Archive | November, 2017

Celebrating South Africa’s Sportswomen By Cheryl Roberts

29 Nov

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

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

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

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


2017 (South African) Women In Sport Awards


Presented By ‘South African SportsWoman’ Publication


Coach of the Year


Jenny van Dyk (Netball)

Thinasonke Mbuli (women’s football)

Karin le Roux (para athletics)


SportsWoman of the Year


Caster Semenya (athletics)

Noni Tenga (boxing)

Kirsty McCann (rowing)

Phumza Maweni (netball)

Dane van Niekerk (cricket)


Significant/Pivotal Contribution To SA Sport


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


Kass Naidoo (founding member and host of gsport4girls Awards)



Cynthia Tshaka (pioneering woman sport broadcaster)


Ilhaam Groenewald (volleyball and student sport official


Thelma Achilles (softball and school sport volunteer administrator)


Nadeema Levy (touch rugby volunteer development administrator)



Future Coaches Emerging


Dumisani Chauke (netball)

Zanele Mdodana (netball)


Disabled Sportswoman of the Year

Zanele Situ

Ilse Hayes


My Photographic Moment of the Year

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


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

23 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 Nov

Why Have Black Leaders Succumbed To Trappings Of Elite Sport?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8cheryl roberts  in the rain forest in ghana

Cheryl Roberts (writer of the blog)

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

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

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

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


Inaugural (2017) Western Cape Women’s Football Awards (Presented by Western Cape Sport Publication)By Cheryl Roberts

8 Nov

The women’s football season of 2017 in the Western Cape, has wrapped. League winners, cup champions, LFA champions, regional league winners and promoted teams are known. Some teams are champions, some teams improved their league positions and some teams had a disappointing season. But all would have enjoyed participating in another season of the beautiful game.

I documented, watched and gave much opinion about women’s football being played in the Western Cape, this year. I admire and respect the volunteer officials and coaches who keep the women’s football clubs and teams going throughout the season with many volunteers using their personal money and time to develop girls and women in football.

Many women footballers struggled to attend training because of work commitments and girls and women footballers in gangster-hit areas battled to get to the football field and practise when gang violence dominated their hoods. But they turned up at weekend to play the beautiful game, the sport that makes them happy.

There’s much football talent emerging at junior girl level and young women level. Some Western Cape players are getting national selection for youth and senior teams but talent is also being ignored at national level for international representation.

One of the negatives of the season was the non-payment of Sasol League grants when the season kicked off. Despite clubs being told they would receive their grants early in the season, this didn’t happen. Disgustingly, the first grants were only received in August, months after several rounds of matches leaving the mostly volunteer coaches with the burden of carrying team transport costs. Big up to all the clubs and volunteers who managed to get through the season, despite this financial setback.

This year was one of the toughest and most competitive in the regional leagues of the Western Cape and Sasol League.

Some amazing goals were scored, closely contested matches won and lost.


This is my Western Cape women’s football awards list for 2017, presented by my publication ‘Western Cape Sport’ and viewed through my football lens.


Western Cape Women’s Football Awards

Player of the Year (Western Cape women’s football)

Ode Fulutudilu (Cape Town Roses)

Top (Western Cape) Senior International Footballer of the Year

Thembi Kgatlana (UWC)

Top (Western Cape) Youth International Footballer of the Year

Lelona Daweti (Cape Town Roses)

Team of the Year

Cape Town Roses

#Coke Cup Champions

#Sasol League Champions

Coach of the Year

Coach Madikane (Cape Town Roses)

 Regional Team Of the Year

University Of Cape Town

 Under 20 Player of the Year

Lelona Daweti (Cape Town Roses)

 Under 17 Player of the Year

Noxolo and Sinoxolo Cesane (Cape Town Roses)

 Under 15 Player of the Year

Chelsea Daniels (UWC)

Under 13 Player of the Year

Litemba (Cape Town Roses)

Legendary Involvement In Women’s Football

Jeffrey Qhuma (Winnies football club)

 Best Improved Teams

Vasco and Burnley (Sasol League)

 Phenomenal Comebacks/Wins

Burnley v Cape Town Roses (Coke Cup)

Santos v Cape Town Roses (Sasol League, first round)

UWC v Cape Town Roses (Sasol League, second round)

 Amazing Moment

13 year old Litemba coming on in the first round league match Cape Town Roses v UWC and scoring the equalising goal for Cape Town Roses with two touches of the ball

 Schoolgirl Player of the Year

Sisanda Vukapi (Cape Town Roses)

Fair Play of the Year

Dangerous Heroes and Manenberg

 Youth Coach of the Year

Priscee (Cape Town Roses)

Celeste (Manenberg)

Top Team Management

University of the Western Cape

Negative Moment of the Year

Sasol League clubs receiving their grants only after the first round of league

Injustice of the Year

Western Cape under 20 players Sisanda and Kanyisa (both of Cape Town Roses) and Faadiyah (Manenberg) not getting a call up to the national u20 training camp

Burnley not receiving any grant money at all throughout the league season

My memorable moments documenting women’s football in the Western Cape in 2017

Football mothers with  children

13 year old girl footballers of Cape Town Roses

And so ends another season of the beautiful game for girls and women footballers in the Western Cape. University of Cape Town women’s football team will play in the 2018 Sasol League and cape Town Roses will represent the Western Cape at the national play-offs in December. The 2018 season is going to be much more competitive than 2017. Whatever didn’t work out for your team this year, use the knowledge, experience and information to empower your presence in the game. Enter the 2018 season with ambition and pride.


Cape Town Roses WFC Western Cape Women’s Football ‘Team of the Year’ (pic by cheryl roberts)


Whiteness And White Privilege Dominates South African Women’s Hockey By Cheryl Roberts

1 Nov

IMG_9682‘SA’s Black woman international hockey player Sanani Mangisa has hit out at few black women players in SA women’s hockey team; calls out slow ‘transformation, few blacks in SA women’s hockey teams’

The disruption of whiteness, white control and white privilege that embraces women’s hockey in South Africa is rightfully and justifiably being challenged. For over two decades of democratic sport in SA, hockey has existed largely for opportunities for white girls and women hockey players, coaches, selectors and administrators.

I’ve long time been calling out this white domination of women’s hockey in South Africa. I go to international matches featuring South Africa and I see it. Media publicity of women’s hockey teams and players also reveal how white players control the team make-ups.

Now black women players have had enough. They can’t take it anymore and are calling out the marginalisation, invisibility and absence of Black African women players in girls and women’s hockey.

Over the years, hockey in SA has become a class and colour-based sport with hockey being almost non-existent in working class schools and disadvantaged communities. The sport relies largely on its player supply from suburban, elite and well-resourced schools in SA dominated by white learners; all the schools that refuse to play football, SA’s national sport. Girls from township and working class schools that can’t afford the plush astro turfs to play on, don’t have much of a chance to be recognised nor selected. Even when their talent is noticeable, the working class girls miss out because of white hockey girl preference.

SA’s national and provincial girls and women’s hockey teams are largely white representative with a few coloured and Black African players in some teams. And the players who are not white deservedly make the provincial and national teams on ability. Yet women’s hockey seemingly has a quota of not more than five players who are not white; this includes the Black players who are there on hockey prowess/ability.

Look at SA girls and women’s hockey teams for continental and global events and international friendlies. They are mostly about white girls and women opportunity. And where are the Black African players?

There’s no doubt that SA women’s hockey gives preference to whiteness. That is colour prejudice in South Africa! The national field and indoor women’s hockey and girls teams are seemingly dominant about ‘whiteness first’.

Now black African women’s hockey international Sanani Mangisa has called out non-representation of black players in SA women’s hockey’s elite tournaments and teams.

On the eve of the draft of the sport’s Premier Hockey League (PHL) in SA, Sanani Mangisa has released a social media statement revealing why she has decided not to ‘attend the PHL draft’. As she outlines arriving at her decision, she states that because black players get so few opportunities in womens’ hockey, she has decided not to be selected but rather to hopefully give a  chance to another young black player.

This is part of Sanani Mangisa’s social media statement: “Transformation numbers within hockey are not great. The reports detail this. If I play, I am again taking the opportunity that could be given to a young black girl. Unfortunately hockey has always felt like 1 (one) black in for another and transformation targets are just met not exceeded.

Do I want to play this year? – Yes. But let’s make the circle bigger. It is only fair we give the opportunity to other young black kids”.

This is not only heartbreaking but damn unjust! Here is a black woman international prepared to give up her team selection so hopefully another young black woman can get an opportunity. She’s doing this because SA women’s hockey has preferred and opted to look after white girls and women with little attention and support given to black girls and young women.

Officialdom of SA women’s hockey must justify why they allow and support domination by white girls and women of SA’s provincial and national hockey teams. How does SA women’s hockey intend eliminating this white control from the sport? Why is hockey concentrated in suburban, middle class and wealthy schools and clubs?

SA women’s hockey must immediately stop with selecting no more than five black players! Why not make that only five white players so whiteness and white privilege know how unjust and privileged they have been in SA women’s hockey in South Africa, how the sport has discriminated against black players and protected white players?