When colour clouds beauty

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 3am 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.”

@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.”

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.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
As a child or as an adult, have you ever been a victim of bullying?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, at school
53% - 478 votes
Yes, at work
16% - 145 votes
No, I've never experienced this
31% - 283 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.31
(0.0)
GBP/ZAR
19.81
(0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.15
(0.0)
AUD/ZAR
11.07
(0.0)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(0.0)
Gold
1,776.67
(0.0)
Silver
25.97
(0.0)
Platinum
1,203.79
(0.0)
Brent Crude
66.77
(-0.3)
Palladium
2,781.00
(0.0)
All Share
68,699
(+1.3)
Top 40
62,898
(+1.3)
Financial 15
12,446
(+0.8)
Industrial 25
89,364
(+0.8)
Resource 10
70,350
(+2.2)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo