Archive | June, 2015

Confederation Of African Football (CAF) Must Prioritise Women’s Football   By Cheryl Roberts

26 Jun

IMG_8698I’m of the opinion that an African country can win a women’s world cup but the only way they going to achieve this is with more assistance and support from CAF which rightfully must advance women’s football.

Women’s football in Africa is being given a raw deal with only the crumbs of the continent’s massive football budget being signed off for women in football. CAF must step up the game and demand advances to women’s participation in football, across the continent. It’s an injustice to humanity when sportswomen are discriminated against in resource and budget allocation. It’s a worse atrocity when talented, emerging players have no professional league in their country to pursue life as professional women footballers, just like their male counterparts.

Africa was represented at the 2015 women’s football world cup in Canada by three countries, namely, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast. Much was expected of African champions, Nigeria. The country found themselves drawn in the ‘group of death’ with Australia, USA and Sweden and never made it past the group stages.

2015 Women’s Football World Cup debutants got mixed results with Ivory Coast losing 10-nil to Germany in their opening match and never recovering thereafter. For first time performers, I thought Cameroon was very impressive; their performance in the last 16 of the competitive tournament proved the team’s prowess mixed with inexperience.

So what now for African women’s football? The three teams are back in Africa whilst the quarterfinals continues wit no African representative. African women’s football will now prepare for the RIO Olympics qualifiers and the 2015 All African Games to be held in Congo in September.

As the controlling body for football on the African continent, CAF must prioritise women’s football. Girls and women’s participation is growing furiously and competitions must be increased to give the clubs and teams the best opportunities to participate and grow their football skills.

As African women’s football has shown in the under 20 and under 17 women’s world cups held over the past few years, African countries have excelled in these elite events and have medalled when competing with the world’s best in their age groups, as Ghana and Nigeria have accomplished.

CAF must introduce a continental club competition featuring all national league winners. An African knockout championship for cup winners must also be looked at. Both these competitions will give impetus to clubs to perform regionally and win national titles to qualify to perform in Africa’s prestige women’s football events.

As Nigeria and Cameroon demonstrated at this year’s women’s football world cup, Africa countries are not far behind the top European, North American and Asian playing countries. Superbly talented young players like Nigeria’s Asisat Ashaolo spotlight Africa’s emerging women’s football talent. But Africa’s talented women footballers have to play football knowing they must get a contract to play out of Africa if they want to play professionally. When are professional leagues for women footballers going to take off in some African countries. By now Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa should have initiated women’s pro leagues.

Africa’s women’s national teams play on an ad hoc basis like when qualifiers are coming up. There are not many qualifiers for Africa’s few continental championships. Players need to be operating competitively all year with small breaks in between. Women’s football is growing fast and development of the game from grassroots to international level is expanding around the world.

CAF has much to improve and develop men’s and boys participation in league football and international matches. So why is this not being done for the women? CAF cannot be allowed to discard and disregard women in football when the global game is played by both genders.

The struggle within CAF for women’s football to be prioritized, given much bigger budgets and expanded with more resource and people management is very real. CAF’s reluctance to advance women’s football, beyond its present state, impacts on emerging girl footballers, with them maybe never knowing their full talent and capabilities. This is an in justice to Africa’s girls and women in sport!

SA’s 1995 Rugby World Cup Victory Benefited White South Africans   By Cheryl Roberts

24 Jun

24 JUN 1995:  KICH CHRISTIE THE SOUTH AFRICAN COACH GETS LIFT UP ABOVE THE SOUTH AFRICAN TEAM AFTER THEY DEFEATED NEW ZEALAND IN THE RUGBY WORLD CUP FINAL AT ELLIS PARK, JOHANNESBURG.  Mandatory Credit: Simon Bruty/ALLSPORT

South Africa’s historic rugby world cup rugby victory twenty years ago on this day is being re-visited yet again, with much honour and applause being given to the Springbok world cup winning team. Memories and emotions are being recalled and played out by SA Rugby, the world cup winning squad and sports and social media platforms.

The rugby world cup victory immediately gained priority, as a sports event which ‘unified the nation and brought South Africans together’, on transitioning South Africa’s social cohesion agenda.

When an honest check is done and reality is answered, can we authentically argue that the 1995 rugby world cup, being hosted in SA and won by SA, was a significant game changer for a South African society walking from a horrendous apartheid era into a unifying society under the leadership of Nelson Mandela and the ANC?

Much of SA’s sports media would have us believe that the 1995 rugby world cup was a victory for all of SA; a victory which united South Africans. They also want us to reflect on the Springbok world victory rather than the sport’s dark moments and dominant white player representation.

It’s a fact that millions of formerly oppressed South Africans supported the Springbok team throughout the world cup. It must also be acknowledged that millions did not support the SA rugby team. 20 years later, and a significant amount of South Africans living in South Africa still don’t support or respect or acknowledge the Springbok team. Much of this non-support is related to rugby in SA perceived as a ‘white man’s sport prerogative and privilege’. So where is the unifying angle?

I was a formerly oppressed South African that didn’t support the 1995 Springbok world cup team. The wounds of apartheid were too raw and open for millions of non-supporters like me to call the Springbok team ‘my national team’. Years down the line, when I began to see some changes in SA rugby, did I also begin to embrace our national rugby teams.

South Africa’s 1995 rugby world cup squad was white to the core with the exception of one player, Chester Williams who was not white. That team represented everything of apartheid rugby and sidelined oppressed and black rugby players.

The black talent was there but the 1995 rugby squad was viewed through a white lens which saw white players as international rugby prowess and players of other colours still being emerging and developing players. The anti-apartheid rugby players who sacrificed for freedom in SA were not recognized for selection. It was white players and management, the beneficiaries of apartheid who represented the non-racial, democratic SA.

The Springbok selection of players not white was a challenging encounter in the selection forums with fierce battles dominating selection. Chester Williams’s selection was fought for and battled by a black selector, Bill Jardine who had served a lifetime in anti-apartheid, non-racial rugby.

Despite coming out of an oppressive era of apartheid lives, most black South Africans, intent on building a democratic country for all South Africans, forgave very quickly and embraced SA’s national sports teams, despite most of them being lily-white.

However, white SA’s didn’t as quickly and honestly embrace a democratic SA under a black government. The 1995 rugby world cup made white SA’s very happy. The global rugby event arrived very quickly, after apartheid.

At this stage of a democratic society, did white SA’s honestly embrace and accept a democratic society without apartheid and all its white privileges. Did white people give as much as they got from the oppressed or were black SA’s used to gain international sports acceptance?  If white people saw the rugby world cup as unifying then why are white people still racist in a democratic SA? Why is the country’s wealth still owned largely by white people? Why are the country’s rich and lush sports resources largely existent in advantaged, white communities? Why is the springbok men’s team white-dominated?

Its 20 years after democracy and sport in SA is still struggling to be transformed. Why is the Springbok men’s team still being challenged about the colour representation of its players?

Today, South Africa has a rugby world cup trophy in its sports history. Today and all other days thereafter, South Africa has a transformation road to embrace which will radically change the sports power network and ensure that sports like rugby are now owned by white people only but by our country, South Africa.

Down With Cape Town’s Expensive And Elite Football Tournament By Cheryl Roberts

18 Jun

The hosting of an expensive football tournament in Cape Town during July, by the DA-administered City of Cape Town must be condemned, not only by supporters and fans of the beautiful game, but also by citizens of the city.

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How do city administration officials  explain spending R35 million of a city’s budget on a sports event involving rich, moneyed professional football clubs? And, just how do you argue in favour of this event for boosting tourism, when Cape Town sells itself as a premier tourist city? Ticket prices are outrageous prices, selling between R200-R400.

Firstly, the expenses associated with this event are condemned. Secondly, the fact that only one football team from Cape Town is invited to this tournament and that football team is Ajax, a rich club owned by white people must also be challenged.

This event has been organized by a city administration which has an atrocious record of organising big money football events. Previous international events like the under 20 men’s international didn’t get much support from football fans with matches being played in empty stadiums with a few thousand fans.

Now the city’s tourism and event officials have come up with another football event; another very expensive pre-season football extravaganza costing millions of rands and catering for only one professional club in Cape Town.

Football is a people’s game in South Africa; it is rooted in working class communities. In Cape Town, football is played largely by working class schools and in disadvantaged communities; the very working class neighbourhoods and schools which the DA city of Cape Town deprives of resources and healthy living amenities.

Cape Town is struggling to get another team playing in the PSL. Why does this tournament not be a top 16, involving semi-pro teams and NFD teams? Why must R35 million be spent on one club in Cape Town and other clubs outside of Africa? And why does the city ignore top African clubs, Zamalek and Al Alhy of Egypt?

The city of Cape Town wants to use the people’s sport to promote tourism for the city; this is tourism which mainly benefits the privileged white tourist operators and white businesses in the city.

It’s correct that football fans and enthusiasts love to see the world’s best and legendary football teams play live football. The city of Cape Town would like people to believe that it is hosting a football event for people to be entertained in sport. This is not what is honestly being done.

Ticket sales will be expensive, out of reach of cash-stricken working class football fans. By hosting such a tournament in Cape Town, just one club and a few elite players benefit, whilst the city’s very competitive NFD teams, whom all battle throughout the league season to win PSL promotion, are left out of this expensive and moneyed sports event which actually should be hosted for the city’s people.

Ownership and management of most professional football clubs throughout the world are about using football to make money and increase profits. People and player needs are not as important as making money for the owners. These pro clubs will come into Cape Town, get five star and more glamour treatment, see some game reserve, play some holiday football, then leave the city with lots of money, whilst Cape Town’s working class-based football clubs and teams will be left to struggle for football boots, shin guards, playing kit, transport money to matches.

There’s no doubt that this elite football challenge is not being organized for football but to grow tourism in Cape Town which always benefits white people and their businesses. This event is not being staged to grow football in Cape Town. Rather it’s being staged to cause bitterness, disappointed and unhappiness amongst football clubs, supporters, officials and football fans.

If the city’s administration goes ahead with this football event, the only way it can say its being done for ‘the people’ is to allow open stadiums to all working class footballers and football supporters. It’s already a negative against the city for using millions on an elite sports event. It will be despicable and horrendous if the city of Cape Town insists on gating the event with entrance limited to ticket buyers.

But then again, the DA-administered city of Cape Town does not exist for ‘the people’ but for the privileged, elite and middle class residents of Cape Town and for European tourists, not people from African countries. How can we expect such an administration to understand and commit to developing people’s sport?

Down With ‘All Male’ And ‘All White’ Speaker Panels  By Cheryl Roberts

9 Jun

Copy of all men speaker panels 

I’m so over speaker panel-line ups being about white people and men (of all colours).

It’s been some time now that I’ve been dissing ‘all white’ and ‘all men’ panels. Such panel line-ups appear at seminars, conferences, conversations which a critical thinking society like ours, hosts and engages participants with thought prowess of the panelists.

But really now. At this juncture of powerful, sharp, relevant thinkers being of all genders, sexualities and colours, how do organisers and hosts still manage to set up an all male panel or all white panel?

What makes such organizers/hosts still want to present panels of speakers whom are all men or all white? Is it because men and whites have more public profiles? Are the organisers not all too aware who the significant and relevant people are in our society?

There are far too many significant, interesting and pivotal women contributors, of all colours, in our South African society to fill up conference/seminar/conversation panels.

There’s been much opinion circulating about the whiteness of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, where the audience was mostly white and the panel line-ups mostly white-dominated. This is not the only forum which has this whiteness association.

Why are we against all white panel line-ups and all- men panelists? It’s because most of the time, these panelists are not the thinkers of the society black women and feminists demand. Most times the white people and men represent their middle class selves. Their writing and research interests and such people have no linkage with grassroots resistance.  How do you expect conscious black women and feminists to listen to all white panelists when most of them are yet to acknowledge white racism and privilege?  And just how do you expect conscious black women to listen to an all men speaker panel when the mean just about always remember to include women, in just about one or two sentences.

It says a lot about your consciousness when your organization or forum, tertiary institution, government department, hosts a public discussion involving speakers and audience and the panelists are either all white or all men.

There are no acceptable excuses when this is done like ‘this was hurriedly put together’, ‘speakers/panelists weren’t available’, ‘we are not racist; we are not sexist’.

The era of hosting talks/seminars/discussion involving only white people as speakers and only men as panelists is long over. In fact it’s buried; should never be repeated.

So I’m calling out all those who host and organise such talks and forums. You must question your speaker and panelist line-up and representation. We are changing South Africa radically and only white and only men panelists are way past their sell by date.

I don’t want to waste my precious energy on calling out every panel when I come across them or see invitations demonstrating them. This bog is my opinion about such only white people and only men panel forums.

The same goes for discussions in the Cape Town and surrounding areas. How do you explain hosting a seminar series in Cape Town about women and feminism and not one of the speakers/discussants are ‘black African’.  I know that in such circumstances, people would not identify as being ‘coloured’, but as being black. Fair enough with your identity. But can we allow ‘coloured’ women to speak for all black women, especially in Cape Town?

Speakers and panelists must also not agree to be part of discussions/ presentations that have only white people on the panel or only men.

If you have a powerful, socially aware, strong, revolutionary consciousness, you would never agree to be part of such forums.

Down with representative forums of only men speakers and only white people panelists! Your time is up!

Down With ‘All Men’ And ‘All White’ Speaker Panels By Cheryl Roberts

9 Jun

Down With ‘All Men’ And ‘All White’ Speaker Panels By Cheryl Roberts.

Down With ‘All Men’ And ‘All White’ Speaker Panels By Cheryl Roberts

9 Jun

I’m so over speaker panel-line ups being about white people and men (of all colours).

It’s been some time now that I’ve been dissing all white and all men panels. Such panel line-ups appear at seminars, conferences, conversations which a critical thinking society like ours, hosts and engages participants with thought prowess of the panelists.

But really now. At this juncture of powerful, sharp, relevant thinkers being of all genders, sexualities and colours, how do organisers and hosts still manage to set up an all male panel or all white panel?

What makes such organizers/hosts still want to present panels of speakers whom are all men or all white? Is it because men and whites have more public profiles? Are the organisers not all too aware who the significant and relevant people are in our society?

There are far too many significant, interesting and pivotal women contributors, of all colours, in our South African society to fill up conference/seminar/conversation panels.

There’s been much opinion circulating about the whiteness of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, where the audience was mostly white and the panel line-ups mostly white-dominated. This is not the only forum which has this whiteness association.

Why are we against all white panel line-ups and all- men panelists? It’s because most of the time, these panelists are not the thinkers of the society black women and feminists demand. Most times the white people and men represent their middle class selves. Their writing and research interests and such people have no linkage with grassroots resistance.  How do you expect conscious black women and feminists to listen to all white panelists when most of them are yet to acknowledge white racism and privilege?  And just how do you expect conscious black women to listen to an all men speaker panel when the mean just about always remember to include women, in just about one or two sentences.

It says a lot about your consciousness when your organization or forum, tertiary institution, government department, hosts a public discussion involving speakers and audience and the panelists are either all white or all men.

There are no acceptable excuses when this is done like ‘this was hurriedly put together’, ‘speakers/panelists weren’t available’, ‘we are not racist; we are not sexist’.

The era of hosting talks/seminars/discussion involving only white people as speakers and only men as panelists is long over. In fact it’s buried; should never be repeated.

So I’m calling out all those who host and organise such talks and forums. You must question your speaker and panelist line-up and representation. We are changing South Africa radically and only white and only men panelists are way past their sell by date.

I don’t want to waste my precious energy on calling out every panel when I come across them or see invitations demonstrating them. This bog is my opinion about such only white people and only men panel forums.

The same goes for discussions in the Cape Town and surrounding areas. How do you explain hosting a seminar series in Cape Town about women and feminism and not one of the speakers/discussants are ‘black African’.  I know that in such circumstances, people would not identify as being ‘coloured’, but as being black. Fair enough with your identity. But can we allow ‘coloured’ women to speak for all black women, especially in Cape Town?

Speakers and panelists must also not agree to be part of discussions/ presentations that have only white people on the panel or only men.

If you have a powerful, socially aware, strong, revolutionary consciousness, you would never agree to be part of such forums.

Down with representative forums of only men speakers and only white people panelists! Your time is up!

 

Should Women In Sport Organise and Focus on Women’s Only Sports Federations? By Cheryl Roberts

8 Jun

IMG_8434IMG_8003Women get a raw deal in sport the world over because of their gender, especially with discrimination of sportswomen being widespread, across most sports. Operating in and trying to survive in male-dominated sports structures is the story of sportswomen and women officials in sport. If women are being getting a raw deal in male dominated sport whilst sportsmen are the highly favoured gender, is it not time for women to consider organising women in sport federations?

The debate hasn’t begun or been placed on sports agenda whether women should be organized in sport together with men in one sports federation or whether women should organise for women and girls in women’s only sports federations.

If ever you wanted to know should women go it alone or stay in sports federations for both women and men, the recent events in male-dominated and controlled FIFA reveal all the more why women in sport don’t need men controlling their sports involvement.

Despite protests and litigation action spearheaded by the world’s women players against playing the women’s world cup on artificial turf, the 2015 women’s world cup (currently underway in Canada) is being played on artificial turf. This wasn’t a women’s football decision; it was taken by male-dominated FIFA.

And then there’s the opinion of FIFA’s men, especially officials like Sepp Blatter, who think they can decide how women footballers should be attired on the playing field to attract more interests from fans and sponsors. This is women footballers playing football under the organization FIFA. But why are women’s interest and opinions not being taken into account? Why are men deciding how women footballers should fit into the global game of football?

The argument for women organizing women’s sport in separate women’s federations is that all the focus of organization would be on the girls and women; the gender which the federation is mandated to look after and be accountable to.

When women play sport in both genders/single sports federations, it’s always the women who get the crumbs of the budget, sponsorship, and media/publicity.

Look at the sports of rugby, cricket and football in South Africa where the playing membership is both women and men but all three sports are 90% male-dominated. The women want to play rugby, cricket and football but none of these sports have a professional league for the elite women players.

Participation of women in these sports is dependent on decision-making by male officials whose priority, although they don’t like to admit it publicly, is boys and men’s participation first and girls and women much later.

Officials of these sports are likely to react by saying ‘it’s not true they don’t prioritise girls and women’s participation in cricket, football and rugby’ by pointing out how women participate from club level and play internationally. Giving women’s participation in these male-dominated on men’s terms seems okay for the male officials.

How can we allow sports federations dominated and controlled by men to look after and protect women’s participation in sport?

Women in sport suffer because of their gender being marginalised, discriminated against, abused by male decision-makers, taken for granted and sportswomen treated as a group (like an age group) and not a gender like the male gender.

Get this! Men in sport are not feminists; there are some men in sport who have gender conscious minds. Most men in sport serve the interests of sportsmen and remember here and there to look after and develop, girls and women in sport.

No longer should women’s participation in sport through the sports pyramid rely on men officials to develop women in sport. Sportswomen demand no more discrimination in sport because of their gender. Women in sport are participating in sport with demand being nothing less than gender non-discrimination and gender equity.

I’m not saying that women should break away from sport and have no organizational networking with men. I’m saying that women focusing on women in sport should give more value to women’s participation in sport instead of women relying on men to decide their sports journey. I’m also not saying that women’s only sports federations would be a closed membership affair, open only to girls and women. Other genders are allowed but they muss note that organising women in sport is for women’s interests ONLY.

And who best to develop women in sport with priority being women in sport, than women themselves!

(This is an exploratory debate. This opinion and argument must be further developed further and be ongoing. I have started talking).