Protesters rallied on Friday outside the Miss South Africa offices in Johannesburg to call on the current title holder to boycott the upcoming Miss Universe contest.
Members of various political parties and Palestine solidarity organizations were demonstrating against the pageant, which is set to be held in Israel in December.
Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson and a member of the South African parliament, compared the Israeli occupation to South Africa’s history as an apartheid state.
The current Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, appears to be caught in an uncomfortable spot because of the furor.
So far Mswane, a 24-year-old law graduate who won the Miss South Africa contest last month, has remained silent on whether or not she will participate in the pageant in Israel.
The government announced this week that it has withdrawn its backing after it failed to persuade the Miss South Africa pageant organizers to pull out of the event to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.