New Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane has royal blood in her veins

Johannesburg- The crowning of Lalela Mswane, 24, as the fairest of them all in the Miss South Africa 2021 beauty pageant has ignited hope among young rural women in her quiet village of KwaSokhulu that they too stand a chance to one day grace the national stage.

KwaSokhulu is an underdeveloped village located a few kilometres outside Richards Bay on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

It falls under the Umfolozi local municipality. This is where the reigning beauty queen was born and bred.

“Her clinching the title is a victory for us as young rural women who are also aspiring models. Most rural girls lack confidence because of the perception that no success can come out from a remote area like ours. She has put our area on the map,” said Nolwandle Mgenge, a local beauty queen.

The 19-year-old recalled that moments before Mswane was awarded the crown at the glittering ceremony held last Saturday evening at Cape Town’s Grand Arena, the euphoria of seeing one of their own on TV swept the entire village.

“Young women and the community at large view Lalela as a role model and an ambassador for our area mainly because of her academic achievements. So, seeing her on TV felt like she had already won the pageant. Everyone was glued to their screens crossing their fingers. There was a general excitement that she had put our little village on the map,” said Nolwandle Mswane holds an LLB degree Boity Thulo from the University of Pretoria and is the last born of three children.

According to her mother, Hlaliselwe Mswane, though her daughter was passionate and dedicated to whatever she believed in, winning the coveted title was not something the family had fancied.

“I must confess, I almost fainted when her name was announced as the winner. To us, the fact that she had made it to the 10 finalists, was a victory on its own. Even now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around her success. I’m filled with immense pride and joy.”

The less-known fact about Mswane is that she is of royal blood.

She is a niece of inkosi Phineas Buzayiphi Mthiyane of the KwaSokhulu tribal council.

Mthiyane heaped praises on his niece, saying she had not abandoned her rural roots despite spending most of her time in Gauteng.

“Despite her having a busy schedule, whenever she is in the village, she runs programmes to mentor young people. She would organise career guidance and other initiatives to fight unemployment because our village has high levels of unemployed young people,” said Mthiyane.

The next journey for Mswane is preparing for Miss Universe 2021 expected to be held in Eilat, an Israeli resort.

She takes the crown from Limpopo-born Shudufhadzo Musida.

She emerged victorious ahead of Moratwe Masima from Gauteng and Eastern Cape’s Zimi Mabunzi who were runners up.

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