Archive | October, 2016

Women In the Student March To Parliament A Photo Essay By Cheryl Roberts

27 Oct

Women have always been involved in resistance and liberation struggles in South Africa. In post-apartheid South Africa, some twenty years after freedom of apartheid, women’s voices have raged and a…

Source: Women In the Student March To Parliament A Photo Essay By Cheryl Roberts

Women In the Student March To Parliament A Photo Essay By Cheryl Roberts

27 Oct

africanwomanwarriorcherylroberts

img_9728 Student Power

img_9727 ‘Take Back The Night’, a woman’s demand, wasnt forgotten in the march. The activism also had its presence there

Women have always been involved in resistance and liberation struggles in South Africa. In post-apartheid South Africa, some twenty years after freedom of apartheid, women’s voices have raged and are still raging for the society women demand respectable and acceptable to women, on their terms.

During the critically awakening  student protests occurring throughout SA over the past 18 months, mostly young women students have ensured they are right there on the frontline of challenge and resistance.

They are there in the protest meetings, the night vigils, the de-colonisation, anti-rape and queer seminars and dialogues and they are there in the marches. Women have been arrested and detained and imprisoned; they have also been verbally, emotionally and sexually assaulted. But their resistance fervour hasn’t waned or died. They have grown…

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Women In the Student March To Parliament A Photo Essay By Cheryl Roberts

27 Oct
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Student Power

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‘Take Back The Night’, a woman’s demand, wasnt forgotten in the march. The activism also had its presence there

Women have always been involved in resistance and liberation struggles in South Africa. In post-apartheid South Africa, some twenty years after freedom of apartheid, women’s voices have raged and are still raging for the society women demand respectable and acceptable to women, on their terms.

During the critically awakening  student protests occurring throughout SA over the past 18 months, mostly young women students have ensured they are right there on the frontline of challenge and resistance.

They are there in the protest meetings, the night vigils, the de-colonisation, anti-rape and queer seminars and dialogues and they are there in the marches. Women have been arrested and detained and imprisoned; they have also been verbally, emotionally and sexually assaulted. But their resistance fervour hasn’t waned or died. They have grown stronger and fiercer.

On Wednesday, 26 October 2016 women were out in their thousands, mostly students and many social justice activists supporting the student march to parliament. This photo essay gives some insight, thru my black woman’s lens, to the women’s presence in the march.

They slayed. They styled. They were active on social media, giving on the spot accounts of their participation in the march They sang protest songs and carried their messages high above their heads. They represented various political affiliations and social; justice movements. They interacted with protestors and shared sisterhood. They were at the gates of parliament, demanding to be seen and heard. They were non-violent. They showed fearlessness as the police showed up with their weapons. They were bonded in their togetherness for students. And yes, they ran from the brutalisation of the police shootings.

 

My lens saw much of this…….

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An older woman ally was on the street, greeting the students as they came marching up Roeland Street

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Lady in red was sparkling in her red political affiliation

 

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50 year old Lillian was very happy being an ally, supporting the students

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Dean Hutton had a phenomenal presence, saying ‘black lives matter’, ‘decolonially queer’ and ‘fuck @#$%’

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Anti-apartheid generational activists were not being left out of this march. Its for their children

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Capturing the moments thru a black woman’s lens

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Slaying…….

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Social justice activist Lucinda was determined to be with the, students for the students

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These students know their demands…..

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UWC school of public health was proudly in the march

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Styling fabulously; marching confidently

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Needed a little help and a push with the wheelchair and she was in the march

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Right2Know’s Busi was there as an ally

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Thumi, a mother of a toddler and herself a post-grad student and researcher got a seat on the street, under the hot African sun

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Checking the social media information; making sure she’s in touch

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1980’s anti-apartheid activist Judith Kennedy was giving her support

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She votes ANC but she is challenging the ANC national government

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She believes in free education; was in the march to support this demand

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‘You’ve Failed Us’…….

(Text, photographs and captions by @Cheryl Roberts)

 

The Enigma That Is South Africa’s Women’s Cricket Team By Cheryl Roberts

26 Oct

I’m convinced the South Africa’s women’s cricket team is an enigma. For many years I’ve been watching and supporting this team at live international matches in SA; most times I’ve been one of a handful of spectators and media at these matches.

And I just can’t understand why so few people support the national women’s cricket field at the ground, despite millions of people of all genders supporting cricket. How this is possible in a cricket playing country where many international matches get ‘sold out’ signs days before the match ball is bowled, just baffles me and makes me search for answers.

Girls and women do play cricket in South Africa. A national women’s team does play international cricket, representing South Africa in official colours. SA has participated in much international competitions at home and outside the country and women’s cricket world cups. The team is made up of teenage girls and young women of all colours from throughout South Africa.

So, if women support and like cricket so much, why don’t they support the national women’s cricket team? One of the reasons given is that people don’t know when the national team is playing. Ask someone in communications at Cricket South Africa and the reply is something like ‘but we are promoting women’s cricket, we do advertise the matches’. Come the international matches at home, on South Africa’s picturesque cricket grounds and all you get is a handful of spectators. Until the last international between South Africa and New Zealand was played in Paarl on Monday, this has been consistent spectator response over the years.

Besides the ground staff, team management and cricket officials, it’s mostly the families and friends of the players attending the internationals and provincial matches. And then there’s me; sometimes at the ground to watch the women’s game and do some media documentation.

I recall a few years ago, I was at Newlands cricket ground in Cape Town where SA was laying West Indies women. I had gone to the match with a friend; this being her first time to watch women’s cricket. There were hardly any spectators; just the ground staff again and a few others. My friend and I were some of the few people there. And then the West Indies number 3 batswoman decides to hit a six. She has the whole park to hit the ball for a six, there are very few people at the ground but she chooses to hit the cricket ball in the direction of where friend and I were seated on the grass. The ball grazed my friend’s ear and missed my face. Wow, I thought, of all the places she could have hit, the ball struck in our direction. We didn’t even catch the six; we were really shocked, though at this powerful hit.

And then there’s the enigma of the women’s cricket team itself. In my opinion, South Africa’s women’s cricket team is the most representative in sport. It has players of all colours. I’ve noticed they are a team mostly of ponytail hair, with some short natural hair and dreads. They are also not all heterosexual and feminine. In the current team amongst the player, some queer relationships exist within the team.

Surprisingly it’s an all male management of the national women’s cricket team, from the coach to the selectors, including the physiotherapist. Apparently, that’s how the women cricketers want it. They don’t want women coaches and management. Really? This is hard to believe, I think. We fight for women to have recognition and opportunities in sport and the women players don’t women coaches and management? I hear that some of the senior players in the team spoke to CSA player manager, Corrie van Zyl and told him their feelings of preferred male management instead of women.

A change of captain occurred after the women’s world cup, this year. Dane van Niekerk is the new captain. Apparently this change was necessitated because of something to do with ‘player domination over other players’. I mean this is an all women’s team, so why is there player domination?

And then you hear about two players facing a disciplinary hearing; the two players being the black women players in the team. So now I ask why national sportswomen are being disciplined in a sport that’s unlikely to show up unruly behaviour? Surely the women cricketers are better behaved than their male counterparts and rarely attract misbehaviour? Turns out, these women have brought it upon themselves with their behaviour involving their romantic relationship and, and after several warnings, will face the wrath of suspension.

Here is a national sports team that has all the ticks to say it’s a model sport of those believing in ‘rainbow’ South Africa. It’s a women’s sport. Varying sexualities and identities are reflected in women’s cricket. Yet women’s cricket has, at the time of writing this, an all-male management team; this being deemed necessary by senior women players in the team. And the team gets very few supporters and fans at the ground to see them play internationals. I’ve come to the realisation that South African women’s cricket is an enigma.

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South African women cricketers. (photograph by Cheryl Roberts)

Wanted Urgently: An Objective, Unbiased Coach For Banyana Banyana By Cheryl Roberts

11 Oct

South Africa’s women’s football team will be participating in the 2016 edition of the African Women’s Championship (AWC), to be hosted by Cameroon. The draw for the elite continental women’s event, featuring eight qualifying countries including hosts Cameroon, has already been done. Banyana Banyana knows their opponents and who they must beat to win the championship. But Banyana Banyana is without a head coach and assistants. And everyone associated with women’s football in South Africa is keenly awaiting the selection of the next Banyana Banyana head coach.

Why is SAFA taking so long to appoint a head coach when the priority of selection and training a national women’s team should have started not only yesterday but the day before?

It appears that the national coaches are under consideration but consensus on who should be appointed can’t be reached. This is because there are two opposing camps of support for women’s football within SAFA. One camp, led by veteran and what I refer to as the cabal controlling women’s football in SAFA, is Fran Hilton-Smith. This camp wants Desiree Ellis, the former assistant coach to head coach, Vera Pauw to be appointed Banyana head coach.

The other camp, led by SAFA’s women’s football co-ordinator, Nomsa Mahlangu believes the head coach should go to Thinasonke Mbuli, head coach of SA tertiary sport women’s football team with her assistant being waiting-in-the-wings- for a national coaching position, Maud Khumalo.

Outside of women’s football, I have been writing about what I perceive as a cabal of a few women controlling women’s football. This cabal appoints their friends and those in their camp as coaches and selectors and they favour player selection from Gauteng-based football teams. Coaches of women football teams and Sasol League players have had enough of the manner in which Banyana selections and call-ups are done. Coaches who best know the players are never consulted; one selector decides who shall be called up from a province without consultation and in the case. Women footballers want a chance to be selected, to be noticed and they’ve had enough of biased selections and the ‘wrong’ players being selected to play for Banyana Banyana.

If anything, the first demand of the Banyana Banyana head coach is for a woman football coach. Together with this appointment should be a coach who is not into favouritism, a coach who will place the national team as priority, ahead of regional and team favourites. The Banyana Banyana head coach must understand that women’s football is played throughout South Africa, not only in Gauteng! She must have assistant selectors around the country ands she must liase with team coaches, asking them to inform her about player’s form and prowess.

We want a national team out of South Africa, not a national women’s football predominantly out of Gauteng.

Begin to develop a team with the future as the objective; this means select the young, emerging internationals, together with some experienced players. There is no sense in playing a team of veteran, highly capped players who can’t score goals and can’t win. Banyana Banyana’s priority goals are qualification for the 2019 women’s world cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Discard players who can’t take the team forward and bring in the talents of younger players.

From the outside, my view is that the Banyana Banyana head coach should go to a woman coach. That coach should be Thinasonke Mbuli, head coach of the tertiary sport women’s football team, with her assistants being Marion February and Maud Khumalo. I’m recommending CAF A license coach, February because she’s not attached to any women’s football team, has been a highly successful Western Cape u19 coach and Khumalo is also a CAF A license coach who should be given a national coaching position. All three women haven’t been associated with the ‘Vera Pauw coaching era’ so Pauw’s coaching stint will have nothing on them. These women coaches will start off on a new footing, young coach Thinasonke Mbuli will be fresh, alert energetic, keen to prove her worth.

Give these three women coaches the opportunity and confidence to coach Banyana Banyana, give them a supportive and enabling environment to work in and hopefully excel.

To achieve winning results, Banyana Banyana has got to play much more internationals against higher ranking teams. In the absence of a national professional league for women’s football, how about Banyana players being nationally contracted for a year and several training camps out of South Africa being undertaken, together with many friendly internationals?

SAFA’s technical committee must not be moved by favouritism or motives from the cabal that controls women’s football in South Africa. Break the cabal’s influence on women’s influence. Look at how national coaches and selectors have performed with the u17 and u20 women’s teams; both teams didn’t qualify for their respective world cups.

The women football coaches are there! Appoint them and support them. And stamp out favouritism in team and player selection. South Africa has talented women footballers throughout the country. Look at the players and put together the best Banyana Banyana team.

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photograph by Cheryl Roberts

Wanted Urgently: An Objective, Unbiased Coach For Banyana Banyana By Cheryl Roberts

11 Oct

South Africa’s women’s football team will be participating in the 2016 edition of the African Women’s Championship (AWC), to be hosted by Cameroon. The draw for the elite continental women’s event, featuring eight qualifying countries including hosts Cameroon, has already been done. Banyana Banyana knows their opponents and who they must beat to win the championship. But Banyana Banyana is without a head coach and assistants. And everyone associated with women’s football in South Africa is keenly awaiting the selection of the next Banyana Banyana head coach.

Why is SAFA taking so long to appoint a head coach when the priority of selection and training a national women’s team should have started not only yesterday but the day before?

It appears that the national coaches are under consideration but consensus on who should be appointed can’t be reached. This is because there are two opposing camps of support for women’s football within SAFA. One camp, led by veteran and what I refer to as the cabal controlling women’s football in SAFA, is Fran Hilton-Smith. This camp wants Desiree Ellis, the former assistant coach to head coach, Vera Pauw to be appointed Banyana head coach.

The other camp, led by SAFA’s women’s football co-ordinator, Nomsa Mahlangu believes the head coach should go to Thinasonke Mbuli, head coach of SA tertiary sport women’s football team with her assistant being waiting-in-the-wings- for a national coaching position, Maud Khumalo.

Outside of women’s football, I have been writing about what I perceive as a cabal of a few women controlling women’s football. This cabal appoints their friends and those in their camp as coaches and selectors and they favour player selection from Gauteng-based football teams. Coaches of women football teams and Sasol League players have had enough of the manner in which Banyana selections and call-ups are done. Coaches who best know the players are never consulted; one selector decides who shall be called up from a province without consultation and in the case. Women footballers want a chance to be selected, to be noticed and they’ve had enough of biased selections and the ‘wrong’ players being selected to play for Banyana Banyana.

If anything, the first demand of the Banyana Banyana head coach is for a woman football coach. Together with this appointment should be a coach who is not into favouritism, a coach who will place the national team as priority, ahead of regional and team favourites. The Banyana Banyana head coach must understand that women’s football is played throughout South Africa, not only in Gauteng! She must have assistant selectors around the country ands she must liase with team coaches, asking them to inform her about player’s form and prowess.

We want a national team out of South Africa, not a national women’s football predominantly out of Gauteng.

Begin to develop a team with the future as the objective; this means select the young, emerging internationals, together with some experienced players. There is no sense in playing a team of veteran, highly capped players who can’t score goals and can’t win. Banyana Banyana’s priority goals are qualification for the 2019 women’s world cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Discard players who can’t take the team forward and bring in the talents of younger players.

From the outside, my view is that the Banyana Banyana head coach should go to a woman coach. That coach should be Thinasonke Mbuli, head coach of the tertiary sport women’s football team, with her assistants being Marion February and Maud Khumalo. I’m recommending CAF A license coach, February because she’s not attached to any women’s football team, has been a highly successful Western Cape u19 coach and Khumalo is also a CAF A license coach who should be given a national coaching position. All three women haven’t been associated with the ‘Vera Pauw coaching era’ so Pauw’s coaching stint will have nothing on them. These women coaches will start off on a new footing, young coach Thinasonke Mbuli will be fresh, alert energetic, keen to prove her worth.

Give these three women coaches the opportunity and confidence to coach Banyana Banyana, give them a supportive and enabling environment to work in and hopefully excel.

To achieve winning results, Banyana Banyana has got to play much more internationals against higher ranking teams. In the absence of a national professional league for women’s football, how about Banyana players being nationally contracted for a year and several training camps out of South Africa being undertaken, together with many friendly internationals?

SAFA’s technical committee must not be moved by favouritism or motives from the cabal that controls women’s football in South Africa. Break the cabal’s influence on women’s influence. Look at how national coaches and selectors have performed with the u17 and u20 women’s teams; both teams didn’t qualify for their respective world cups.

The women football coaches are there! Appoint them and support them. And stamp out favouritism in team and player selection. South Africa has talented women footballers throughout the country. Look at the players and put together the best Banyana Banyana team.

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photograph by Cheryl Roberts

Support Women Coaches In South African Sport! By Cheryl Roberts

3 Oct

South African sport has gender imbalances across the sports paradigm, especially in coaching. Women coaches exist in sport but the numbers are small. Women coaches can be found at grassroots, club and provincial levels of sport with fewer women occupying national coaching positions. It’s always been about the prowess and talent of male sports coaches.

Male coaches are found in most sports, as head coach of the national team such as women’s cricket, women’s rugby, women’s basketball, women’s hockey. Women coaches have occupied head coach status of international women’s teams such as football and netball with football appointing a foreign woman coach as its first head coach and netball being coached sometimes by South African women coaches and sometimes by foreign women coaches.

But there exists a dearth of what is termed ‘qualified’ women coaches with women lacking in appointments because they don’t have the ‘certificates and qualifications’. Most sports federations offer coaching certification, especially at Level 1 and level 2 stages and some women do attend these courses. But it’s the elite stage of coaching which women seem to miss out on while men get to attend these courses.

It’s always about money and time. In an unequal society such as South Africa, the constraints of money and payment will always be there. And because they are women, the challenge of having the time, is another constraint. It’s also the black women who are not seen as coaches and being given the chance to be appointed as a provincial and national coach.

The world and Olympic success of Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk’s woman coach Anna Botha has not only spotlighted the coaching prowess of women coaches but has forced us to ask ‘where are South Africa’s women coaches’?. Just where are the women coaches at elite coaches and where are international black women coaches, almost non-existent? Is it because black women coaches are not being supported to be coaches? Is it because there’s no belief in black women as coaches?

Those in charge of sport in SA, such as SASCOC and Sport and Recreation South Africa have got to invest in and support women in coaching. Some of the more advanced levels of coaching courses cost money and are expensive. How about a women coaches scholarship fund being set up? This should go a long way in encouraging more women coaches and assisting women to become qualified and know the tools of their trade.

A much more encouraging environment must also be enabled, one that will allow for women to believe in themselves as coaches at all levels of sport and to grow in confidence. Successful Olympic coach Anna Botha has done it all and proven that women can coach in sport and achieve the best sports results as women coaches.

South Africa’s sports network and sports pyramid is so male-dominated and male-controlled that women are left out of the coaching framework with positions given to men, even when the sport is played by women.

We have to break this system, this framework which deprives women of coaching positions, this thinking which sees women as being less able to coach than men, and the money deprivation which prohibits black women from attending expensive advanced coaching courses. And why should South African sport be ryling on foreign women coaches? Why have we not developed elite women coaches in SA?

When I question the absence and invisibility of black women questions, don’t question this and answer by saying ‘all women coaches’. I refer specifically to black women because they are the most neglected, challenged, discriminated against, and left out and deprived in the coaching framework.

Where are the black women coaches in senior netball, senior athletics and the black African women coaches in football? Why are they missing? Most senior internationals

Quit sport altogether after retiring from competitive sport. Just a handful stay in the game as club coaches. Why is this? Most senior internationals don’t see themselves having a future as coaches because the belief in women coaches is missing, because the sportswomen don’t think they can also be a woman coach.

An increasing number of women have attended the basic or entry level of SAFA’s football coaching course but most of the women then discover they don’t have the money to go onto the next levels.

Women do a lot for sport in South Africa. They contribute as sports fans, as partners, as mothers, as consumers, as volunteer officials and as athletes. Sport’s governing bodies can do much more for women in sport and support women coaches because having just men coaching girls sports teams and girl athletes is not healthy or progressive. Girls in sport must know that women can and do coach. Thy must see the woman coach in action, coaching girls and women in sport.

Money should not prohibit and constrain women should they want to be coaches. Sport needs women coaches and women must be supported and encouraged to achieve the highest coaching qualifications and be given the opportunity to coach.wayde-and-tannie-ans-botha