'Why is Miss South Africa white?'

2012-12-24 12:32
Lesley Mofokeng
Johannesburg - A white girl representing South Africa was the most jarring thing for some beauty pageant watchers to witness this week.

When the blue-eyed former Miss SA Melinda Bam took to the Miss Universe stage at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, she triggered a social media buzz.

Her appearance sparked an avalanche of tweets, mostly from American viewers during the pageant, which was streamed live online at 03:00 local time.

@AlondraTeresa remarked: "When I saw Miss South Africa, I thought: 'If she's from Africa why is she white?' #meangirlsreference."

@omgitzvanessa wrote: "(When) Miss South Africa came on my mom was like: 'Why is she white?'"

@Maaaaryx3 also wondered: "I cant believe Miss South Africa is a white girl."

'Donald Trump hates Obama'

@xocinthia tweeted: "My dad asked why Miss South Africa is white if she's from Africa?"

@Rachel_Keaunani commented: "Miss Universe! South Africa’s interview question should’ve been: 'So if u’re from Africa why are u white?'"

Screamed @ThatMexipino: "Why isn't Miss South Africa black!?"

The disbelief sparked a conspiracy theory of its own when @theROBbulanSHOW tweeted in protest: "Donald Trump hates Obama so much that he chose a white chick to represent South Africa in the recently held Miss Universe Pageant. #NoToRacism."

@obaa_boni offered: "Miss South Africa being white isn’t surprising. Racism is rampant. Just pick an SA mag and it’s white women galore, even though SA is mostly black."

Those who had a clue about South Africa were stunned by this uproar as @trashypope tweeted: "I can't believe people are actually wondering why Miss South Africa is white."

@MissY0uWish joined the debate and offered her knowledge (or lack thereof) of the country on the southernmost tip of the African continent: "Yes, Miss South Africa is white?.?.?.?blonde hair, blue eyes. Random fact: 90% of South Africans are white. Y'all are dumb."

Sordid past in beauty pageants

To make sense of the confusion, @linnyitssn stepped into the fray: "For those who think our (American) education system works, people are tweeting how miss South Africa can be white. Read a book for the love of God."

South Africa has a sordid past in beauty pageants. During apartheid, it used to send two representatives, one black and the other white to Miss World.

It sent only non-blacks to Miss Universe until South Africa was expelled.

In the recent past, white girls who represented the country at Miss Universe included Vanessa Carreira, who was placed third runner-up; Cindy Nell, who was the second runner-up; and Nicole Flint, who finished in the top 10.

The last South African to win Miss Universe was Margaret Gardiner in 1978.

* Miss Universe 2012 was won by Miss USA, Olivia Culpo. The first runner-up was Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon; second runner-up was Miss Venezuela, Irene Quintero.

Bam only managed to get a spot on the top 10.

She was a crowd favourite and went into the finale at the top of the leaderboard of the influential globalbeauties.com website.


  • Themba Hillsong - 2012-12-24 12:46

    It doesn't surprise me, Americans are are not just ignorant but stupid too.

  • lynne.wootten - 2012-12-24 12:48

    OMW, whatever next???? Might I suggest that Americans become international.

  • louis.pienaar1 - 2012-12-24 12:48

    This is why raveling abroad is a must for all white South Africans. We are truly blessed in this country. The question "but why are you white?" has made my laugh so many times. I for one don't follow these pageants, but i can say say that we have the most beautiful women in the world (that includes all races). Btw, Have these people never heard of Charlize Theron?

      louis.pienaar1 - 2012-12-24 12:51

      Ps. Always take a Black South African friend with you. That question " but why aren't you black?" will rock their boat.

  • Stewart Croucamp - 2012-12-24 12:49

    Just shows you how ignorant the Americans are.

  • lunga.biyela.5 - 2012-12-24 12:51

    Oh look, my elephant just escaped. I hope it doesn't get eaten by the neighbour's lion.

      Doorboot - 2012-12-24 14:12

      Ha ha ha, my hippo is in the pool...

  • gawien1 - 2012-12-24 12:54

    It shows how little people actually knows about Africa and her people.

  • fanievanzyl22 - 2012-12-24 12:55

    and for those who don't know... she has a loin for a house cat!

      Doorboot - 2012-12-24 14:13

      I am sure she has nice loins :)

  • mariette.romeynders - 2012-12-24 12:56

    Why is being white such an issue for these American people? In my opinion they are racists as well and oh! Don't forget so UNINFORMED and so DUM, DUMBER.....! Why is the MISS AMERICA NOT AN ORIGINAL NATIVE AMERICAN CITIZEN? With a horse and a feather in her hair? Why are there so many WHITES in AMERICA???????? Where are all the native Americans? The Indians?? WHO KILLED MOST OF THEM?

      johan.cronje1 - 2012-12-24 13:30

      Bedaar MM Bloeddruk !!!!!

  • Rooinek007 - 2012-12-24 12:58

    Ignorant people

  • xanavin.vonbuchenroder - 2012-12-24 13:02

    OMW. I did'nt know she's white. I thought she's a South African representing South Africa?

  • marco.speck.3 - 2012-12-24 13:07

    Why is all americans so short sighted and arrogant, dont they know there are also whites living on South Africa and lions dont just walk the streets!

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-12-24 13:09

    the answer is easy- she's has a pigmentation disability

      tseabelo - 2012-12-24 13:27


  • ian.robertreid - 2012-12-24 13:12

    Y not u racist??

  • JNaMolefe - 2012-12-24 13:15

    This is SOOOOOO stupid article i've ever read.... If they started to say why is she so white, then they are being racist! There is nothing wrong with the skin!

  • provence.poppies - 2012-12-24 13:23

    Miss SA is white because she has white parents. Is this a surprise? She was probably the most beautiful girl to be chosen, is this fair?

  • sello.maponya.1 - 2012-12-24 13:25

    Your average American knows nothing about anything beyond the border of their country. I'm not surprised at this article at all.

  • KingPro - 2012-12-24 13:27

    The level of stoopidity that eminates from the good old US of A is staggering!!! I remember when I was at the airport in Los Angeles California and two Americans asked me possibily the most incomprehensibly idiotic questions... 1) I have a friend in Morocco, his name is Mohammed. Do you know him? And 2) You guys are from South Africa, where's that somewhere near Mexico? Seriously though, being that dumb takes an extraordinary amount of effort... Yet again this comes from the same nation that elected the most clueless statesman in the history of the world, George W Bush, not once but TWICE! So I'm actually not surprised...(PS. Zuma is fast approaching claiming that title from Bush though)

  • daniel.rossouw1 - 2012-12-24 13:29

    At the London games I wondered why does USA athletics team almost only consists of blacks which is by far in the minority. Answer : they were the best. Well same with Miss RSA, so shut up. Americans think there are still lions walking in our streets.

  • sifiso.bande - 2012-12-24 13:32

    I think Americans get more dumb each year. The reigning Miss USA is black. Miss USA 2002, 2007 and 2008 were black, with Susie Castillo, a Latino, winning in 2003. So what exactly is wrong with that? Shouldnt these women have won Miss USA just because of their ethnicity? I actually cannot believe that those tweets from ignorant Americans made news. Did you know that according a recent survery, a fifth of Americans could not locate the U.S. on a world map? So please give me break!!!!

  • emmanuel.tafirenyika - 2012-12-24 13:34

    Why is she white ? Because she does not have a lot of melanin in her skin that's why - stupid dumb Americans ...

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2012-12-24 13:37

    Other than those stupid racist types in usa and here who believe blacks must get everytging who the hell cares?? Come on news24??

  • randy.kruger.16 - 2012-12-24 13:38

    ...because we're the rainbow nation!

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-12-24 13:43

    Since most Americans already have trouble trying to locate Europe on a map. I am not at all surprised.

  • eric.f.moloi - 2012-12-24 13:48

    Thy still believe in Africa ppl are mixing with wild animals,brainwashed idiots,let thm come and explore our beautiful continent

  • Teuneman - 2012-12-24 13:50

    If you' re from america, why arent you indian? Dumb americans.

  • jeremy.s.oconnor - 2012-12-24 13:55

    So why cant South Africa be represented by a South African whether she is white black or green. Thought we were a 'Rainbow Nation'? Huh??

      Tuyez - 2012-12-24 13:58

      S Africans arent against the notion of White S African representing SA. Its Americans that dont believe it read the story again and stop being so negative.

  • normarie.duplessis - 2012-12-24 13:55

    Wtf? That would be like us asking Obama why he's black if he's from America? Eish...

  • sango.jika - 2012-12-24 13:55

    Americans are dumb they also think we leave in the bush and we don't have any cities. I remember when chris brown came to SA for the first time he had an interview on SABC1 music show LIVE he talked about how Americans are ignorant about Africa they think we walk on the streets with lions and tigers. There's nobody as dumb as an american in the world.

  • beverley.joshua.73 - 2012-12-24 13:58

    Why does the colour (or rather, the race)of Miss South Africa matter? If she is the best candidate to represent our beautiful country then, God bless her! Proud South African.

  • alexbokkie.ferguson - 2012-12-24 14:08

    Wow..... The Americans never fail to astound me with their levels of ignorance and stupidity. Then again, when I moved from Pretoria to the UK, a girl in the UK that I went to school with asked me the same question. morons.

  • thozi.thozamile - 2012-12-24 14:10

    Miss South Africa is white because she's a SOUTH AFRICAN - finish and klaar!

  • josephgoebeles.kgoele - 2012-12-24 14:10

    United Stupids of America

  • Claire.Stewart86 - 2012-12-24 14:13

    Same reason America's president is black...

  • damonsb - 2012-12-24 14:13

    wanna talk black and white,Colored girls take the cake.Their sexy and will crack every beauti contest

  • MatthewHealing - 2012-12-24 14:15

    Merica !

  • adriano.dossantos.1447 - 2012-12-24 14:21

    Common People.. Please commit suicide! You make the world a crowded place to live in. Do you really think that only Black people live in Africa? Do you think that Black South Africans do not have their own magazines Like Bona and Drum! Are there only White people in America? Why Does 99% of HFM and GQ magazines only have white woman on the cover of the magazines? Does this make them Racist? Or are they just advertising to their target market. I have some blunt disposable minora razors that I can give you to slit your wrists with.. You have a one dimensional thought process and you probably contribute very little to society! Get a life and keep yourself busy. If you cannot say anything good then just keep quiet!

  • mpho.c.moreki - 2012-12-24 14:22

    Im not surprised that Americans were surprised to see white Miss South African walking up the stage. These people are so ignorant about africa that they still think we still living in the bushes.

  • dbo.kacebisa - 2012-12-24 14:23

    Sam n Muzi agggg guys please. Y stoop so low just like the united stupids of america(thanx bra joe). She is a South African babe finish and klaar.

  • Marc Taliadoros - 2012-12-24 14:34

    Americans are so ignorant!!!!!! There are WHITE ppl in South Africa believe it or not.

  • niki.wessels - 2012-12-24 14:36

    Did anyone ask why Miss Belgium was black?

  • cristina.salva.7 - 2012-12-24 14:38

    Why not?!!! Ok, why isn't Miss America an indigenous "Indian"?? Gosh..talk about dumb!!

  • LiveYourOwnLife - 2012-12-24 14:45

    Seriously? Do Americans not have access to books, tv, the internet? How can they be so stupid?

  • bless.boswell - 2012-12-24 15:27

    What difference does it make whether she is black or white? In a fair competition, the best girl won. If it was going to cause a problem why was she permitted to enter the competition in the first place? This overt racism is unacceptable.

  • Nyasha Joyce Mukuwane - 2012-12-24 16:04

    I actually think Melinda was robbed. I think she deserved to win. Americans and their ignorance never cease to amaze the rest of the world.

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