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?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: