The nailbiting deliberations are complete, the judges have spoken, and the nation has a new Miss SA. She is Lalela Mswane, crowned at the sparkling finale held at the Grand Arena, Grandwest, Cape Town (October 16).
The KZN beauty, a recently qualified attorney, became Miss SA 2021 and the 63rd person to win the most coveted title in South Africa. According to tradition, the crown was placed on her head by Shudufhadzo Musida, of Limpopo, who won the pageant in 2020. With the crown goes a package of prizes and sponsorships worth about R4 million.
Lalela, who scooped the crown from nine other hopefuls on stage at the arena, had her victory applauded by a limited live audience at the event, which was also streamed live and watched by thousands of South African TV viewers and an international audience.
Lalela will now go forward to represent South Africa at the Miss World/Miss Universe pageants. Her journey to the crown that started about six ago, began with the new Miss SA putting her legal ambitions on hold to participate in the pageant. With only her articles to complete and already the holder of an LLB degree from the University of Pretoria, she entered the pageant believing that it offered opportunities for professional women.
In an earlier interview, she said, “now more than ever, the competition is about more than being just a beauty pageant. It is a platform for women. Competitors are phenomenal women from all walks of life who aspire to be heard. They are intelligent, worthy people who are gaining opportunities through their participation. The pageant is a potential launchpad for many things. You gain exposure, meet people you never would normally have met, and create networks that can result in opportunities that could otherwise never have arisen. The focus is on building women and tasking their lives to new levels.”