Archive | August, 2018

Guguletu’s Football Twins Want To Make Name For Their Hood By Cheryl Roberts

23 Aug
cesane twins

17 year old Noxolo and Sinoxolo Cesane play for Guguletu-based Cape Town Roses women’s football team (pic: Cheryl Roberts)

 

They started out playing kasi football in their hood Guguletu. This was when they were ten years old. Today, seven years later at aged 17, the Cesane twins Noxolo and Sinoxolo are already playing age group football for South Africa.

Noxolo and Sinoxolo are some of South Africa’s talented girl footballers. They play for champion team Cape Town Roses where they are coached by primary school teacher, coach Madikane. Both girls represented South African under 17 girls football team when they were 15 years old. That was in the African qualifiers for the under 17 world cup. Last year, at 16 years old, they were the youngest players in the SA under 20 team.

‘We love football,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane. ‘It’s our passion and God-given talent. I play to make myself happy, my family proud and my community.’ Twin sister Noxolo says she, too ‘plays for the love of the game.’

Such was the talent of the twin girl footballers that both players were selected to attend SAFA’s in house high performance centre in Tshwane. The girls spent two years there, training daily. This year they returned to Cape Town and their Guguletu-based school and club, Cape Town Roses.

Although just 17 years old, Noxolo was this season appointed captain of Cape Town Roses and has already kept Cape Town Roses unbeaten and at the top of the A Stream of the Western Cape Sasol League.

Both girl footballers relish the dream of one day playing in a world cup championship and also a women’s football team outside of South Africa.

‘It’s my dream to play in a world cup with the world’s best teams and players,’ says Noxolo Cesane. ‘Mine, too,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane. ‘I want to see how I play when I’m playing against the world’s top teams,’ adds Noxolo. With the twins turning 18 in October they have this year and another two years to represent SA under 20 women’s football. Hopefully, SA will qualify for the 2020 under 20 women’s football world cup and the girl footballers will have their world cup dream realised.

The girl footballers go to school and after school they attend football training on the sandy patch of ground that doubles up as a football ground at a primary school in Guguletu. This they do daily. Should coach Madikane be delayed with school work, the twin sisters step up and assume the role of coach, helping out with getting the training session started. Its there on the field, with about 20 school girls attending football training, that they all participate in the sport they love and play out their sports dreams.

 

Over the weekend, its football matches and the Cesane twins know it’s about engineering play to score goals and win matches. Because that’s what they do best and that’s how Cape Town Roses has managed to win the Western Cape league seven out of eight times in the past 8 years.

They have also performed exceptionally well in the national playoffs that every year brings together all provincial league champions to play in one national tournament. Since they were 13 years old, Noxolo and Sinoxolo Cesane have been playing in the national playoffs, representing Guguletu, Cape Town, the Western Cape and their club Cape Town Roses. In 2013, Cape Town Roses lost in the semi-finals, in 2014, they won the national title, in 2015 they lost in the finals, in 2016 they didn’t qualify for the national tournament but came back in 2017 to reach the finals, yet again. Noxolo Cesane, particularly was an outstanding player at the national championship, winning several awards at the playoffs over the years. And the teenage twin girl footballers were part of the team at all these national play offs.

For now, the girl footballers’ lives are centered on school, football, family and church. Both footballers would love to play for a club outside South Africa. ‘Its not for the money, that I want to be abroad,’ says Sinoxolo. ‘It’s to have more football experiences and to see how I’ve developed from playing kasi football.’

Player scouts and agents are already showing interest in the talented girl football internationals. But nothing can be concluded nor signed until their high school education is complete. It’s quite likely that the girl footballers could be offered a football scholarship to the USA or a development contract for a pro club in China or Europe.

‘We love our football, too much. We don’t like to miss training or playing matches,’ says Noxolo. ‘And we proud of our club Cape Town Roses and what we have achieved. Our families are happy we playing sport. Now we want to get better and make our families and community proud and win for our team. We also want to inspire the smaller girls in our team, for them to know they can also play good football for a champion team,’ says 17 year old Noxolo Cesane, captain of Western Cape women’s football champions Cape Town Roses.

‘And I must say we are very proud of our coach. That is coach Madikane who coaches our team and makes us a champion team,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane.

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Guguletu’s Football Twins Want To Make Name For Their Hood By Cheryl Roberts

23 Aug

They started out playing kasi football in their hood Guguletu. This was when they were ten years old. Today, seven years later at aged 17, the Cesane twins Noxolo and Sinoxolo are already playing age group football for South Africa.

Noxolo and Sinoxolo are some of South Africa’s talented girl footballers. They play for champion team Cape Town Roses where they are coached by primary school teacher, coach Madikane. Both girls represented South African under 17 girls football team when they were 15 years old. That was in the African qualifiers for the under 17 world cup. Last year, at 16 years old, they were the youngest players in the SA under 20 team.

‘We love football,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane. ‘It’s our passion and God-given talent. I play to make myself happy, my family proud and my community.’ Twin sister Noxolo says she, too ‘plays for the love of the game.’

Such was the talent of the twin girl footballers that both players were selected to attend SAFA’s in house high performance centre in Tshwane. The girls spent two years there, training daily. This year they returned to Cape Town and their Guguletu-based school and club, Cape Town Roses.

Although just 17 years old, Noxolo was this season appointed captain of Cape Town Roses and has already kept Cape Town Roses unbeaten and at the top of the A Stream of the Western Cape Sasol League.

Both girl footballers relish the dream of one day playing in a world cup championship and also a women’s football team outside of South Africa.

‘It’s my dream to play in a world cup with the world’s best teams and players,’ says Noxolo Cesane. ‘Mine, too,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane. ‘I want to see how I play when I’m playing against the world’s top teams,’ adds Noxolo. With the twins turning 18 in October they have this year and another two years to represent SA under 20 women’s football. Hopefully, SA will qualify for the 2020 under 20 women’s football world cup and the girl footballers will have their world cup dream realised.

The girl footballers go to school and after school they attend football training on the sandy patch of ground that doubles up as a football ground at a primary school in Guguletu. This they do daily. Should coach Madikane be delayed with school work, the twin sisters step up and assume the role of coach, helping out with getting the training session started. Its there on the field, with about 20 school girls attending football training, that they all participate in the sport they love and play out their sports dreams.

 

Over the weekend, its football matches and the Cesane twins know it’s about engineering play to score goals and win matches. Because that’s what they do best and that’s how Cape Town Roses has managed to win the Western Cape league seven out of eight times in the past 8 years.

They have also performed exceptionally well in the national playoffs that every year brings together all provincial league champions to play in one national tournament. Since they were 13 years old, Noxolo and Sinoxolo Cesane have been playing in the national playoffs, representing Guguletu, Cape Town, the Western Cape and their club Cape Town Roses. In 2013, Cape Town Roses lost in the semi-finals, in 2014, they won the national title, in 2015 they lost in the finals, in 2016 they didn’t qualify for the national tournament but came back in 2017 to reach the finals, yet again. Noxolo Cesane, particularly was an outstanding player at the national championship, winning several awards at the playoffs over the years. And the teenage twin girl footballers were part of the team at all these national play offs.

For now, the girl footballers’ lives are centered on school, football, family and church. Both footballers would love to play for a club outside South Africa. ‘Its not for the money, that I want to be abroad,’ says Sinoxolo. ‘It’s to have more football experiences and to see how I’ve developed from playing kasi football.’

Player scouts and agents are already showing interest in the talented girl football internationals. But nothing can be concluded nor signed until their high school education is complete. It’s quite likely that the girl footballers could be offered a football scholarship to the USA or a development contract for a pro club in China or Europe.

‘We love our football, too much. We don’t like to miss training or playing matches,’ says Noxolo. ‘And we proud of our club Cape Town Roses and what we have achieved. Our families are happy we playing sport. Now we want to get better and make our families and community proud and win for our team. We also want to inspire the smaller girls in our team, for them to know they can also play good football for a champion team,’ says 17 year old Noxolo Cesane, captain of Western Cape women’s football champions Cape Town Roses.

‘And I must say we are very proud of our coach. That is coach Madikane who coaches our team and makes us a champion team,’ says Sinoxolo Cesane.

cesane twins

Caster Semenya Shuts Down Anti-Caster Noise With Black Sports Prowess By Cheryl Roberts

18 Aug

77426A4A-7DAD-444A-8148-E43BAA3C3E37The persecution has been inhumane. The Euro-centric gaze was harsh, but not defeating. The unfriendliness and shameful non-congratulatory behavior exhibited on the track by European and white women athletes towards Caster Semenya after she had won, was there for all to see. The intensity of criticism against her body, her black being and her worth was immense. It all tried to shut her down.

 But no it couldn’t succeed. Whoever has attempted to attack, force down and criticise Caster Semenya, hasn’t succeeded. If anything, all the negatives, the criticism, sarcasm, attempts at public humiliation since she hit the international athletics track as a teenage girl athlete, has inspired Caster Semenya to not only run faster, but to exist on her terms.

 The criticism about the body of Caster Semenya has been given lots of publicity in commercial media. But people’s power and justice hit back in the form of voices and those who challenge patriarchal domination and its subsequent control of women’s bodies.

Participating in international athletics for just under a decade, 27 year old Caster Semenya has now become South Africa’s greatest athlete. She has won South African, African, World and Olympic titles and gold medals. Not once, but several times. This year has seen Caster Semenya in record breaking form. She has smashed all apartheid records in the events she competes in. Today, a black woman athlete holds SA and championship records in the 400m, 600m, 800m, 1000m, 1500m. As the attacks against her body surface with new international means being devised to regulate her body and control her running prowess, Caster Semenya hits back with rampant athletics running.  

 Speaking at the Essence festival in Durban, last year, Caster Semenya spoke publicly about horrendous attempts at shaming and degrading her body. She told a captivated audience of how they tried to ridicule her and insist she ‘wasn’t a girl or woman’. Caster spoke confidently and lovingly about her being and struggles against those who tried to define what her body is.

 ‘I was concerned and disturbed by all this nonsense. I asked my mother if I am not the girl she said I was and knew I was because now they are saying I am not woman’, said Caster. But I knew who I was. I knew this is how God made me and no one will tell me anything else.’

 This was the Caster Semenya, champion athlete and already a world and Olympic champion, speaking about the pain and hurt she was forced to endure. It was also the Caster Semenya revealing how she believed in herself, her body and being. It was the Caster Semenya who wasn’t going to allow any sports structure, male gaze, patriarchal and heterosexual advocates to define her body nor dominate her sexuality or thrash her athletics prowess.

 That Caster Semenya has done this on her terms, there’s no doubt.  Knowing who she is and accepting her body as ‘God-given’, Caster Semenya has hit back at those who dare to confront, criticise and attack her body and presence in sport by trying to remove her from the athletics stardom she accumulates for herself. This hitting back has been achieved by breaking long and old records, winning Diamond Leagues in incredible times, and owning national, continental, world and Olympic titles.   

 An immensely talented athlete is Caster Semenya. She trains hard; doesn’t rely only on natural prowess. With fierce determination, she sets out her goals on the athletics tracks and all that wants to achieve. And she works hard at attaining it all.

 Since they’ve been achieving and winning, black sportswomen have always had to contend with ‘that gaze’; the gaze that wants to define and control a black sportswoman’s body and a gaze that is inevitably, white and male. Champion sportswomen like iconic tennis player Serena Williams hit back with confident wins and prowess on the tennis court. Athlete Caster Semenya does the same. These black women hold it down in sport, on their terms and knowing and believing in whom they are as achieving, fierce black women do it around the world.  

 Whilst white, male-dominated international athletics looks at ways and means to introduce regulation to further attempt ‘Caster Semenya persecution’ and restrict her spectacular athletics performances, Caster Semenya gets on with her athletics life. She hears the noise being directed at her again. She doesn’t engage publicly when they at it again. She doesn’t succumb and call time on her athletics life. She gets down to training, puts in the hours, smashes the records, wins the titles and claims what she has achieved in ‘Caster Semenya style’.

 That Caster Semenya has brought infinite pride to South Africa, there’s no doubt. And South Africa, too is standing with Caster Semenya, drowning the ‘anti-Caster Semenya athletics prowess’ noise with our own black sportswoman prowess noise; calling out those who aim to throw arrows at Caster Semenya’s athletics feats and prowess by attacking her body construction. In knowing her athletics prowess, understanding her black sportswoman worth, believing in her athletics prowess, Caster Semenya is achieving it all on her terms.

Pic: Caster Semenya

pic Credit: Cheryl Roberts

Shocking Disclosures Of Discrimination in South African Girls Hockey By Cheryl Roberts

7 Aug

0433A94C-D279-43B2-92F7-3808FD96F8A4.jpegParents and girl hockey players who are not white are speaking out against the horrendous discrimination existing in South Africa’s girls hockey teams and structures. The disclosures and anger focus is on white women coaches being preferred as provincial coaches, who then impose their racism and white attitude behavior on the girls hockey teams.

Parents and girl hockey players are revealing how, despite their selection to district and provincial age group hockey teams, it’s the white girls who always get game time most of the time, whilst the black players (all those not white) get most of the bench time, all the time. This is happening particularly at provincial under 16 and under 18 girls hockey. The black girls are traumatised from these playing and team processes as they get selected as one team but get differentiated against when it comes to playing matches. ‘It’s always about the white girls getting game time and starting the match and we who are not white get benched’, said a provincial under 16 hockey player.

Now white women hockey coaches are being called out for their racism, discrimination and favouring of white girl hockey players. Those parents and coaches whose children and players are being benched say they’ve had enough of these white women coaches and selectors in hockey. They’ve also had enough of white families, especially the Madsen family in KZN, others in Western Province and Gauteng and white officials controlling women’s hockey in SA, ensuring their family members get preferential selection and game time.

This explains how white-dominated the provincial girls and women’s teams are structured, how SA’s national women’s hockey team is white, white, white. Where are the black girl and women hockey players coming out of provincial hockey if they not going to get game time? SA women’s hockey must be suspended from SASCOC and be suspended from all international competition and play because these white teams are not representing post-apartheid South Africa. They are just representing and advocating their whiteness, white privilege and racism.

White women hockey administrators and coaches are the gatekeepers of whiteness and white privilege in the suburban, elite and private schools.  They always ensure white school girls make provincial teams with just a handful of black players in the team. And then these few black players get benched most of the time.

Who is speaking up and speaking out about this white control of girls hockey in South Africa? This white domination must be disrupted and stopped! Girls hockey in SA is not the preserve of white people!

 

 

 

#TotalShutdown In Durban Shut It Down By Cheryl Roberts

2 Aug

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#TotalShutdown in Durban was lit. It was huge. It had soul, heart and pleasure. And it carried much sadness. It wasn’t about rich, powerful women wanting it their way. It was about women who wanted violence and rape to stop. Because……when a woman’s fed up, she’s fed up. When a woman knows she’s had enough, she knows just that. Enough!

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And it was because women have had enough of the violence, assault and attacks inflicted on their bodies and against their bodies in femicide-inflicted, rape-saturated, patriarchy-littered South African society that thousands of women took to the streets all over South Africa on Wednesday, 1 August; this, as South Africa’s ‘Women’s Month’ took its commemoration-month space, to protest gender-based violence and all its toxic masculinity associations and deep-rooted patriarchal causes.

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It was a groundswell of online activism that culminated in meeting spots and times for women to gather, march and protest and claim their power. I was wanting to be back in Cape Town by end July after DIFF wrapped, but somehow I also knew I wanted to be at #TotalShutdown march in Durban. It was over 25 years ago that I was in a march in Durban; that being in the anti-apartheid era when I was a student at the then University of Natal. I thought I would get to Curries Fountain, our legendary anti-apartheid sports ground and anti-apartheid protest venue, perhaps get some pics, then leave the march after about a km and meet it again at the city hall, a few hours later (didn’t think I could do the entire route). Instead, I walked the route with my cameras, enthralled by the growing crowd, entranced by the enthusiasm and keenness to march and protest as being shown by the marchers and feeling the strength of women to say ‘no more violence on and against our bodies’.

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#TotalShutdown in Durban was massive. They say over 5000 marchers were on the street. Women turned up, many of them in a protest march for the first time. It was an intergenerational march. It grew bigger along the route and never lost momentum. Women marches surely felt increasing power, resilience and happiness for their being on the street, marching for what they want. Nothing was going to break their resilience, on that day!

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Thousands outside the formal march, along the route, watched from the street pavements and cheered on the protest. Some looked on in bewilderment, seemingly asking ‘now what is this’. A defining moment for me was when women street traders, on seeing the march approaching their selling spot, spontaneously joined the march, and sang, danced and clapped their protest contribution. Also when people walking on the street spontaneously joined the march. Durban’s CBD working people came out to see ‘what was going on’ and they saw the posters and banners all speaking out against violence.

 

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For the victims and survivors of gender-based violence, those in the march and those on the streets, they knew that for as long as the march was underway and proceeding, women had the power to call out, on their terms, the horrendous violence and attacks.

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This protest activism against gender-based violence hadn’t occurred before in South Africa, on such a national level and with such support. Women all over Durban’s CBD, from Curries Fountain to the city hall, knew this was what women were waiting for, what women wanted and demanded. And here it was happening…….

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This march wasn’t about women defending some man, businessman, male politician or honouring men who had been to war and back. It was about women stating their power because they’d had enough of the violence.

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#TotalShutdown in Durban will be debated, discussed and assessed. Opinions, convo and arguments will differ about the strategy, the attendance, the women who attended and talk about the positives. For now, with the march still breathing, we not going to forget very quickly how women found the strength, used their power and marched with resilience and fearlessness to own the streets and demand the society they want to live in.

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 Text: Cheryl Roberts

Photographs: Cheryl Roberts