'Why is Miss South Africa white?'

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.
- City Press
Themba Hillsong 2012-12-24 12:46:00 PM
It doesn't surprise me, Americans are are not just ignorant but stupid too.
Lynne Wootten 2012-12-24 12:48:03 PM
OMW, whatever next???? Might I suggest that Americans become international.
Louis Pienaar 2012-12-24 12:48:32 PM
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?
stewart.croucamp.9 2012-12-24 12:49:02 PM
Just shows you how ignorant the Americans are.
Yondu 2012-12-24 12:51:05 PM
Oh look, my elephant just escaped. I hope it doesn't get eaten by the neighbour's lion.
Gawie Nel 2012-12-24 12:54:00 PM
It shows how little people actually knows about Africa and her people.
Fanie Van Zyl 2012-12-24 12:55:12 PM
and for those who don't know... she has a loin for a house cat!
Mariette Romeynders 2012-12-24 12:56:13 PM
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?
StephenWilliams 2012-12-24 12:58:03 PM
Ignorant people
Xanavin von Buchenroder 2012-12-24 01:02:50 PM
OMW. I did'nt know she's white. I thought she's a South African representing South Africa?