Woke Caster Semenya Raises Black Power Salute At Sports Event By Cheryl Roberts

16 Apr

Black woman athlete Caster Semenya has not only won it all on the international athletics track, she has also run races and lived life on her terms, kicking out and blocking any attempts to rattle and disrupt her athletics life.

Caster Semenya has done this by taking to the track and winning. And her winning has been achieved by strategic race planning and sports prowess, not having pushed a competitor on the track or relied on doping. And after a race its always Caster Semenya, despite being the champion or medallist, who approaches her competitors first with an after race hand shake, instead of waiting for those she has beaten, to come and congratulate the champion.But that’s not all what Caster Semenya is about. She is also woke and conscious about the society she lives in and the past society that gave rise to the democratic era in South Africa which allows her to represent a democratic country.

And it happened on the athletics stage; at the gathering of a sporst event called the Commonwealth Games where former coloniser England competes with the former colonised. Debutant Commonwealth Games athlete and gold medallist Caster Semenya displayed her consciousness. Caster Semenya raised the black power salute at her 800m gold medal ceremony at the Commonwealth Games; this being done by a black woman athlete 50 years after two black American male athletes, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, in defiance of racism and racial prejudice, raised the black power protest salute at the 1968 Olympic Games.

In doing this powerful salute, a symbol of resistance and power undertaken by oppressed people and those resisting injustices, Caster Semenya, who became a double gold medallist at her first Commonwealth Games in Australia, became the first South African athlete to ever raise the black power salute at an international sports event.

It was a powerful representation undertaken by a phenomenal woman athlete. Caster Semenya was to state after the medal ceremony that what she had done was in remembrance and recognition of South Africa’s black woman frontline freedom fighter Winnie Mandela.

Despite South African sports officialdom and international sports organisations wanting their players and athletes ‘to stay out of politics’ and ‘stay away from political slogans’, some athletes have never bowed to sports officialdom when it came to critical consciousness and awareness. Athletes have taken positions and called out injustices in society and in their sports.

As South Africa’s most decorated and achieving able bodied black sportswoman, Caster Semenya has delivered nothing less than pride, joy and happiness for our South Africa, since her athletics accomplishments surfaced. She was South Africa’s only black sportswoman medallist at the Commonwealth Games, delighting a sports supporting nation with her spectacular record breaking wins and feats.

 

She competes on the athletics stage under the gaze of those who insist on questioning and challenging her black woman body. Again, there are international indications that come November this year, the IAAF will have a resolution in place that will directly affect and impact on athlete Caster Semenya’s participation in races.

But through all the misogyny, the white supremacist questioning, the male gaze, sexual and racial prejudice and homophobia Caster Semenya rides wave after wave with her sole focus being her performance and achievements on the athletics track.

When Caster Semenya competes in sport, she does so as a targeted black woman in sport; targeted for sexual and racial prejudice and her black woman body. Some athletes that can’t perform with her abilities, attack Caster Semenya’s performances without applauding her achievements. Its as if Caster Semenya, the Olympic, World, Commonwealth and African champion literally runs in chains. But she competes, demonstrates her best ability and  performance and wins, most times; this despite all the negatives thrown at her black being.

Caster Semenya was persecuted as a teenage woman in international athletics. But, surrounded by love, support and admiration from South Africans especially and black woman warrior Winnie Mandela, Caster Semenya has triumphed, not against the odds, but defeating the odds with her athletics prowess. That she chose to recognise and give honour to Winnie Mandela with the black power salute, so associated with freedom and the struggle journey in South Africa, reveals the all powerful strength of one tenacious, fabulously talented black sportswoman that is Caster Semenya.

 

(photograph by: Roger Sedres)caster semenya black power salute

Advertisements

South African Sport Needs National Campaign Against Gender Discrimination, Abuse, Sexism By Cheryl Roberts

19 Mar

With deep-rooted gender inequalities and discrimination, abuse, sexism and misogyny prevalent in South African sport, a national initiative to call out and challenge all these attacks on women in sport, must be undertaken immediately.

This campaign must be fierce, national, unapologetic, challenging and vehemently strong. It must be initiated and implemented across the sports network and involve all genders, all sports people inside and outside of sport.

And now that South Africa has a woman Minister of Sport, the time is no more apt and appropriate than now; for this national campaign against gender abuse and discrimination, misogyny and sexism to be initiated and led by our woman Minister of Sport.

Sport is seemingly only about participation, competition, achieving as if nothing else matters. This is how the male-dominated sports network is portrayed, especially by corporate media, corporate sponsors and sustained by male power.

Just because it’s not in the media doesn’t mean its not there. Abusers, rapists, sexists, misogynists are rife in South African sport. They have existed for decades and their abuse, rape, misogyny, sexism and blatant discrimination has continued for too long, allowing men in particular to thrive in SA sport.

This arises from society’s patriarchal domination and subsequent male hegemonic control. Sport is not separated from the goings on in society. Sport is associated with all the trappings of male power, abuse, sexism and misogyny.

This national campaign in sport against male power and control in South African sport must do nothing less than shake, disturb and disrupt the roots of men’s structural power and control.

South Africa’s successive Minister’s of Sport from both the apartheid and democratic junctures have ignored the challenging issues contesting and existing in sport. These government men in charge of sport in SA have deliberately ignored launching and sustaining campaigns that should have spoken out against gender discrimination, abuse and sexism. They know why! Because challenging their power roots and domination would have rendered them useless, weak and power-less.

In sport, officialdom-issued media statements sometimes, mentioning the negatives of gender discrimination now and then, is not enough. In fact, it doesn’t have much of an impact. Because we see how gender inequalities, sexism, male control and abuse are still around, supporting and propping up structural, deep-rooted male domination of sport.

We have called out the raw deal given to women in sport, we have challenged this male-domination of the sports network, we have been angered by abuse, sexism and misogyny.

Women in sport and sportswomen don’t want to participate in sport where discrimination is rife, abuse occurs and sexism and misogyny is very much alive. Women in sport don’t want a sports life that is male-centered, dominated and controlled. And sportswomen are not in sport to be dominated or to be victims of male abuse and sexism.

Get This! Just because abuse and sexism in SA sport is not in everyday media, doesn’t mean its not there. It also should not be accepted as if its now and then isolated cases of abuse, sexism and discrimination.

Get this! Sports girls and sportswomen, from grassroots to international participation are always potential victims,at any time, of the power and control that’s employed whenever men in sport desire to do so.

Organised action and challenge is needed to intercept and disrupt all the power and control of the SA sports network. What sport in South Africa needs is grassroots activism, involving community and clubs coupled with fierce, powerful activism and agitation from government. That’s why I’m calling for a national campaign to be initiated by and led by South Africa’s current woman Minister of Sport.

As women in sport and sportswomen we have had enough of discrimination, enough of having to support men in power and enough of sexism and misogyny. South Africa’s woman Minister of Sport can and must confront, with a national initiative, the sustained power over sportswomen’s lives, and the abuse, sexism, discrimination and misogyny that is delivered from this male control of sport. South Africa’s woman Minister of Sport has that power. Hopefully, she will use this power.

South African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - Copy

Why Are Black Women Athletes And Caster Semenya Under Attack Again? By Cheryl Roberts

7 Mar

IMG_7832

img_7832.jpgWhen will the ruthless policing and attempts to define and subsequently control black women athletes’ bodies stop? When will the European and male-centered gaze of black women athletes be called out? When will colonial mentalities of control over black women’s bodies be eliminated altogether?

I’m asking these critical questions because THEY at it again! Yes, those who control international sport; those being the Europeans, white men, misogynists, racial and sexual oppressors. They are intent, within their organisation the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) of signing into law what the IAAF sees as ‘hypo androgenism regulations’. And they are making this applicable to ONLY ‘female athletes’ and in the events from the ‘400m to the mile’.

Immediately, we can see how the IAAF is targeting one particular athlete, at this defining moment. That athlete is woman, she is black, she competes in events from 400m to 1500m. That black woman athlete is African and South African. She is world, Olympic and African 800m champion Caster Semenya, who also competes in events from 400m to 1500m. And she is one of the greatest women athletes of this moment!   

And it’s to do with hypo androgenism and testosterone; this being associated with all athletes whatever your gender and body make up. But the IAAF is not interested in testosterone levels of male athletes; though some men athletes can have much higher levels of such. They are only interested in targeting women athletes. Why is this? That is gender prejudice and discrimination within sport!

Today, if its testosterone levels and tomorrow will it be breast size with the IAAF again prescribing what size breasts are an advantage? Because this is all all about control and policing of women’s bodies in sport! Control of black women’s bodies, especially!

The IAAF last weekend held its world indoor athletics championship in the UK. They also held an IAAF council meeting and it was at this meeting that they decided to have finalised a decision, by November this year, regarding hypo androgenism and its about only women athletes competing in the ‘400m to the mile’ events.

Despite the scientific evidence that testosterone levels have no impact on performance, the conservative, European, white male-dominated global sports structure that is the IAAF is adamant it will finalise and implement a regulation about hypo androgenism. And that regulation will state, according to the chiefs in the IAAF, how much testosterone levels a woman athlete can possess before she is eligible in stipulated events.

And that level, you can be sure, will be what the IAAF will want to ensure. That globally achieving black women athletes like Caster Semenya and other 800m African women athletes like Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi and Margaret Wambui from Kenya, are for now blocked from competing and winning.

And they won’t admit that it will hopefully see European and white women athletes, who’ve been doing all the whining about ‘unfair participation’, being given ‘fair chances’ on the international sports stage, according to the IAAF and all others who think like that.   

Can you believe this? The IAAF is actually going to control and thereafter police a woman athlete’s body? They are really going to test all women athletes for testosterone levels? Because that’s how it should be done or else they going to do random testing, like just see a black woman athlete and say she ‘looks

out of proportion to our standards’.

The conclusion and regulation is foregone. The IAAF says its likely to be finalised by November 2018 and they will likely adopt the regulation unless member federations vote against it. International sport needs to counter and engage world sports like the IAAF with global resistance, the might of woman power and allies and the strength of sports people who will resist this unjust gender regulation to control, define and police women athletes’ bodies, particularly black women. 

Is South Africa’s Newest And First Minister of Sport The One Sportswomen Been Waiting For? By Cheryl Roberts

27 Feb

After never having a woman sports minister throughout any of South Africa’s historical junctures or post-apartheid era, South Africa finally has a woman Minister of Sport in Tokozile Xasa.

Is this the one, women in sport and sportswomen have been waiting for, to not only pioneer initiatives to challenge, disrupt and eliminate male control of sport in South Africa but to wipe out gender inequalities in the SA sport paradigm?

Will South Africa’s newest Minister of Sport have the consciousness and determination to disrupt male hegemonic control of the sports paradigm; this male power that so acutely keeps men in control of sport officialdom ensuring that women in sport get little attention, some handouts here and there, some position now and then?

Get this! Not because Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa is a woman, does it mean she will consistently challenge male control and power in sport. And not because she is a woman can we believe and rely on her government power to ensure gender inequalities in sport will be removed.

Dear Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa:

As a black woman you should know what it is to live in South Africa’s patriarchal, neo liberal society littered with gender inequalities and male power all over. You know about this male control of women’s lives in society. And yes, we have it in sport, too. Your male predecessors before you, in this government sports portfolio and their men director-generals were very weak in tackling gender inequalities in sport. They were not only weak; they just didn’t say or do much. After all, the gender inequalities didn’t exclude them; they benefitted men in sport. Despite the decades of oppressive and unequal sports paradigms in SA sport, women in sport and sportswomen are still here in sport; struggling to survive, to develop and advance and participate as elite sportswomen.

Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa, I know you are entering office as a first time Minister but we been waiting for you and got lots to tell you about our expectations. After all, we have had enough of this male control of sport and women’s sport gets little of the funding, attention and sponsorship.

What you as the Minister of Sport must not do is to pander to this male control by allowing men officials to fool you with what they are supposedly doing to improve and advance women in sport. We are telling you that men officialdom has always given girls and women a raw and unequal deal in sport. Men officials control the budgets, they decide for girls and women what is ‘best’ for them in sport. And you do know that women in sport and sportswomen have had to exist within this male-dominated paradigm and battle to develop through the sports pyramid with the crumbs given to them by men officials.

Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa inherits a sports portfolio that has to be cleaned out from the very Sport and Recreation South Africa department she will oversee to SASCOC, the national sports confederation, including the national sports federations.

With SA’s elite athletes winning on international sports stages and achieving continental sports feats, SA’s sports system seemingly looks all in order. If anything, sport in South Africa is not in a healthy state, especially at grassroots levels, in working class schools and communities and provincial administration.

I’ve been long time calling for a national sports budget solely for girls and women in sport. Can Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa implement such a priority focus budget that will look after girls and women in sport?

Women’s sports need national and professional leagues. Will Minister Xasa be able to insist that national federations provide the same events for women as they do for men? And part-time elite athlete/ sportswomen participation must be abolished. If elite sportswomen can’t get the funding and sponsorship within national federations and businesses to be full-time and professional in the game, then how are sportswomen going to improve, become world class and compete with the world’s best?

As a black woman in unequal, white privilege South Africa, Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa should know that to be black, rural and working class in post-apartheid society is to still struggle and battle the odds. Gender inequalities exist in South African sport but white and middle class women are not facing the same struggles and hardships as black and working class girls and women in sport.

Several national sports teams are still embarassingly white-dominated. This white privilige is supported in national sport who do little development projects here and there for black girls and in working class schools and communities. And this white domination/white priority must be stopped! Again, Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa must be strong and call out this white sportswomen domination of national teams and athlete representation.

If Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa enters her newest job with the clarity, consciousness and understanding that sport in South Africa is unequal, that gender imbalances are rampant and rife, that white sportswomen domination must be disrupted, that black and working class girls need to be prioritised, that male control of sport must be challenged and disrupted, she would have started where she should; with the intention of giving priority attention to all the wrongs that contribute negatively to sports development and growth in sport in SA.

We’ve been waiting and calling for winds of change to sweep through South African sport. Is Minister of Sport Tokozile Xasa the one sportswomen and women in sport have been waiting for to arrive and implement the gender balanced South African sports network?South African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - Copy

Celebrating South Africa’s Sportswomen By Cheryl Roberts

29 Nov

South AfrSouth African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - Copyica has fabulous, amazing women in sport most often represent the country and their personal selves with feisty attitude, fierce determination and passion to try their best.

However, SA’s sportswomen and women in sport still participate in sport within a male-controlled, male-privileged, male-dominated sports environment and paradigm. Gender imbalances and inequalities exist aplenty and still thrive within the South African sports network.

But SA’s sportswomen still manage to perform fabulously and achieve awesome feats.

As an independent publisher in South Africa, I love honouring, celebrating and acknowledging South Africa’s women in sport and sportswomen. These are my 2017 Spostwomen awards, as honoured and presented by my publication ‘South African SportsWoman’……..

 

2017 (South African) Women In Sport Awards

 

Presented By ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publication

 

Coach of the Year

 

Jenny van Dyk (Netball)

Thinasonke Mbuli (women’s football)

Karin le Roux (para athletics)

 

SportsWoman of the Year

 

Caster Semenya (athletics)

Noni Tenga (boxing)

Kirsty McCann (rowing)

Phumza Maweni (netball)

Dane van Niekerk (cricket)

 

Significant/Pivotal Contribution To SA Sport

 

Muditambi Ravele (founding member of South African Women And Sport Foundation)

 

Kass Naidoo (founding member and host of gsport4girls Awards)

 

 

Cynthia Tshaka (pioneering woman sport broadcaster)

 

Ilhaam Groenewald (volleyball and student sport official

 

Thelma Achilles (softball and school sport volunteer administrator)

 

Nadeema Levy (touch rugby volunteer development administrator)

 

 

Future Coaches Emerging

 

Dumisani Chauke (netball)

Zanele Mdodana (netball)

 

Disabled Sportswoman of the Year

Zanele Situ

Ilse Hayes

 

My Photographic Moment of the Year

Capturing the Western Province women’s rugby captain, Babalwa in tears after winning the SA women’s rugby interprovincial championship

 

Why Are Women’s Football Teams In South Africa Given A Bad Deal By SAFA? By Cheryl Roberts

23 Nov

Women’s football in South Africa has a corporate sponsor, Sasol who regularly claim their victories about how they champion the women’s football journey in SA. But disgustingly, almost 150 women’s football teams playing in nine provincial leagues across South Africa were this year done an insurmountable injustice when their grants for Sasol Leagues, so vital for continuation of the football development, didn’t  filter through to the teams when the money was needed.

Who is to blame for the sponsorship money not being given timeously to teams playing in the provincial women’s football Sasol leagues? Is it SAFA who administers the Sasol Leagues and the sponsorship or the sponsor, Sasol?

Women’s football teams in SA are developed and managed mostly by volunteer coaches and administrators from working class communities. These women’s football rarely attract sponsorship or government funding. To get the women’s football teams and clubs started, and to keep them going, its the volunteers who had to use their personal money to keep their teams in the  regional league that has a corporate sponsor.

This season, women’s football teams contested the Sasol Leagues throughout South Africa without their grants being received until August; this, after about four months of league activity. Costs to maintain the women’s football team like transport to away matches, transport to training and referee fees had to be paid mostly by the volunteer officials and coach.

The 2017 edition of the nine regional Sasol Leagues has wrapped but most teams haven’t received their full grants. They have no idea when the sponsored grant money will be received. In the meantime, some of them have taken out ATM and personal loans to keep their women’s football teams in the league, some have used personal family money on their women’s football team, others asked their senior players to contribute payment and some struggled along with community help to keep the club in the league.

IMG_0935This is the horrendous injustice done to women’s football in South Africa.

So what does SAFA have to say about this state of affairs? After all, they receive the sponsorship money from corporate backer Sasol and administer the Sasol Leagues and preach whenever they want to, how they are supporting women’s football in South Africa.

According to SAFA General Manager for Football Business, Russell Paul, ‘as per standard procedure, Sasol Leagues were to receive their first round grants after the first round. The rest of the grant would be received at the end of the league. This is because we have to ensure that all disputes, appeals and any other issues concerning the league are settled. We can’t pay out grant money, then teams leave the league and there is no recourse to recover the money.’

What are you saying here, I’m asking? How must the women’s football teams survive all the costs involved of playing about 15 weeks of league matches before any grant comes through to their team? Would any SAFA or Sasol employee work for 3-4 months without getting paid and still be able to survive? How do you expect the women’s football teams to survive on volunteer’s money?

According to Mr Paul, by 15 September, only 7 teams out of 144 hadn’t received their first grant by end of the first round and the reason those 7 have not received their grants is because they failed to and still have not supplied their bank details.’

Several women’s football Sasol League teams, playing across nine regions are furious about their delayed grants. Most of them are scared to speak out publicly for fear of being victimised. When they ask at metings about their grant payments, they get told ‘not to rattle the sponsors too much because women’s football needs sponsors.’

Yes, women’s football and all other women’s sports needs sponsorship and funding. But how quiet must women’s football stay when they are told they are playing in a sponsored league and will receive financial grants to help them play in the league?

Now, several of the volunteers of the teams need their personal money back; the money they had to rely on to keep women’s football going in SA, this year.

SAFA’s Mr Paul acknowledges all the grants haven’t been paid ‘because of per standard procedure over the years, the 2nd tranche would be paid only when the leagues are finalised.’ Asked when would the grants be finalised for 2017 season, Mr Paul, replied: ‘Hopefully, at close of office in December, – subject to all the judiciary process in the respective leagues being resolved’.

Then Mr Paul added that grants were delayed this year because ‘SAFA’s sponsorship detail/agreement with Sasol hadn’t been finalised until September, this year. We were thus unable to effect payments, as this would be contrary to our governance and audit procedures.  The sponsorship agreement with Sasol was only finalised and announced in September, and within 7 days of the agreement being signed, 1st round payments were made to all teams.’

What are you saying here, Mr Paul? So I’m asking why were you playing in leagues attached to a corporate sponsor when the sponsor wasn’t confirmed? But most importantly, how does SAFA expect the women’s football teams to survive with no money and no grants and develop the foundation of national youth and senior women’s football teams in a year of African world cup qualifiers for girls and women’s football?

Why were Western Cape Sasol League teams told at meetings they would receive their money early in the league but got some money only in August?

Despite what SAFA’s Mr Paul says about the SAFA/Sasol sponsorship deal only being finalised in September this year, the first grants were received by the teams in August, this year. So how did SAFA manage to do this without finalising their sponsorship agreement with Sasol?

In my opinion and analysis, women’s football teams playing in SAFA’s Sasol Leagues have been done an injustice. How the hell does SAFA and sponsor Sasol expect volunteers from mostly working class communities to carry women’s football in South Africa? The grant payments should be paid before the first match kicks off in all leagues across South Africa! Why must volunteers sustain women’s football in South Africa when SAFA has a corporate sponsor?

Why Are Black Sports Officials Silent About Inequalities In South African Sport? By Cheryl Roberts

14 Nov

Why Have Black Leaders Succumbed To Trappings Of Elite Sport?

Which black official in sport is vocal about inequalities in South African sport? Which black official/leader is challenging racial and wealth privilege in society and in sport? Which black sports official still speaks about the sites of struggle and interconnectedness of sport and society? I struggle to be aware of any such black official! But we can see which black officials have been around in sport for years, hogging international travel and positions., several of them getting lucrative bonuses.

 In our society of social inequalities, gender discrimination, racial privilege and white control, class domination, despite living in a democratic, post-apartheid oppression era, deficiencies, injustices, wrongs and inequalities must be challenged and called out across society.

The post-apartheid journey was only made ‘comfortable’ with the removal of legal unjust laws and discrimination but all inherited inequalities are very much existing and controlling interaction of society. Sport, too is a reflection of our unequal society.

Yet, despite coming from oppressed lives in apartheid South Africa, having to fight for dignity and against discrimination based on skin colour, class and gender, black sports officials in democratic-era South Africa have seemingly lost their activist and human rights voices, gone quiet and become remarkably accepting of a sports system that favours elite, wealthy and corporate sport.

There are plentiful black officials occupying positions in South African sport, from the Minister of Sport to the SASCOC President and leaders and national officials of national sports federations, particularly of corporate sports such as cricket, rugby and football.

But these black officials exhibit no social justice activism about their present involvement in sport. South African sport exists in a society of discrimination and domination, of  wealth gaps and racial discrimination and represents a society of class inequalities, class and racial privilege and gender control.

These social inequalities are very much reflected in sports structures and impact on the organisation of sport from grassroots to international representation and participation. Except for some talk and mention here and there, now and then, these inequalities, imbalances, privileges and class controls are rarely confronted and challenged. Instead, they are swept off agendas of meetings, rarely getting a mention when officialdom meets to discuss sport.

Why are you black official in sport afraid to speak out and challenge and disrupt elite control of sport when you didn’t fear apartheid’s security and repressive apparatus and you spoke out against oppression and discrimination? You have the examples of the finest principled anti-apartheid sports leaders to guide you but you, black sports official, have given up and accepted inequalities, privilege and elite control to thrive in the South African  sports network.

Nowadays sport officialdom, especially corporate backed sport has been taken over by officialdom consumed by power and money. International travel, occupying entertainment spaces in VIP suites, getting bonuses and some power here and there are what dictates a sport official’s involvement in sport.

Which black official in sport is vocal about inequalities in South African sport? Which black official/leader is challenging racial and wealth privilege in society and in sport? Which black sports official still speaks about the sites of struggle and interconnectedness of sport and society? I struggle to be aware of any such black official! But we can see which black officials have been around in sport for years, hogging international travel and positions., several of them getting lucrative bonuses.

I’m calling out black officials and leaders in sport because just the other day they were oppressed by the apartheid regime because of their skin colour. Now why have you gone quiet when you see society’s inequalities staring at you, when you know grassroots sport is supported by volunteers in working class communities, that suburban schools benefit mostly white and a minority black elite grouping of children and youth, that racial privilege benefits white people in most sports in South Africa?

Why are you so accepting of elite and wealthy control of sport in South Africa when you fought against and challenged minority power and domination? Why do you allow corporates to control sport for the benefit of profits and exposure for their business? Why have you allowed your being and involvement in sport to be captured by all the elite trappings and invitations of elite sports lifestyles, bonuses and acceptance of elite domination?

Why are you black official in sport afraid to speak out and challenge and disrupt elite control of sport when you didn’t fear apartheid’s security and repressive apparatus and you spoke out against oppression and discrimination? You have the examples of the finest principled anti-apa

8cheryl roberts  in the rain forest in ghana

Cheryl Roberts (writer of the blog)

rtheid sports leaders to guide you but you, black sports official, have given up and accepted inequalities, privilege and elite control to thrive in the South African  sports network.

You can’t say that politics must be out of sport when politics is very much in sport, all around sport and outside of sport. Sport is political. Involvement and participation in sport is political. Sport is not only about elite participation, winning global titles and medals, as much of sports officialdom would like us to believe, consume and propagate. It’s about how society’s class control, racial privilege, gender discrimination, wealth gaps impact on and affect participation and organisation of sport.

Several sports in South Africa are controlled by white privilege and reinforce whiteness. But black officials, especially allow this to prevail. Male hegemony of sport is powerful, keeps men in power in the interests of sport, yet black sports officials don’t contest and challenge this male control. Black women get a raw deal, struggle much more than white women in sport and white sportswomen but black officials don’t speak out.

Why have black officials in sport gone silent when social, class and gender inequalities, racial privilege are profound and emphatic? Have the black leaders/officials been bought over, captured by elite trappings and wealth in sport?