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Yesterday Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was in Soweto serving soup and bread rolls to kids. Today, it’s one of Twitter’s top trending topics.
Why? Three words: gloves, hygiene and #MissSAChallenge.
On Wednesday afternoon, this tweet published by the official Miss South Africa Twitter account became viral.
— Miss South Africa (@Official_MissSA) July 5, 2017
Noticeably, Nel-Peters is wearing gloves in these pictures. And Twitter wanted to know why.
Some users gave their opinions.
Why are you wearing gloves? Scared of catching the Black or??
— Rosalia (@MsZondi06) July 5, 2017
What’s unhygienic about touching black kids? Even if it’s for food, that’s not food handling gloves. Latex ain’t for food.
— MaAsi Ngalo (@Lwando_ngalo) July 5, 2017
Could do more damage to the kids, they aren’t worth of physical contact? Worst representation of SA someone who can’t even touch black kids
— Bandile Currency (@bandilecurrency) July 5, 2017
Yeah I’m wondering the same thing…doesn’t look good.. Be humble!! Dont think u better than those kids. Shame on u Miss SA.
— Ross (@sicily_13493) July 5, 2017
Shes so disgusted. Look at her wearing gloves. OMG look at her faking a smile
— Mama Sihle (@Hlengz_) July 5, 2017
Some also called on the Miss South Africa account to delete the post.
“Please may you delete this post. There is no greater disrespect for the BLACK children that are on these pictures than those GLOVES!” read one tweet.
Please may you delete this post. There is no greater disrespect for the BLACK children that are on these pictures than those GLOVES!
— Manqoba Ngubo (@manqoba_ngubo) July 5, 2017
As a result of the social media attention this post received, the Miss South Africa account began trending around 3pm Wednesday afternoon.
On Wednesday evening, Nel-Peters took to Twitter to address the incident, apologising for offending anyone and clarifying questions users had. This tweet also went viral.
To everyone asking about the gloves, I truly hope that you’ll hear my heart and understand that it came from a place of wanting to do good. pic.twitter.com/Pl5amM2gEM
— Demi-LeighNel-Peters (@DemiLeighNP) July 5, 2017
“To everyone asking about the gloves, I truly hope that you’ll hear my heart and understand that it came from a place of wanting to do good,” reads the tweet.
Twitter however, didn’t quite believe her.
Hey boo..it gets hard to believe you.. pic.twitter.com/NIKZEWIBzy
— Moclasssy (@MoClasssy) July 5, 2017
“And we say this because we can spot the difference here. White children are cleaner and need no gloves, isn’t it?” one user writes.
And we say this because we can spot the difference here. White children are cleaner and need no gloves, isn’t it? pic.twitter.com/OdeWiG6euq
— Isaac Mangena (@Ice_Izo) July 5, 2017
Others though defended Nel-Peters.
So she was not racist here? You guys need to stop flying with popular opinions. Some of us aren’t even contribute to our communities but…. pic.twitter.com/9BsYZiBSFZ
— Mbulelo Mbali (@MbuleloMbali) July 5, 2017
Nevertheless, Miss South Africa’s video seems to have spurned a new ironic challenge.
Dubbed the #MissSAChallenge, it seemingly required people to take pictures of themselves preparing food while wearing gloves or face masks.
It began trending Thursday afternoon in South Africa, and continues to gain steam.
— Griffiths Mahlangu (@King_Mahlela) July 6, 2017
— shawty♡ (@ZamaMbuthuma) July 6, 2017
— Unathi (@FirstLadyNathi) July 6, 2017
— 🎂💎 23rd June 💎🎂 (@Tumi_majadibodu) July 6, 2017
— Zoeh Zondi (@adellezn) July 6, 2017
— wild thots ✨ (@amanda_mpedi) July 6, 2017
— áñdîłè khümálò (@Djandy_kay) July 6, 2017
Sun International has since issued the following statement regarding the gloves:
All volunteers, including Demi-Leigh, wore disposable sanitary gloves while working with the food and handing it out. It is standard hygiene practice that ready-to-eat food be prepared and served without bare hand contact.
While Demi was handing out food she was asked to pose for photos so still had the gloves on.
She did not wear disposable gloves throughout the entire visit. She was also involved in handing out blankets to those who attended.