Archive | May, 2018

Where Are Cape Town’s Social Justice Activists When Working Class people Are Protesting? By Cheryl Roberts

30 May

Cape Town’s working class people, mostly unemployed, struggling to survive people, who live in the under-resourced, marginalised, neglected communities are protesting. Also protesting are people living in their historical communities experiencing vicious gentrification and white privilege take over, like the Bo Kaap.

The people are angry about their struggling lives whilst they live in the rich, prosperous city of Cape Town. They have had enough of being neglected by successive city and provincial administrations, of being unemployed because of neo – liberalism in South Africa’s capitalist society. They also know they now have nothing any more to lose, except their chains of struggle, unemployment and poverty.

Cape Town has activists galore. They exist on social media, in academic institutions, at parliament, in government departments, working in NGO’s and in the suburbs. But where are these social justice activists who always commentate and give opinions on social media and commercial media, in their political organisations, NGO’s and suburban homes, when the working class is protesting against their struggling lives and state of impoverished living?

Why are these social justice activists missing from the terrains of working class protest action? Are they too busy still talking about and theorising and writing about how ‘the revolution should be supported and started’.

Get this! The working class revolution is here and now and happening. The very working class whom you write about and commentate on and give your opinions about caring for and supporting is protesting. They are not waiting for some suburban resident, liberal activist, middle class person, elite citizen, theory-filled academic to lead them and say when they must protest. Whilst you earn your middle class salary, live in suburban homes, eat out at restaurants and profess about social justice, the struggling and gatvol working class have their bodies on the front line of protest action.

When the people are protesting, getting hit and arrested by police, Cape Town’s social justice activists are seemingly ‘getting on with their lives.’ Yes, there are some who are supporting working class protests, out there with the people. But where are the rest of you? Using up space writing, commentating and observing from your comfortable positions, are you?

8cheryl roberts  in the rain forest in ghana

Cheryl Roberts (writer of the blog)

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South African Sportswoman, You’re On Your Own By Cheryl Roberts

30 May

It was black consciousness thinker and writer Steve Biko who said ‘Black man you on your own’ in response to the oppression of black people (not only black men) in South Africa. Today I’m saying and writing ‘South African sportswoman, You On Your Own’.

Don’t disagree with me when I say South Africa’s sports network is littered with gender inequalities. Who is speaking up and calling out this gender discrimination that exists across the sports paradigm, across all sports?

To date, there exists no organised voice within South African sport challenging the horrendous unequal deal given to women in sport, the handouts they receive here and there, now and again from ‘tight budgets’, the unequal ‘pay’ they have to humbly accept.

Most women in sport and sportswomen in South Africa are aware of their ‘inferior to men’ status, ‘secondary position, under the sportsmen’; this given to them by the male hegemonic control of sport. Some women in sport do talk out about male domination of sport sometimes, here and there and individually or personally but not as a power group confronting gender discrimination and inequalities.

And of course, given their power accorded and invested in themselves to continue their domination of the sports network and decision-making processes affecting women in sport, men in sport continue to advance men in sport and give a little here and there to women in sport.

So who is calling out gender discrimination in SA sport and spearheading the advancement of women and girls in sport? It’s not an organised voice, that’s men-led! So who are the women in sport relying on and waiting for to speak on their behalf? Surely they can’t be waiting for men players and men officials to do this?

Let’s take something out of Steve Biko’s thinking! Steve Biko advanced thoughts that said white people as the oppressor could not liberate black people, the oppressed. This liberation had to be led by and spearheaded by the oppressed themselves and that was the black oppressed.

In sport, too sportswomen are discriminated against because of their gender and also because of their sexuality, class and colour. It’s the sportswomen who must liberate women in sport!

Very few men in sport speak out about the shabby handouts given to sportswomen in SA sport. They also don’t challenge their patriarchal domination of the SA sports network. And they just don’t speak out against abuse, rape, assault of women by men in sport. Some men publicly give their viewpoints like former international cricketer Boeta Dippenaar who recently wrote about how he thinks women cricketers just don’t have the same commercial appeal as men cricketers for them to be given equal pay to men cricketers as being proposed by Cricket South Africa. This male cricketer isn’t the only man who thinks like this. Most of them in media, marketing, sports events, sponsorship also do have this thinking.

Women in sport have got to shift gears, ignite their consciousness, embrace activism and fight head on this male control of sport that binds women in sport to decisions made by men on behalf of women in sport.

In most sports, the sportswomen are demanding national pro leagues for women, more international participation, increased funding for women in sport, more women officials and coaches. And all sports respond about there being no money and no budget to do all this for the women in sport. But there’s always money for the sportsmen, especially in the corporate sports such as rugby, football, cricket, golf.

Women in sport in South Africa must not think they don’t have a voice. They can speak out and challenge! If they wait and wait on men officials to decide how to develop women in sport, then they are going to have to wait very, very long because men officials in SA sport are not feminists, nor gender activists. They are proponents of preserving male hegemony in sport and this doesn’t include giving power to sportswomen and women in sport.

South African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - CopyDo you see why I say South African sportswomen, you are on your own?

 

South African Sportswoman, You’re On Your Own By Cheryl Roberts

30 May

It was black consciousness thinker and writer Steve Biko who said ‘Black man you on your own’ in response to the oppression of black people (not only black men) in South Africa. Today I’m saying and writing ‘South African sportswoman, You On Your Own’.

Don’t disagree with me when I say South Africa’s sports network is littered with gender inequalities. Who is speaking up and calling out this gender discrimination that exists across the sports paradigm, across all sports?

To date, there exists no organised voice within South African sport challenging the horrendous unequal deal given to women in sport, the handouts they receive here and there, now and again from ‘tight budgets’, the unequal ‘pay’ they have to humbly accept.

Most women in sport and sportswomen in South Africa are aware of their ‘inferior to men’ status, ‘secondary position, under the sportsmen’; this given to them by the male hegemonic control of sport. Some women in sport do talk out about male domination of sport sometimes, here and there and individually or personally but not as a power group confronting gender discrimination and inequalities.

And of course, given their power accorded and invested in themselves to continue their domination of the sports network and decision-making processes affecting women in sport, men in sport continue to advance men in sport and give a little here and there to women in sport.

So who is calling out gender discrimination in SA sport and spearheading the advancement of women and girls in sport? It’s not an organised voice, that’s men-led! So who are the women in sport relying on and waiting for to speak on their behalf? Surely they can’t be waiting for men players and men officials to do this?

Let’s take something out of Steve Biko’s thinking! Steve Biko advanced thoughts that said white people as the oppressor could not liberate black people, the oppressed. This liberation had to be led by and spearheaded by the oppressed themselves and that was the black oppressed.

In sport, too sportswomen are discriminated against because of their gender and also because of their sexuality, class and colour. It’s the sportswomen who must liberate women in sport!

Very few men in sport speak out about the shabby handouts given to sportswomen in SA sport. They also don’t challenge their patriarchal domination of the SA sports network. And they just don’t speak out against abuse, rape, assault of women by men in sport. Some men publicly give their viewpoints like former international cricketer Boeta Dippenaar who recently wrote about how he thinks women cricketers just don’t have the same commercial appeal as men cricketers for them to be given equal pay to men cricketers as being proposed by Cricket South Africa. This male cricketer isn’t the only man who thinks like this. Most of them in media, marketing, sports events, sponsorship also do have this thinking.

Women in sport have got to shift gears, ignite their consciousness, embrace activism and fight head on this male control of sport that binds women in sport to decisions made by men on behalf of women in sport.

In most sports, the sportswomen are demanding national pro leagues for women, more international participation, increased funding for women in sport, more women officials and coaches. And all sports respond about there being no money and no budget to do all this for the women in sport. But there’s always money for the sportsmen, especially in the corporate sports such as rugby, football, cricket, golf.

Women in sport in South Africa must not think they don’t have a voice. They can speak out and challenge! If they wait and wait on men officials to decide how to develop women in sport, then they are going to have to wait very, very long because men officials in SA sport are not feminists, nor gender activists. They are proponents of preserving male hegemony in sport and this doesn’t include giving power to sportswomen and women in sport.

Do you see why I say South African sportswomen, you are on your own?

South African Sports Woman . Published by Cheryl Roberts. Published in May 2017. Published in Cape Town in South Africa - Copy

South Africa’s International Girl Footballer Relies On Food At School Feeding By Cheryl Roberts

24 May

I’ve written about it and mentioned often on social media about the struggles of South Africa’s black and working class girls in sport; their battle against the odds to participate in sport, enjoy sport and achieve. In our South African society of unemployment and inequalities, their struggles are real and exist. In almost all sports in South Africa there will be black and working class girls struggling to get money for transport to training and matches, to get playing shoes and pay registration fees.

Today and for many days, weeks and months, in a working class neighbourhood in Cape Town, a teenage schoolgirl footballer walks out of her humble home, at about 7 in the morning, on her way to school knowing that she will not only learn new information but also get some food to eat. That’s because 16 year old girl footballer Mische Minnies has parents who are both unemployed, no life savings to rely on and no income to buy food and sustain the family daily. They rely on handouts and help received sometimes and randomly from friends and people aware of their family situation.

Mische is at a high school in Mitchells Plain in Cape Town. She plays for a women’s football team where the coach has helped and does sometime help with some food and groceries to ensure the unemployed family gets by. Mische is a talented girl footballer. Last year, she got selected to play for South Africa’s under 17 girls football team and helped the SA u17 team qualify for the girls football world cup. She scored goals for South Africa, with football management seemingly unaware how she struggles to get food daily when she’s not at a national football camp.

For over a year, Mische’s mother and father are just unable to clinch employment that will bring in some money and help them survive in this harsh neo liberal South African society that batters working class people much more than it supports them. The electricity at their rented family home is off because they need money to buy prepaid electricity.

I spoke to Mische’s father today, asked how it was going and he said: ‘I’m out here in the rain in Mitchells Plain, picking up plastic bottles and selling them to try get some money for food today.’ And Mische, I enquired about? He tells me: ‘Mische went to school where she will get some food today because they feed them at school’.

I ask about Mische’s football training and he says: ‘Mische goes to training but I spoke to the club to let her come to training once a week because of transports costs. The club does give Mische some transport money but on the really hard days, Mische tries to help us with some food money and gives us her transport money some days and then she misses training that day.’

Such is her football talent that Mische was selected to attend SAFA’s high performance girl football school in Gauteng where the girl’s living and educational expenses are taken care of by SAFA. ‘Mische’s mother and I were very happy when Mische got selected to go to high performance. It meant she would be looked after nicely because we been struggling for long and Mische been going without food sometimes for long now,’ said Mr Minnies, himself an avid football supporter and volunteer  grassroots coach and administrator.

Six months after being at SAFA’s high performance centre, Mr Minnies got the shock phone call from SAFA’s high performance management that Mische would not be returning to the high performance centre. ‘They told me Mische’s schoolwork wasn’t up to standard and she was coming back to Cape Town. Mische went from Afrikaans instruction at school to English learning. When I saw Mische’s June exams report I saw there was nothing wrong with her report. Then they said Mische wanted to come home. I was so disappointed because now I knew Mische was coming back to struggling for food. But I couldn’t get good enough reasons from there at high performance why they were sending Mische home. Then they selected Mische to play for SA under 17 team.’ explained Mr Minnies.

Recently Mische attended a national training camp for u17 girl footballers. She just got told to be at the airport to take the flight to Johannesburg. No shuttle service for transport to the airport was provided by SAFA to get the girl footballer to the airport. SAFA didn’t even enquire if the girls needed transport to the airport and back home from the airport. ‘Ay, that was a big problem for me. I don’t have a car, had no money and couldn’t get Mische to the airport. I had to beg someone to please take Mische to the airport and beg again to have her brought home from the airport. At least, she ate nicely at the national training camp. But then she came home to no food, again,’ said Mr Minnies.

This unemployed family plight is real, harsh and sad. They not the only unemployed family in Cape Town and South Africa struggling like this. I’ve been calling for a national fund for girls and women to be established; a fund that will help working class girls in sport. Sports federations must be sensitive, aware they are providing sport in a society of inequalities. Paid sports administrators must not assume because they sit in an office and get paid salaries that all is okay with girls playing for national teams, especially when the girls are black and working class.

16 year old Mische Minnie from Mitchells Plain in Cape Town is expected to play a pivotal role for South Africa at the under 17 girls football world cup in Uruguay, later this year. At this moment, Mische is hoping to get some food to eat to get by whist dreaming of her football games. That’s the reality of being a black and working class girl in sport in capitalist South Africa.

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White Supremacist Attitudes Still Very Much Alive In South African Sport By Cheryl Roberts

20 May

IMG_9682Get this! That was just the tip of the iceberg when a one time world class black South African international rugby player and now a rugby commentator, Ashwin Willemse told white rugby commentators, on a live broadcast show, in South Africa that he had enough of them and their whiteness.

This whiteness is about their white privilege, their belief that white supremacy reigns, that ‘whites are excellence’, that blacks must learn from this white excellence. As Ashwin Willemse told them about patronising him; that’s how they exist in SA sport. It’s about patronising blacks, black thinking and black performance and black achievement.

This white supremacist attitude and thinking is real in SA sport. SA sport media, has for a long time, been the chief proponent of white excellence in SA sport. It seemingly goes unchallenged because blacks in sport have not spoken out as a force against it, despite there being much unhappiness about this white supremacist control.

This is how it works: blacks are always seen as development players, especially in men’s rugby and cricket and women’s netball and hockey. Black coaches in these sports have to struggle white supremacist favouritism to get acknowledgement. It’s as if blacks just can’t be elite national and international coaches. This terrain in sport is reserved for ‘white excellence’; but through some pressure and questioning, some sports have seen they can’t be holding up white privilege and white excellence all the time, so they have ‘recognised’ blacks as coaches.

This is what we have had to deal with, throughout apartheid years and now in the democratic, unified  era of post-apartheid sport in South Africa. It’s the white supremacist gaze and lens and thinking that ‘white is merit and excellence’ and all those not white are ‘non excellent because they not white’. When I write here about white supremacist thinking, I refer to this as a group thing and do know that ‘not all whites in SA sport have this mindset’. But the most of white people in sport still have this belief about white excellence and white merit, be it on the field of play, in the media, at awards events, and especially national and international representation.

This white supremacist, white excellence thinking is deep-rooted and South African sport has not made much inroads in shutting out this attitude, inherited from decades of white supremacy rule and oppression of blacks in South Africa.

Just because a black rugby commentator has now openly surfaced this white behaviour, doesn’t mean it’s the only indication of such.  White supremacist thinking, flowing out of their white privilege, is all around in SA sport. Look at how we still have white-dominated sports teams in netball and hockey! Look at how black African players were ignored and marginalised when it came to playing for South Africa in sports such as men’s cricket and rugby And look at how black players (all those not white) are referred to negatively as ‘quota’ players, as if they don’t make the selection grade and are brought in just to add some colour.

The two apartheid era rugby players, now turned commentators, Naas Botha and Nick Mallett are not the only people of their kind. There are many more like them! Look at Pat Symcox, Darryl Cullinan, Barry Richards and Clive Rice (who went to his grave believing in white supremacy in sport). They all have this thinking about ‘excellence equals being white’. These apartheid era supporters and beneficiaries don’t want to know that blacks not only played sport with little and minimal resources during the horrendous years of oppression, but that blacks also achieved highly in sport. They just refuse to get it into their thick, thick heads of what is the reality of the South African sports paradigm.

Those leading sport in South Africa  are to blame for the existence of white supremacist thinking. Leadership, black and white officialdom, doesn’t question white privilege in sport and white dominated sports teams. They allow this to happen! That’s why whites still dominate most sports in South Africa. It’s because they have the resources, the money and they push white supremacy. Yes, white officialdom in sport will quickly disagree with me here but I will quickly hit back and say: ‘look at your sport and see who dominates’.

We can’t be silent about white supremacy, privilege, white sports teams in South African sport. It exists! We must challenge and smash white controlling attitudes and thinking that believe blacks in sport are inferior 2 their perceived ‘white excellence in sport’.

Only if @SuperSportTV management, those responsible for content and media decision-making understand the horrendous white supremacy and white privilege attitudes, will they be able to understand what black rugby commentator #AshwinWillemse is raging about and shouting down.

And Black people must stop being coconuts in South African sport! Stop accepting white privilege and white supremacy. Stop being silent when you get a position. Understand critically what transformation/de-colonisation of sport entails. Question white-dominated sport, teams, coaches.

White supremacist thinking and commentary must not allowed to thrive and exist in SA sport. It must be eliminated across the SA sport paradigm. It’s unhealthy!

Khumbulani Pride Decolonises Cape Town’s White Privilege Pride By Cheryl Roberts

18 May

Black queer people are not allowing white privilege nor white dominant queer structures the luxury of owning the pride narrative in Cape Town. Neither are conscious black queers allowing themselves to be controlled by white privilege supporting pride advocates.

The space has been created for a Khumbulani Pride, a black queer centered voice, for the people by the people, to be rooted in black communities and to speak for and behalf of black queers. And each year, Khumbulani Pride grows in strength, confidence and authenticity.

On Saturday in Cape Town, in a working class township on the Cape Flats and not in a white, rich and privileged area, the annual Khumbulani Pride will again happen. Khumbulani Pride was born out of the necessity for black queers to speak for themselves, to lead black queer activism and to shout and roar against hate crime and sexual prejudice particularly against black queer women.

Black queer people in Cape Town….make that conscious black queer people……had for long been feeling isolated, marginalisied and used by the predominantly white, gay male dominated Cape Town Pride who concentrated more on using Cape Town Pride for the interests and satisfaction of white gay men like pool and pyjama parties and club jorls with little focus on black queers whose experience of being queer in white privileged, homophobic and racist Cape Town is vastly different from the experience of white queers.

Khumbulani Pride is real and authentic; rooted in the streets where the violence and hate against black queers, mostly black queer and gender non-conforming women occurs. It’s a march through the streets, the very township streets that can be filled with happiness, laughter, people activity and at times host horrific hate against queers and gender non-conforming people. Its here on the streets in the townships where black queers reside, that much assault, rape and killings of black queer women have happened.

After a litany of assaults and horrendous murders, black queers don’t feel safe in their own communities and walking on the streets. Black queers want the streets to be safe for all people and not to be defined by toxic hetero-masculinity.

Cape Town Pride didn’t address this depth of hate and homophobia prevalent in Cape Town. After must call outs and challenges from conscious queers, down-with-white-privilege proponents and human rights activists Cape Town Pride officialdom has refused to assess its existence, preferring instead to show their DA loyalty and white gay male centeredness. Instead, by making Cape Town Pride one big festival of partying, Cape Town Pride made as if attacks on bodies of black queers wasn’t there.

Conscious and critical thinking Black queers had enough of this seemingly ‘anti-conscious, anti-political’ behaviour adopted by white, gay men dominated Cape Town Pride. They formed their own pride acknowledgment and turned it into a relevant and necessary event, to be held in the hood and for the hood people.

Khumbulani Pride will take place in Delft in Cape Town on Saturday, a working class area that has had its homophobic assaults, abuses and killings. A march through the streets with protesting people and banners, culminating in a memorandum being delivered, will call out homophobia and ask for attacks on black queers and non gender-conforming people, to be stopped and for swift police action to be done when and should such attacks occur.

Khumbulani Pride is not sponsored by the DA administered city of Cape Town that financially supports white privilege, white gay men dominated Cape Town Pride. The community pride event gets by with nominal donations here and there and people who want to be associated with an event that is black-queer led and talks in the interests of black queers, instead of marginalising black queer people.

Cape Town Pride’s got nothing on Khumbulani pride when it comes to speaking out and challenging homophobia and sexual prejudice. That Khumbulani Pride was the space and event so needed for black queers to have their own authentic Pride voice, there is no doubt. That cape Town Pride is irrelevant to black queers, there is no doubt.

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SA Billionaire Patrice Motsepe’s Money Supports Men’s Sports, Ignores Women In Sport By Cheryl Roberts

16 May

Where is the support for women’s sports from South Africa’s black male billionaire Patrice Motsepe? Why, until now, hasn’t Patrice Motsepe funded women’s sports and women’s sports events? Why is Patrice Motsepe displaying his toxic masculinity when offering to sponsor men’s sports whilst ignoring women’s sports?

That Patrice Motsepe is super rich, there’s no doubt. He’s one of South Africa’s several billionaires. After making his billions from profits extracted from his participation in the post-apartheid SA mining economy,  sport, especially men’s football has become Patrice Motsepe’s latest play toy in recent years.

With so much money at his disposal Patrice Motsepe, his family and Motsepe Foundation can choose any sport to be associated with. But until now Patrice Motsepe has chosen, through the sports he chooses to sponsor and fund to show his disregard for women’s sports. Yes, Motsepe’s men’s PSL team Sundowns does have a women’s football team playing in the provincial Sasol League but that women’s sports team is no ways given the same financial backing as the PSL Sundowns men’s team.

Motsepe has put millions into men’s sports but none of his money has gone into sponsoring women’s sports. Living in our unequal South African society, albeit up in the billionaire clouds, Motsepe must have some idea that women’s sports, especially black women in sport struggle for corporate sponsorship but he surprisingly hasn’t come up with sponsorship offers.

This shows Patrice Motsepe’s support of and allegiance to men in sport! Look at his recent ‘toy’; the men’s football match: Barcelona v Sundowns match, costing millions and being played in South Africa, tonight. Has Motsepe got any heart to know what those millions would mean to black girls in working class sport instead of them being splashed out on this end of season men’s football encounter?

Now that he has made his billionaires and exists in the world of the super rich, Motsepe is seemingly walking around with blinkers, not seeing the struggles of working class girls in sport in South Africa.

Why can’t Patrice Motsepe sponsor some sportswomen and women’s sports in SA? What does it reveal about this black male billionaire that he doesn’t support women in sport? The other day Dr Moloi Motsepe, spoke about the necessity of a national women’s football league in SA. Yes, she’s correct about this. We’ve for years been calling for a women’s football national league. But there’s always no sponsor and no money to launch this league! This always happens, despite much money and corporate sponsorship being available for men’s football.

Why doesn’t Patrice Motsepe and Dr Moloi Motsepe (wife and husband) now engineer sponsorship of this women’s football national league? What’s stopping them when it’s gonna come off their daily interest received from their money extracted in South Africa?

I’m calling out Patrice Motsepe because he’s no different from white male billionaires who ignore women’s sports and black girls in sport. I’m calling out billionaire Patrice Motsepe and showing how he maintains male dominated sports in SA with

8cheryl roberts  in the rain forest in ghana

Cheryl Roberts (writer of the blog)

his lucrative funding, business deals and sponsorship.

Billionaire Patrice Motsepe thinks only about men’s sport and funds big time, men in sport; his sponsorship relationships show this!