Miss SA finalist Lalela Mswane is flying the KZN flag high

September 15, 2021

It’s been decades since the inception of Miss SA, a competition that previously excluded black women until 1993 when we crowned our first black Miss SA. Over the years, SA has seen thousands of women from different backgrounds and races enter this competition for different reasons. One of these includes proving themselves to everyone who never believed in them.

Some 50 years later, Miss SA has grown to be a more diverse competition. This year we see our first transgender woman enter for Miss SA 2021.

Among the 2021 contestants who have made it to the top 10 finalists is KZN born law student and dancer, Lalela Mswane. Lalela has expressed her excitement and disbelief in making it this far in the competition.

“I was in awe. I couldn’t believe it for the longest time. But I was extremely excited. I am still in awe,” she said.

Lalela says she entered this competition in pursuit of a childhood dream. In addition, it was to prove to everyone who didn’t believe in her.

“When I was younger, I was bullied. And for me it was a thing of, okay – watch me now. Besides that, I have always resonated with the brand. Even at such a young age, I aspired to be Miss SA.”

With this competition, contestants have goals they wish to achieve, should they win. Lalela’s primary concern is unemployment. She has been working on a campaign that seeks to upskill high school students to prepare them for the workplace.

“I have often said that unemployment is quite a complex issue to tackle. It’s not gonna be easily eradicated. But, with that said, I don’t think we should shy away from doing anything.

Lalela Mswane
Miss SA finalist Lalela Mswane

“I then sat down and thought of a campaign that will be called #BeReady. Should I win Miss SA, I would collaborate with the Department of Education because I believe that the attribute of the high unemployment rate is the limitation of practical skills knowledge in schools.”

In addition, Lalela started a foundation called Lalela Foundation to further push her goal in the fight against eradicating unemployment and poverty.

“My foundation was established in Winter, in June 2020. I have always wanted a foundation. The idea came about when I was feeling cold at home. I wondered how homeless people must be feeling.

“The foundation was established on a blanket drive that I ran. And I wanted it to be bigger than that. I wanted to help young South Africans who have struggled to reach their full potential due to underprivileged backgrounds.”

Lalela is also a dancer. Although this has since taken the back seat with her focus on the competition, she still dances.

“Dancing isn’t something that I do, it’s something that I am, so it will forever be a part of me. It’s how I cope with stress, it’s what keeps me sane. I do dance, just not on a quest for a career anymore.”

When Lalela is not working or at school, she is reading. She says she is an avid reader and has been reading since grade 1.

“You are sure to find me reading. I love reading. I am a bookworm, I have been one since I was in grade 1. Or I am at the gym working out. And I’ll admit, one of my guilty pleasures is napping. I will squeeze in a nap whenever I can.”

Lalela and the rest of the top 10 finalists will hear their fate on the 16th of October 2021. The main ceremony will be held in Cape Town at the Grand West Arena.

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