Black Queer Activist Funeka Soldaat Writes Her Story For Black Queer Women By Cheryl Roberts

13 Feb

 

50519810_1988785427841522_2749994356206206976_n

 

It’s a life story of a black, queer activist and its written for black queer girls and women to not only know the story of another’s life before them but also a black and queer life that has a human right to exist.

It’s the life story of Funeka Soldaat, an anti-apartheid and human rights activist, woman in sport, Kaizer Chiefs fan, black queer activist and anti-crime community activist. It’s the life story of Funeka Soldaat from her roots in the Eastern Cape, through school, family life, her move to Cape Town and never tiring commitment of driving lesbian and queer rights and protection in a society that is at war whenever it chooses, with those who don’t identify as nor accept a patriarchal, heteronormative society.

It’s titled ‘Uhambo’ and is being launched in February with two launches already announced. And of course the first launch takes place in the hood in Khayalitsha where Funeka lives and undertakes much of her activism. Its here in Khayalitsha where Funeka has engaged police stations and justice courts, walked the streets in support of black lesbians, visited homes to give advice, protection and inspiration to young black queer women, held memorials for fallen black lesbians and founded the vibrant black lesbian structure ‘FreeGender’.

 

‘Uhambo’ is a dream fulfilled – Funkeka Soldaat

 

Me to Funeka on the phone……. ‘I’m sooooooo happy for you. I recall you saying in a convo, about two years ago, how you wanted to write your story. And we laughed because we both agreed it shouldn’t be academic and shouldn’t be accessible to only a few people.’

 

Funeka to me…… ‘Ay….I’m also happy. You don’t know how happy I am to have done this finally.’

The publication of ‘Uhambo’ is a fulfilled dream and passion for Funeka Soldaat, the non-commercial activist who doesn’t derive money from her activism. For Funeka, the book is about being there for black queer girls and young women especially to read and know they have a right to what life and sexuality they choose.

 

A personal black lesbian’s story

 

‘It’s not a book about someone doing research on black lesbian lives. It’s my story. Our black lesbian stories,’ says Funeka. ‘In my years of growing, acknowledging my sexuality, coming out as lesbian, I never had a book to read about another black lesbian’s life. I thought I was on my own, that the world was against only me. And then I found comradeship and lesbian activists who were prepared to fight to live our sexuality on our terms’.

Proud Black lesbian Funeka Soldaat shares all about her life in ‘Uhambo’, including estrangement from her mother when she tells her mom she ain’t straight nor heterosexual. She holds nothing back about her activism in the trenches, the violence inflicted on her body, her love and marriage, friendships and happiness.

I’m not saying much about the book’s content because you must get a copy of the book and read it. And if you know Funeka soldaat or want to know about this life story, then ‘Uhambo’ is a must read.

 

 

Book By Black Conscious Women Activists Recalls Their Anti-Apartheid Struggle By Cheryl Roberts

27 Jan

 

img_9758-2 

‘The BCM legacy needs to be acknowledged and embraced so we heal ourselves from inferiority and superior complexes that continue to bedevil our social relationship’, writes 1960’s black consciousness movement activist, Mamphele Ramphele in a recently published seminal publication beaming the voices of black women involved in South Africa’s significant and challenging black consciousness movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

It was long overdue. It had to be forthcoming because we had to know, remember and never forget the involvement of young black women in the anti-apartheid struggle propelled by the black conscious movement.

And now the written book has been published. Titled ‘Time to Remember: Reflections Of women from the Black Consciousness Movement’, and about “Narratives that bear testimony to the human spirit”, several black women give their personal accounts of what it meant in their young lives to be black conscious, active in black communities and against the horrendous apartheid regime and its horrific apartheid system.

The narratives, personal stories and accounts are pivotal to our understanding and remembrance of a very relevant and challenging resistance era against apartheid, which is not about the dominant liberation movement, the African National Congress. Its also incredibly authentic and fulfilling in portraying black women in the black conscious movement, without the pivotal focus being Steve Biko, who we all know stands out as the leader of South Africa’s black conscious era, movement and resistance.

Reading the narratives, one is enthralled by the brave, strong, fearless, young women who participated in activities condemning the apartheid system, who had to confront their ‘frightened’ parents afraid of their political/resistance involvement and who faced the violence of apartheid’s security apparatus.

Throughout most of the narratives, we connect the dots and see them in black consciousness movement structures that not only worked tirelessly and fearlessly but hungered for a just society to live in.

Featured in the book are the narratives of Oshadi Mangena, Sibongile Mhabela, Shahida Issel, Ulli Unjinee Poonan, Juby Mayet, Nobandile Biko, Thembi Ramokgopa, Kogila Cooper, Pomla Gwen Mokoape, Nosipho Matshoba, Mmagauta Molefe, Sam Moodley, Ilva Mackay Langa, Latha Ravjee, Refilwe Moloto, Perez Sisters, Zola Ayanda Kuzwayo, Shamim Meer, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, Ntomb’fikile Mazibuko, Sisana Duma – Machi, Mamphela Ramphele, Daphne Koza, Hester Joseph Rowayda Halim, Arun Naicker, Zeni Thumbadoo who share their stories, holding nothing back, including the confrontations with their parents who feared for their children’s lives when they challenged the brutal apartheid regime.

 

‘The special branch made it their business to make our lives a living hell. As part of their on-going psychological warfare, they would harass me both at work and at home. They would arrive unannounced and search our home at all hours of the night. Worst of all they would threaten and humiliate our children at school,’ writes Pomla Gwen Mokoape, herself a black conscious movement activist whose doctor husband Aubrey got sentenced to Robben Island.

Iconic schools and addresses like Inanda Seminary, University of Natal black section, Ngoya university, 86 Beatrice Street in Durban, headquarters of the black consciousness movement in South Africa and King Williamstown where Steve Biko organised, are all remembered in their young lives.

Most of the women were tertiary students, becoming doctors, social workers, architects, lawyers. The women loved, faced patriarchal challenges in families, became young mothers, were detained and harassed in detention, were banned, worked long hours at the office and organising.

Most importantly, they were not just talking activists but activists who organised community clinics, literacy classes, after school lessons, theatre productions, reading groups, public and mass meetings and supported the comrades.

‘I became responsible for the BCM’s grassroots community health and development programs’, writes Mamphela Ramphele. We continued to manifest the spirit of self-reliance, black solidarity and promotion of human dignity. The BCM practiced what it preached in the beacons of hope we established wherever we worked. Banishment and restriction of movement could not stop us.’

Sam Moodley worked in the BPC offices, especially on the seminal publication Black Review and in theatrical productions that particularly highlighted injustices and oppression. ‘With the onslaught against the black consciousness movement we were restricted in our movement, we lost our jobs, and were unable to continue with our theatrical activities. Our voices as poets, playwrights, actors were silenced’.

The young women also faced parental and family fears, sometimes resistance to their personal resistance to apartheid, largely because of family fear what could be done to their children by apartheid’s security apparatus. ‘I joined in a placard demonstration outside the city hall in central Durban’, recalls Shamim Meer. ‘A picture of the protest, me somewhat visible, appeared in the daily newspaper. As my father read the paper that evening, he told me to be careful, that I could get into trouble,’ recalls Shamim Meer.  

Shahida Issel, takes us through her black conciousness movement narrative writing a letter to her grandchildren, telling them about the ruthless actions of apartheid’s security apparatus. ‘They (the security police) came to my mother’s house in Heideveld where we lived. They came with a whole entire army, kicked down my mother’s door, grabbed the baby and there was my mother pulling the child and they pulling Leila and I’m neuking them (hitting them). Eventually they pushed my mother so hard she landed in the hospital. The people all came out to see what was happening and we eventually got the baby’.

Despite the harsh authorisation of apartheid on black people’s lives, anti-apartheid activists also had to resist and challenge black people, although themselves oppressed, who were accepting of apartheid’s Bantustan policy like Chief Gatsha Buthelezi’s IFP.

 

Nozizwe Madlala – Routledge recalls how ‘one chilly evening in May 1980, I was one of a group of about twenty young people rounded up by men wearing balaclavas. At the crack of dawn the men forced us into two kombi’s and drove us to Ulundi. We were brought before Buthelezi and members of the then (Bantustan ) KZN legislative Assembly and introduced as troublemakers. When he addressed us, Buthelezi made it clear that if we did not stop what we were doing we would be in great trouble. We were then driven back to KwaMashu into a tense IFP gathering where we were presented to the community as rogues.’

About her personal political awareness and growth, professor Ntomb’fikile Mazibuko says: ‘The early 1970’s were years of self-discovery, for me. One felt that there was a conscious and deliberate effort by the youth and students of the time to navigate the political lull that could easily have disconnected us from the realities of the day. As the youth of the 1970’s we discovered our identity, felt an obligation to social justice and had the confidence to address apartheid in higher education and within communities where the ethnic-tribal universities had been established.’

The administration and organizational strength of the young women were enormous. ‘The 1970’s was a time of great political activity. With the ANC being banned, organisaions connected to the Black Conscious Movement came to the forefront of the struggle. One of the important aims was to disseminate information about the happenings within black communities across to the widest possible audience. Thus one of BCP’s most important projects was the production of Black journals and community newspapers,’ recalls June Joseph. ‘In the 1970’s the IBM golfball typewriters were considered “high tech” and I typed all the scripts for the journals on this typewriter. Steve Biko was a hard taskmaster when it came to meeting deadlines. He would lock the doors and say “no one is going home until this work is completed!” So half in tears I would type until the early hours of the morning and when the task was finally published, he would send me home in a taxi to face the wrath of my worried mother. Two of the important publications that I worked on were the Black Review, which was published from 1972-1976 and also Black Viewpoint which was edited by Bennie Khoapa.’

I came into black consciousness at 18 years old when I fortunately came into contact with Steve Biko’s seminal book ‘I Write What I Like’, during my first year of studies at the then University of Natal. I was aware of the iconic school, Inanda Seminary and the University of Natal black section residence was in the same hood I lived in Durban. I know about the clinic services that were offered at the University of Natal black section residence because I often heard of residents visiting the clinic to get medical help. I’m sure the young women medical students passed on the road I crossed as I journeyed to primary school in the hood. I know the old church building (its demolished now) that housed SASO and BPC in Durban because I played indoor sport at the YMCA in Beatrice Street and I saw many, many young black people walk in and out of the building in Beatrice Street. To read about the young black conscious women and their fearless participation in the anti-apartheid struggle in a book is something I’ve been waiting for a long, long time. Its allowed me to connect the dots of growing up black in anti-apartheid struggle days, coming into black consciousness and knowing so much more of what I didn’t know anything about when I was a girl, growing up and schooling in the hood in Durban.

‘Reflections Of Women From The Black Consciousness Movement’ is a must read. It’s a book that should be prescribed by university departments such as gender and women studies, political science, African studies, sociology, Hi(her)story and should be read by academics across all departments. The book is written by black South African women and published by black South African women. It’s the struggle and community involvement narratives of young black women, now much older, who also fought for your and my freedom from apartheid.

Cape Town Netball Federation Wants A Permanent Netball Facility By Cheryl Roberts

20 Oct

Cape Town Netball Federation is one of South Africa’s strongest regional netball federations. The volunteer officials of CTNF give solid and accountable leadership and administration to the federation. The community-centered and club-focussed officials are ambitious and intent on growing the federation and creating much more netball playing opportunities. In this Q and A interview with Marsha Wagenaar, President of Cape Town Netball Federation, we learn more about the objectives and plans of CTNF and how the federation intends going forward. Getting a permanent netball playing facility, that they can call home, is top of their priority list.

Q: SA sport is re-emerging for the 2020 season after #Lockdown. What does this mean for CTNF in terms of salvaging the season?

CTNF President Marsha Wagernaar: Lockdown struck when CTNF was in the final process to conclude our trials and teams.

Everything came to a halt. CTNF had to alter our plans. Coaches provided players with training programmes and keep in communication with them on weekly basis– following up and motivate to keep fit and stay focused.

We had to revise our activities with RETURN TO PLAY in mind. Many virtual meetings followed and are ongoing to ensure COVID-19 readiness. A RETURN TO PLAY PLAN was compiled and submitted and then the long wait for SRSA to approve the National plan began. Eventually approval was granted late September. And it was important to start with court training.

On 17 October 2020 CTNF made an official comeback by hosting the CTNF YOUTH AND SENIOR TOURNAMENT. The purpose was to give our 8 selected teams court time and the coaches the opportunity to determine standard of fitness, skills and overall condition.

It turned out to be very enjoyable and successful. Our next activity will be the Erica trials where 6 teams will be selected. These are our development teams. They will participate in the CTNF SENIOR LEAGUE which will run for 5 Saturdays from 31 October to 28 November. Clubs and the CTNF teams will participate which will include a male section. This of cause will assist the CTNF coaches to prepare for participation in the SPAR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP and MALES NATIONAL CHAMPS early December and late January 2021 respectively.

Q: How does the challenge of having netball playing facilities affect the playing of netball under CTNF?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: CTNF has been confronted with lack of facilities since 2017/2018. It has been a struggle to secure adequate facilities.

We are compelled to hire courts from member clubs. For longer than 4 decades the Federation has piggy backed on the courts of the club in Bellville. After the fire damage at the Bellville courts in 2017, the relationship was ended by the club – left CTNF without courts to use. During 2018 we have to hire that facility to continue with the Netball.

Since 2019 CTNF uses the facility of UWC and those of  Schools. It is sad and unacceptable that the custodian of netball in the Cape Metropole does not have a home.

We are in constant negotiations with the City of Cape Town for facilities. Recently a facility was allocated for interim use, only to realize that after 11 weeks no upgrading has been done. This of cause was influenced by the Lockdown restrictions – you know everything gets blame on the CORONA VIRUS.

This is a major setback because now again  we have to rely on SUB-DISTRICTs and clubs whose facilities are COVID READY. This comes with its own challenges, schools and tertiary instututions is a NO GO at this stage – but CTNF netball is on the roll.

Q: Is junior netball growing under CTNF?

CTNF President: Marsha Wagenaar: When the Junior League was introduced only 100+ players participated. Ever since it escalated to more than 30 clubs/ 400+ players from u9 to u17. Our Development Officer is a dedicated and hardworking lady and with the assistance of her committee it is our vision to promote junior netball especially in the rural and disadvantage communities.

Q: What improvements in netball organization would CTNF like to implement over the next 3 seasons?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: Top on our priority list is Capacity Building of officials: re coaches, umpires, technical, selectors and administrators – to broaden the pool and to create more opportunities. Secondly to launch a campaign in the communities to identify and recruit the talented players and ensure that they are exposed to the opportunity to play for CTNF, WCNF and eventually SA. Thirdly to establish a Netball Academy in every sub-district which will provide specialist services to the players, coaches and umpires in their communities. And the fourth one is to get the assistance from all spheres of Government to build a facility of International Standard in Cape Town as part of the 2023 Legacy Program. CTNF is currently in discussions and planning for such a facility – Various virtual presentations have been presented to the Netball fraternity including Netball South Africa.

Q: With the 2023 Netball World Cup due to be held in Cape Town, how would CTNF like to be positioned before the start of this global event?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: Firstly, to be included in the LOC. Secondly to ensure that our officials are recognised and included to be involved and participate. Thirdly to be instrumental with the Legacy Program.

Q: What would CTNF still like to achieve for the 2020 season?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: To complete the events/activities on the calendar. To ensure that our teams are prepared for National participation and improve on  previous achievements. Also to encourage members to return to play and be compliant. To give recognition to our players /members for their achievements in 2020.

Q: Have plans for 2021 started? What are some of CTNF’s objectives?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: Our draft calendar has been compiled. Our plans include to strengthen relationships with our partners and sponsors to the benefit of our players/members. To have our Annual brainstorm for 2021. To locate a permanent home for netball. To work hard that more players get the opportunity to excel to participate at provincial and national level and be included in the SA squads. Embark on an intense drive to broaden the pool of players.

Q: What support from city of Cape Town would CTNF like to get, especially leading up to the 2023 WC?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: Firstly a permanent home for netball. And as previously mentioned a facility of international standards. Currently the City of Cape Town is busy with a facility audit for netball with the intention to upgrade – hope it will be concluded that clubs have access to better courts.  It will be a given if all clubs can use City facilities with floodlights. Currently the City of Cape Town is busy with a facility audit for netball with the intention to upgrade – hope it will be concluded that clubs have access to better courts.

Q: Anything you would like to add?

CTNF President Marsha Wagenaar: CTNF is the biggest netball district in the Western Cape. Our teams are performing exceptionally in the Provincial Championship and Development Tournament. We are dominating almost in every division. CTNF has been runner up as Federation of the Year 2016, 2017 and 2018. Eventually in 2019 we receive the accolade for FEDERATION OF THE YEAR – so we are doing something RIGHT – don’t you agree?

SA Rugby Gives Women Rugby Players A Bad Deal Again! By Cheryl Roberts

6 Oct


Preparations are underway or should be undertaken by countries scheduled to participate in the 2021 women’s rugby World Cup to be played in New Zealand, in about one year’s time. South Africa, too is ‘preparing’. This will be  SA back at a women’s rugby World Cup after last participating in 2014 and then going into a self-imposed international moratorium. Women’s rugby was last played in SA last October when SA played Tests against Scotland in Cape Town. In both Tests, SA’s performances showed the women Springboks needed much more thorough preparation and game time. A national assessment camp was then held earlier in 2020. Now comes the announcement of a national training camp to be held over some weeks in Stellenbosch, got the women Springboks. But how and why were players selected for the women Springboks national training camp when they all last played and had game time last October? How does a head coach select a national squad for a national training camp when there’s been no play for a year? Women Springboks head coach has selected and announced players called up to the national training camp. Several omissions and non-call ups have surprised players and provincial coaches. Some Springbok players who got injured last year have not been called up, some players who put in sterling performances during the one round interprovincial championship have not been selected. And then you get 9 players from the 7’s squad who didn’t play in the 2019 Tests being called up to the 2020 15’s national training squad. The question is: How must South Africa’s women rugby players ‘Prove Themselves’ when there’s no game time, since September/October last year? Women rugby players have heard nothing about interprovincial and national rugby throughout lockdown. Then they heard about the national training camp coming up in October. Throughout the lockdown, SA Rugby has concentrated on pro men’s rugby which also includes men’s u21 rugby. Because all women’s rugby, including women Springboks, are considered amateur, no arrangements were made to get women’s rugby back on the playing field after lockdown restrictions were lifted. So how does a women Springboks national training camp get sorted out? How do players get selected? On what performances? Couldn’t SA Rugby have arranged to play a one week national interprovincial women’s championship? You did it for the senior men and arranged it for the men’s u21 championship. But couldn’t SA Rugby stage a national one week championship for women’s rugby?Why must women’s rugby be so non-supported, so marginalised in SA Rugby? The women Springboks are going to play in a rugby World Cup in one year’s time and they are not getting the support they should be getting from their federation in preparation for this global event. To come back to the issue: when there’s no game time for women players, how is the Springbok coach going to select players based on current performances? How do you select players from over a year ago’s performances and game time?And then: When will the women’s interprovincial championship start and be played in 2021? Will it be a double round championship or just another one round championship? How do players get game time at provincial level? How is SA’s best national squad going to be selected for the 2021 women’s rugby World Cup with no women’s rugby being scheduled? Surely this is a raw deal being given to women’s rugby within SA Rugby? Who do the players turn to and ask about their omission and non-selection for the national training camp? Who do women players have to speak up for them within SA Rugby? How do women rugby players get a better, supportive deal from SA Rugby? Most importantly, how do women rugby players prove themselves when there’s no game time in over a year?

Africa’s 800m Champion Women Athletes Speak Out Against World Athletics ‘High Testosterone Ruling’ By Cheryl Roberts

14 Sep

With black women athletes refusing to take prescribed medication to alter construction of their bodies, we acknowledge that the white men-dominated World Athletics sports federation hasn’t got control of its ambition to control black women’s bodies in athletics.Black women affected by the ‘higher testosterone ruling’ of World Athletics challenged global sport and have spoken out against their bodies being controlled and subjected to medication prescribed by men. Last week, a European-based court of arbitration for sport ruled in favour of the ‘higher testosterone ruling’ being supported. Some opinions and comments signed it off as ‘being the end’ of women athletes participating in athletics and ‘winning unfairly’. For the women athletes who emphatically became victims of this men-designed ‘higher testosterone ruling’, it was rejection of this ruling by World Athletics. The ‘higher testosterone ruling’ clearly impacted on at least three world class African women athletes: Caster Semenya of South Africa, Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi and Margaret Wambui of Kenya. Semenya, Niyonsaba and Wambui finished first, second and third in the women’s 800m at the Rio Olympics. It was an African herstorical moment when the 800m medal Olympic Games medal podium was all about Africa’s women athletes. Then followed the horrendous attempts by World Athletics to control black women athletes’ bodies, especially athletes like world and Olympic champion Caster Semenya. The counter challenge was mounted and led by Caster Semenya on behalf of not only her body but all women’s bodies. She fought World Athletics in the court of arbitration and, although the court ruled in favour of World Athletics’s unjust, atrocious, vicious, inhumane ruling, Caster Semenya has refused to succumb to attempts to control her body. Caster Semenya reacted to the court of arbitration’s ruling declaring: ‘A man can change the rules but the very same man cannot rule my life’.But not only Caster Semenya has refused to accept men’s control of her body. So, too has sportswomen in world sport and Africa’s sportswomen. African sport hasn’t challenged enough, supported enough, spoken out enough against the ‘higher testosterone ruling’ of World Athletics. Actually, African sport has largely failed and disappointed Africa’s women athletes by actually complying with and impending the ‘higher testosterone ruling’.However, the young African 800m specialist athletes, who bestowed much pride on Africa when they medalled at the Rio Olympics, are fighting for control of not only their bodies but all girl and women athletes by refusing to acknowledge and accept the inhumane rulings of World Athletics. 
‘I will continue to fight for the human rights of female athletes, both on and off the track, until we can all run free, the way we were born’, said Caster Semenya.
Also speaking out against attempts to control women athletes’ bodies is Burundi’s world class 800m athlete Francine Niyonsaba. 
‘Young people in Africa look up to us. We have a responsibility towards them. Our struggle to run free is not only about us. It is also about the next generation. No matter how much you try to stop us, we will continue to run to keep their dreams alive’, said Francine Niyonsaba, 2016 Rio Olympics 800m silver medalist. Last year, Kenya’s Margaret Wambui said she refused to take medication to control the make-up of her body. She pleaded for positive intervention from Kenyan athletics, intervention that would support Africa’s women athletes and not support World Athletics vicious rulings. Africa’s 800m women athletes – Caster Semenya, Francine Niyonsaba and Margaret Wambui – are running in their lane on the global athletics track. They are challenging all who seek to control their bodies. What about African sport? Are we challenging strongly, supporting Africa’s sportswomen? 

Let’s Understand This! We Can’t Force South Africa’s White Athletes To Take a Knee In Support Of #BlackLivesMatter By Cheryl Roberts

19 Aug

lewis hamilton

Let’s get straight to the point! White sports people in South Africa come from lives of privilege experenced during what was their glory apartheid era and inherited from the apartheid era. They are also racists and proponents of racial prejudice and white supremacy during a post-apartheid time in South African society. All of this being inherited from and carried over from their parents, grandparents, ancestors from a South Africa that was dominated and controlled by a white minority. And the point is? It doesn’t mean because whites live in a post-apartheid SA they have undergone radical and critical mental transformation and consciousness. Because they retain the wealth and their white privilege and have stayed on in post-apartheid SA, they seemingly accept a ‘rainbow nation’ way of life, making us believe they endorse, embrace, favour, a non-racial SA where ‘all are equal’.

Whites, as a group are racist. They thrive on and survive on white privilege. As soon as their white privilege and white control is being challenged, they start responding with their racist attacks and racist prejudice. When representing SA, they may say ‘I love playing for SA’s flag and for our SA country’. But this doesn’t mean white sports people have disrupted and rejected their white privilege! There’s no ways all or most white people in sport are going to take a knee at sports events in support of the #blacklives matter movement. Yes, we accept that some whites have broken rank, taken on another consciousness and will and have taken a knee.

But we can’t and should not expect all whites in sport to take a knee. I don’t expect to see them doing it because I know that whites as a group in sport are racist and protect their white privulege and don’t speak up and out against discrimination and racial prejudice in sport. So why the hell are we expecting to see them taking a knee? And why do we think we should force them to take a knee?

Most whites are racists! Accept that. They should not be forced to take a knee. Let them expose themselves for whom they are, what they represent. Get This! Its public relations by corporate funded sports to present a sports team as a ‘united team, playing for the rainbow nation that is post-apartheid SA.’ It’s to fool the sports consumer and fan, the society that everyone is ‘one nation’. But we are not fooled! We know that the majority of whites in sport still don’t accept black offcials being in control of sports federations, that majority whites are racist when criticising post-apartheid sport, that majority whites in sport still believe ‘whites are merit and blacks are development in sport’.

Now we see SA’s Minister of Sport wanting to know something about the South African rugby players that didn’t take a knee before their pro club rugby match in England. Damnit! They don’t care and don’t want to support #blacklivesmatter activism and movement. They want to have their white control, preferential selection, favouritism and privilege intact. They want just a few blacks in national sports teams of cricket, rugby, swimming, hockey, netball, representing SA so whites can have most of the representation.

There’s a war of attrition going on in South Afrucan sport. We are not one unified group when it comes to representation and selection. How can we be unified when we come from an unequal society, where minority whites have most of the country’s privileges and benefits? We must acknowledge and accept that most whites in sport are not our #blacklivesmatter allies, they don’t support a society that takes away their white control, white wealth inherited from apartheid and white privilege. So why are we going to force them to take a knee in support of #blacklivesmatter?

Call them out! They should be told we see them. We also let them know we are intent on disrupting our unequal sports paradigm, of challenging and dismantling their white privilege and white control and, not only imagining but ushering in the society we must have for all South Africa’s people to be looked at fairly, equally and justly. Sports officials don’t have to hide and protect those whites who refuse to take a knee. Acknowledge that white supremacists, white racists, white proponents of racial prejudice exist in sport. This is all carried over and inherited from apartheid. Now we have these people in the SA sports paradigm. We must be aware of them so we know who are the allies and who are not.

Damnit, despite South Africa winning three rugby world cups, I never believed the propaganda that ‘we were one nation through rugby’. My consciousness never believed this because I knew the white South African has a different mindset and thinking to my black thinking that arises out of years of oppression by a minority white regime.

How many whites have challenged white-dominated sports team representing post-apartheid sports team? How many whites have called out racism and racial prejudice in sport in SA? How many whites have publicly supported the #blacklivesmatter movement?

Leave them – these whites who refuse to take a knee – in their white laager. We are surging ahead with disruption and challenge and fighting for the sports paradigm we want. I won’t force any white person in sport to take a knee. I also don’t support those in sport who don’t support the #blacklivesmatter movement and those who never challenge whiteness, white privilege in sport. I also know where we stand in relation to #blacklivesmatter. If white players/athletes don’t want to take a knee, then let them be. We don’t have to defend them and enquire from them their reasons. We just have to acknowledge we inherited these type of whites from apartheid and rooting them out is an ongoing struggle. And we also let them know we know they still favour a white controlled sports paradigm but we ain’t going to allow them that control ever again.

Pioneering ‘African Soil Sportswoman’ Publication Launches In Africa: By An African, for and about Africa’s Sportswomen By Cheryl Roberts

29 Jul

african soil sportswoman

 

‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it’― Toni Morrison

 

I read and accepted Toni Morrison’s enchanting, inspirational words. The stories and narratives I wanted to read, have now been written in this pioneering publication, for and about Africa’s sportswomen and Africa’s women in sport.

She has arrived. On African soil. Constructed by an African (that’s me). It appears to be the first of its kind sportswomen continental publication by an African, for and about African sportswoman. I’ve created and published this pioneering publication ‘African Soil Sportswoman’.

And so it has been birthed. That’s ‘African Soil Sportswoman’, my newest publication and what appears to be the first of its kind continental women and sport publication, published in African, by an African for and about Africa’s sportswomen and Africa’s women and sport.

I’ve had this idea for many years. I’ve now gone ahead and published this self-funded digital publication, centering and amplifying Africa’s sportswomen and women and sport.

Africa’s sportswomen, from grassroots to international participation are phenomenal. Their achievements are dazzling, record breaking, amongst the best in the world, amazing, world and global champions. But, despite their world, Olympic, continental feats in sport, Africa’s sportswomen and women in sport do not get the acknowledgment, publicity and sponsorship they deserve and should be awarded.

Many people outside of Africa and non-Africa write, publish, research and broadcast  about Africa’s phenomenal sportswomen and struggling women in sport.

However, a publication that was continental and centering Africa’s sportswomen has been missing for all our African lives. Now here we are: with a publication that has finally arrived. In 2020 it has been conceptualised, created and published.

Launched in July 2020 is my newest publication ‘African Soil Sportswoman’: Amplifying And Centering Africa’s Sportswomen’. It’s a self-funded publication. It could be done and I’ve published it. Africa’s narratives are best published by anti-colonial and intersectional African women.

Cheryl Roberts

Creator/Writer/Publisher of ‘African Soil Sportswoman’

Footballer Hasifah Nassuna Scores Goals For Uganda; Now Wants To Score Goals For A Pro Club By Cheryl Roberts

29 Jul

1Hasifah Nassuna

 

Having started out playing grassroots football as a girl footballer, Hasifah Nassuna now plays football for Uganda’s national women’s football team. She is a university student; studying for a degree in communication. 22 year old Hasifah Nassuna also dreams of playing pro football outside of Uganda. She would love to play for Barcelona women’s team in the Spanish league.

Hasifah Nassuna is a forward and a top striker. She has won several awards in football.  She would also like to see much more being done to advance women’s football in Uganda, especially with publicity of women’s football so the game can grow amongst girls and attract much more interest, spectators and followers. Hasifa Nassuna already knows she would one day like to open a girls football academy and an orphanage to help children who don’t have parents, through life.

In this interview with ‘African Soil Sportswoman’ publisher South Africa-based Cheryl Roberts, we have a convo with Ugandan sportswoman Hasifah Nassuna and her football……

 

Hasifah Nassuna

Q: How did you start playing football?

Hasifah Nassuna; My mom used to go with me for training when I was still young. I ended up growing in the society of soccer lovers. That is how I picked up interest in football.

Q: What have been your memorable football moments?

Hasifah Nassuna: Winning Airtel female player of the year 2016 in Uganda is one of my best achievements. I’ve also won top goal scorer awards and league titles in Uganda.

Q: Do you recall your first goal scored by you?

Hasifah Nassuna: Of course No

Q: Did your family approve of you playing football? Did they support you?

Hasifah Nassuna: My mom did support me playing football because she was also a soccer player but the rest of my family members most especially on my dad’s side, they never wanted me to play football. But I always had and have my mother’s support.

Q: Your role models in football in Uganda? In Africa?

Hasifah Nassuna: My coach in Uganda who passed on was my role model. He gave women’s football lots of time and help. I admire Nigeria’s Asisat Oshaola and South Africa’s Thembi Kgatlana.

Q: What would you like to achieve as a footballer?

Hasifah Nassuna: I want to play professional football outside of Uganda. Preferably in Spain. For Barcelona.

Q: Your education was done where?

Hasifah Nassuna: I went to St. Michaels and then to St Mary’s Nsumba for my primary level. Then I joined Kawempe Muslim for my secondary level. I am currently studying at Uganda Christian University (UCU).

Q: Tell us about your training systems? As a club player and national team player

Hasifah Nassuna: For club football, we train at UCU main pitch. This is daily training. For national team, we have national training camps before we play internationals.

Q: What pro club would you like to play for?

Hasifah Nassuna: I wanna play for Barcelona Ladies. That is my dream team. But since I have not got any access for any bigger club, I can’t refuse from going to any club I get, just in case I get the opportunity.

Q: How would you like women’s football to be improved in Uganda?

Hasifah Nassuna: If they can give us an opportunity to participate in more international matches and friendlies, it will help the national team as well as the players from different clubs. And if at all things goes well and the CAF championship is there, it will help us a lot at both the club and the national team levels. But so far, it’s improving compared to how it was sometime back. It is just a matter of time before much more improvement comes along for women’s football in Uganda.

Q: Anything else you would like to add?

Hasifah Nassuna: I would like to start a girls football academy in Uganda and an orphanage.

South Africa’s Black Sportswomen Speak Out: We’ve Had Enough Of Racism And Discrimination In Sport By Cheryl Roberts

16 Jul

lewis hamilton

 

South Africa’s intergenerational black women in sport and sportswomen have taken up their space and are making their voices heard about #BlackLivesMatter. The black sportswomen, representing intergenerational girls and women in sport from junior sport to international sport, are speaking out against the racism, racial prejudice, gender discrimination and white privilege that has confronted them and continues to confront them in sport. The women in sport and sportswomen want it known they are tired of being silent and quiet, tired of getting the crumbs in sport, tired of the racism and racial prejudice they face, tired of the white privilege that dominates much of South African sport.The sportswomen say they’ve had enough of all of this and want it known that racism, racial prejudice, white privilege, gender discrimination and gender inequalities must be eliminated from the South African sports paradigm.

This is the full Statement Released By Black Sportswomen

Released publicly on Thursday, 16 July 2020.

South Africa’s Black Sportswomen Speak Out: We’ve Had Enough Of Racism And Discrimination In Sport

In this unequal society that we live in, we acknowledge the inequalities that exist in South African sport, especially gender, class and colour inequalities. We point out that discrimination based on these inequalities is vast in SA sport.
Racism and racial prejudice has been with us throughout the post-apartheid era of sport, despite us believing we had a new dawn emerging for all sportswomen. This racism and racial prejudice is prevalent in most sports, from school sport to international level. We are tired of white-dominated sports teams still existing in 26 year old post-apartheid SA. We’ve had enough of black sportswomen always having to prove themselves much more than white sportswomen, especially in netball and women’s hockey and women’s cricket.
We are tired of black girls being discriminated against in school sport where white coaches control selection in most school sports. We’ve had enough of white racist coaches who think white girls in sport are merit selections and black girls ‘must be developed’.
We’ve had enough of gender discrimination in sport. Why can’t women’s rugby and women’s football national league get sponsored? Is it because these sports are black-dominated? Where are the black African women cricket coaches and black African women batters in the SA women’s cricket team? Why do so few black women get game time in netball and hockey teams? Where are the black women coaches in athletics? Why do men control and dominate women’s sports?
We’ve had enough of racism, racial prejudice, discrimination and white privilege existing in South African sports. We, the sportswomen and women in sport are speaking out, with one voice. Hear our roars!

Signed By:

 

  1. Jo Prins – National League Netballer
  2. Noko Matlou – International footballer
  3. Zanele Mdodana – Former SA Netball Captain; Netball coach
  4. Thelma Achilles – Softball umpire
  5. Phumelela Mbande – International hockey player
  6. Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe – Women’s Rugby
  7. Dumisane Chauke – National netball coach
  8. Zethu Myeki – Pro golfer
  9. Rabia Isaacs – Softball player
  10. Ntambi Ravele – Woman in sport
  11. Nosipho Poswa – Girls rugby coach
  12. Aphiwe Tuku – International Fencer
  13. Jackie van Staade – Anti-apartheid tennis player
  14. Anam Tose – Women’s Springbok
  15. Cheryl Roberts – Women in sport media
  16. Hlengiwe Buthelezi – Athlete
  17. Chuma Qawe – Woman Springbok
  18. Tania Lewis – Internaional volleyball match official
  19. Kgothso Montjane – World Class wheelchair tennis player
  20. Mampho Tsotetsi – Former international netballer
  21. Ruth Saunders – Handball Official
  22. Deejay Manaleng – Para-athlete
  23. Malikah Hamza – National u21 training squad Girl hockey player
  24. Nadia Mgulwa – Tertiary Sport Administrator
  25. Nadeema Levy – Touch Rugby Administrator
  26. Mel Awu – Teriary Sport Administrator
  27. Nosipho Mthembu – International Canoeist
  28. Zoleka Bandla – Women’s Rugby
  29. Siviwe Duma – Pro Golfer
  30.  Qeku – former Protea
  31. Thulisile Nhleko – former SA Fast5
  32. Palesa Bhasta- National squad player
  33. Nonhle Gwavu  – former Protea
  34. Tumelo Nkoe – Netballer
  35.  Simnikiwe Mdaka – former Protea
  36.  Nthabiseng Moabi – former Protea
  37.  Tsakane Mbewe – former Protea
  38. Refiloe Mochaka – former Protea
  39. Hazel Gumede – former Coach

‘Taking A Knee’: South Africa’s Women In Sport Speak By Cheryl Roberts

7 Jul

DAEF6C09-BEF0-4F2C-8C4C-71914CDA8C8C      Activism in sport is not something new. Athletes being activists goes back many many decades. ‘Take a knee’ activism has been popularised by American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and been given support and endorsement by several world class athletes. Recently, ‘taking a knee’ has been moved to the forefront of sport as the world’s peoples rally around and in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

As a country of structural inequalities throughout all of society, South African sport is not ‘independent’ of inequalities, racism, discrimination, sexism, misogyny, abuse. Much of South African sport officialdom is conservative; would prefer to have athletes muted and have no opinion and make no comment about politics and society. But athletes, people in sport are not zombies and refuse to be muted. They live in a society of structural inequalities, racism, violence and discrimination. They don’t accept everything as the way ‘things should be’ or ‘supposed to be’.

I interviewed several of South Africa’s women in sport, wanting to know if they would ‘take a knee’. They have varying opinions. But they all agree they will not accept gender-based violence nor discrimination against sportswomen and women in sport. And for this they will ‘take a knee’.
This is the interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publisher Cheryl Roberts and ten South African women in sport…..
F4F879E9-93EE-4A1B-A0F4-BC58586AC896
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Netball Coach Dumisani Chauke: I would take a knee because I have not always been on the right side of the fence. I would take a knee for my brothers and sisters who are on the other side of the fence and do not get given a chance because they are on the other side of the fence. Be it in sport, in business or at work…systematic exclusion is a reality for most of us.
6634395F-16DC-40DC-A128-1F47F80F91B3
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Golfer Siviwe Duma: I will start to kneel down for taking sport and women seriously because, as you know, we are undermined physically, financially and mentally. As sportswomen we are told men are better than women and men get all the support and money. But we do exactly the same thing in sport, sometimes even better. It’s time we the sportswomen are treated equally. Now is the time.
B2C808CF-E450-4C8A-B7C5-170F58DED84C
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Netballer Jo Prins: I would take a knee in solidarity with all people who have suffered at the hands of GBV and racism. I support the goal of true equal treatment for POC and women by every segment of society and in sport.
tsoanelo pholo
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Hockey Coach Tsoanelo Pholo: I definitely would
DAEF6C09-BEF0-4F2C-8C4C-71914CDA8C8C
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Touch Rugby Official Nadeema Levy: Yes, I would take a knee. In solidarity with oppressed, especially black females who have always been struggling to access opportunity and who face structural racism.
1ntambi ravele
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Woman In Sport Official Ntambi Ravele: Yes, I would take a knee because as a woman I am double oppressed and experience many injustices and abuse. Taking a knee will be a sign of showing that it’s enough !✊🏾Oppressors should liberate themselves and realize that we are not going to accept oppression and injustices anymore. We will challenge them; as we are doing it now. So my knee will be a sign for oppression as a woman and being black.
C7D6270F-065F-4C64-B2C3-C31DEB9B35B4
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Footballer Lebogang Ramelepe: Eish.  I really don’t know how I feel about this whole take a knee thing. We adopt what other countries are doing forgetting about our main challenge in our country and that is gender based violence, the killing of women and children. I support activism against gender based violence as a priority.
J
tania lewis volleyball
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Volleyball Match Official Tania Lewis: I don’t really like campaigns based on race constructs. I agree that this movement is necessary in the context of its origin (US police brutality with clear bias towards black people). Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during their national anthem in protest of the treatment of racial minorities has taken on a life of it own. But it is also the very America patriotism that is used against non-Americans, threatening the sovereignty of other nations and advocate their supremacy over others. I think race campaigns are limited in its objectives whilst there are many social ills and create the ‘them and us’. Perpetuating the very thing it seeks to eradicate..
We are faced with gender inequalities, GBV, extinction of species, nationalism, wars on the innocent and destroying the very life blood of our planet. So should I take a knee it would be for the reason ‘that all living things matter’…
50F78F47-9532-4E05-A48C-35FE6C285E09
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?
Road Runner Blanche Moila: ….#WeAreAllln…. l would “Take the Knee ”   …in support of the plight of women and children in South Africa ….atrocious acts of violence against women and children  unresolved ..  the harassment of our young girls when training/running must stop…all the whistle and disparaging comments at our girls while they are running must stop.  We are tired of the daily attacks #alllivesmatter.#blacklivesmattertoo….#needSafeEnvironments…#enhancethetruepotentialofSportswomen…#WOMANDLAINSPORTS 🙋‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️#BeSafe #socialDistance adherence is imperative 😘’
7E78D8A8-FBBF-4816-84A9-66C0BB45F5BF
Q: As a woman in sport, would you ‘take a knee’?

Girls Rugby Coach Nosipho Poswa: ‘Yes, I will to protest gender-based violence’.

South Africa’s women in sport have spoken. They will not be silent about racism, gender discrimination, gender-based violence in society. They will not accept women in sport being dominated by men, racism in sport dominating black and oppressed women and gender inequalities in sport.

Africa’s Women Footballers Condemn CAF’s Cancellation Of AWCON By Cheryl Roberts

5 Jul

asisat nigeria

Just when Africa’s elite women footallers were calling for CAF to step up and introduce more continental competitions for women footballers, CAF went and – just like that – cancelled the African continent’s premier 2020 women’s football tournament, AWCON. Women footballers were dismayed and amazed at the cancellation of AFCON, announced at CAF’s last week held meeting. And this cancellation was done whilst continental men’s football tournaments got postponed and not cancelled.

Whilst CAF cancelled one women’s football continental championship, they introduced another. The women’s club champions league is set to debut in 2021. Women footballers welcomed this tournament; its something they been calling for over a long time.

CAF hosts a continental women’s football championship every two years. With the 2020 AWCON being cancelled, this means the next continental championship for women footballers will be in 2022 which will also double up as an African women’s football world cup qualifying tournament.

 

Africa’s elite footballers refused to accept the cancellation. They also refused to remain silent about the cancellation. And they expressed their opinions and feelings about the AFCON cancellation. They understand the covid-19 pandemic is impacting on world and continental sport. But they can’t understand how men’s football competitions are getting re-scheduled and postponed while women’s football tournaments are getting the cancelled notice.

Africa’s ‘Woman footballer of the Year’ Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria, responded on twitter with the opinion:

Other competitions POSTPONED but AWCON “CANCELLED” thank you once again for making us realize women’s football isn’t important to you.congratulations on dragging us back AGAIN.Adios’

South African international footballer Kaylin Swart responded and endorsed Asisat Oshoala’s opinion on twitter, saying: ‘We tired of it.’

In an interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publication, South Africa’s 2020 women’s football national captain Lebogang Ramelepe, called for the tournament to be re-scheduled, rather than cancelled.

18EE5134-E891-4B90-AA50-C085937F8046

‘I can say it’s bad how are we going to prepare for the CAF championship if we won’t participate this year? Noooo, it’s wrong what they (CAF) are doing. Its best they reschedule for December than a year later’, said Lebogang Ramelepe.

Cameroon international Ajara Nchout gave her opinion abot the cancellation, on instagram. She said:

‘An Africa Women’s Cup of Nations is more than a competition. ‘Since yesterday – that was last Wednesday – I have been saddened by the news of the cancellation of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations 2020. Even if I understand the decision, I find it hard to accept.’

Ajara Nchout also lamented how CAF – up until their meeting last week, doesn’t offer much to develop women’s football in Africa. She added: ‘Whatever, African women’s football will fall behind. African women’s football does not offer much opportunity to see one’s talents. Afcon is a door of opportunity for us.’

Nigerian footballer Asisat Oshoalato called for CAF to ‘prioritize women’s football’ and for CAF to have ‘no excuse’ when it comes to supporting advancement of women’s football in Africa.

Said Asisat Oshoala: ‘all the women National teams in Africa,see y’all in 2022 ‪#PrioritizeWomensFootball ‪#NoExcuse

 

ajara nchout

For Ajara Nchout, the cancellation of AFCON is a disappointment for Africa’s young women footballers who look forward to playing in their first continental championship and for the senior women footballers who always have something to look forward to, every two years.

‘Many of us have emerged with the Awcon. Three years in a lifetime is far. I am sad for my young sisters and African women’s football,’ said Ajara Nchout.

Asked whether CAF didn’t give women’s football much respect, South African footballer Leboganag Rameleope said:

‘That’s what I’m saying. It means they don’t value women’s football at all.’

That the cancellation of Africa’s premier women’s football tournament has left Africa’s women footballers irate, saddened and disappointed, there’s no doubt. It’s encouraging to have the women footballers speak out publicly and make their voices heard.

The male-controlled CAF must advance and support women’s football in Africa. We understand the covid-19 pandemic has ramifications. What is not acceptable is the cancellation of a women’s football tournament and the postponement of men’s football championships.

Africa’s Women Footballers Want More Continental Competition By Cheryl Roberts

30 Jun

asisat-oshoala-barcelona_ihvu6wslhsb61bpg1jmhrcejz

 

For a long time, Africa’s women footballers have been calling for pro national leagues in their countries and more continental competition for women’s football. With directives coming from FIFA, continental football controlling bodies are being forced to increase women’s football competitions. CAF is also under pressure to introduce more competitions for African women’s football.

Until now, CAF hosts only the AWCON, every two years and the Olympic qualifiers, which it must host. The AWCON championship doubles up, every four years, as a women’s world cup qualifier event. Women footballers have also been calling for a continental club championship that will see national league champions play in this event. It’s now on the agenda of CAF (for today’s meeting); for a women’s club championship to be hosted by CAF.

And already, Africa’s women internationals have responded and welcomed this competition being on the agenda.

Africa’s ‘woman footballer of the year’, Asisat Ashoala of Nigeria, told CAF, in a tweet on social media to go ahead and ‘START IT.’

She also mentioned increasing team participation in the continental club competition. ‘Increase the number each year until others catch up.’

South Africa’s only 2020 captain thus far, Lebogang Ramelepe says ‘This is sounding good. Ya, CAF must introduce this championship. We need it’.

18EE5134-E891-4B90-AA50-C085937F8046

 

Both Asisat Oshoala and Lebogang Ramelepe also added that the continental championship should be introduced with adequate financial support so the players could be looked after and be able to compete and participate without having to travel long distances by road and play for no play.

Said Asisat Oshoala ‘but pls WELFARE should be a priority.’

The establishment of professional national women’s football leagues must also be prioritised, say the women footballers.

‘Our national national leagues must be turned into pro leagues and get funded and sponsored so we start from within our national federations playing pro football’, says Lebogang Ramelepe. ‘And the CAF champions league must be sponsored so the women footballers can get paid and concentrate full-time on playing football.’

The possible introduction of the African women’s football champions league also excites Zethembiso Vilakazi, South Africa’s u19 and u20 international player.Dk-iT28XoAEhP-K

We want more football competition so we can regularly play with the top teams and players. This will improve our game and make us better performers at international competitions like the World Cup and Olympics,’ said Zethembiso Vilakazi, the only player to score a goal for South Africa at the 2018 u17 girls football world cup.

Former African ‘woman footballer of the year’, South Africa’s Noko Matlou also welcomes the advent of an African women’s champions league. ‘This can only take women’s football forward. But we must be financially secure with this tournament. We can’t be worrying about money for travelling and accommodation when travelling out of our countries. And the players must get paid. We must know that our needs are taken care of and we not left worrying about other things. Then we can concentrate on the football,’ says Noko Matlou.

noko matlou

It’s very clear that CAF must do much more for women’s football in Africa. National federations in Africa must do much more for women’s football in their countries. And the women footballers are tired of getting the crumbs; want much more done to advance women’s football.

There you have it CAF. Get women’s football moving forward throughout Africa. Instruct all your members to improve and advance the state of women’s football.