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, appeared on stage on Friday night during a preliminary event at the Miss Universe contest in a breathtaking national costume promoting peace in the world. After a controversial journey to get to Israel for the competition, Lalela’s arrival on stage – complete with graceful ballet steps – made a big impact, with many saying it was like the South African contestant flew in like a dove bringing peace. (The finale tonight is available to watch on DStv, see details below.)

Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane Wow in Israel with 'Dove of Peace' Costume
Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane Wow in Israel with ‘Dove of Peace’ Costume. Photo: FB / South African Friends of Israel

South African Friends of Israel posted a photo from the event said: “Stunning! Miss South Africa wows the audience in Israel with a gorgeous costume called the “dove of peace” to represent peace amongst nations.”

Miss SA’s presence at the Miss Universe pageant in Israel has caused nationwide controversy. Lalela (24) was put under pressure from several pro-Palestinian sources to not fly to Israel to compete in the competition, including from the South African government which distanced itself from the Miss South Africa organisation, withdrawing support.

Miss South Africa said: “A Dove of Peace! Our beautiful Miss South Africa @lalelamswane represents her nation, culture and its spirit of Ubuntu. A nation that has shown that lasting peace can be achieved. She is honoured to bring this message of hope to the global stage.”


Her exquisite dress was created by The Costume department, said Miss SA. Although not all are impressed. Miss SA’s detractors have said the costume looked more like a chicken, than a dove. Others said it was too embarrassing to watch. Social media blogger Jacqui Kimmel answered: “Sometimes being present, showing up even when the tides are against you, and quietly, gracefully, using powerful symbolism ?️ is a protest that speaks louder than words. I am not embarrassed, only proud. What courage.”

In the video below Lalela explains how ballet and dance have been the one constant in a life filled with trials and uncertainties, particularly during periods of being bullied like when she was a child and was an ‘outlier’ for being tall, lanky and dark-skinned.

How to watch the Miss Universe pageant in South Africa

The 70th Miss Universe pageant will be aired live tonight (Monday morning 13 Dec in SA) from the Universe Arena in Eilat on DStv. The three-hour show starts at 02h00 on 1Magic (DStv 103) with a primetime repeat on Monday at 22h00, and another repeat on M-Net’s Me (DStv 115) on Sunday 19 December at 20h00.

WATCH Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane

WATCH The 70th Miss Universe pageant – every National Costume

Watch Miss SA at around 1:18:20.

Here’s Miss SA on Friday in a preliminary event – Swimsuit Walk