Archive | April, 2019

Girl Athlete Rogail Joseph Faces A Litany Of Struggles But Still Triumphs On The Athletics Track By Cheryl Roberts

24 Apr


Sportsgirl Rogail Joseph is a superbly talented athlete who shows how opportunities open the way for one to discover the your sports talent and to achieve; this despite obstacles and hardships that impact on your young life.
For 18 year old, first year University of the Western Cape student Rogail Joseph, its her belief in God, her coach, her family, athletics community, UWC athletics club that sustains her together with her commitment to train hard at athletics, the sport that has made her a South African and African youth and junior athletics champion.
Get this! Until she participated in last week’s African junior
championship in Ivory Coast, Rogail Joseph was using the same pair of spikes/track shoe that she had from when she was a schoolgirl athlete in 2016. And with these worn out spikes, Rogail went to the world under 20 championship last year, and in 2019 she has already won the
under 20 South African and African 400m hurdles titles and the SA university 400m hurdles championship, emerging as Africa’s best 400m and 100m hurdles under 20 woman athlete; all these incredible feats
being achieved in one month.
At the SA junior athletics championship in Paarl in April, South Africa’s world under 20 400m hurdles champion, Zenay van der Walt noticed Rogail’s old spikes – she had been using them since school days in Worcester – and gave her a brand new pair of track shoes.
However, it was a size too big for Rogail, and shoe she couldn’t use,
despite the good intentions of her having them. But it was passed on
to another athlete needing a track shoe at Rogail’s community athletics unit.


According to coach Booysen, a teacher at a school in Worcester and a community based athletics coach, who has been coaching Rogail since her Riverview
primary school days  ‘Rogail is a very, very talented athlete who works very, very hard at training and to achieve her goals.’
But coach Booysen and athlete Rogail, struggle to stay afloat in
athletics. Up until now, Rogail Joseph, despite not only being a
superbly talented girl, but also an internationally achieving athlete,
didn’t have a shoe nor kit sponsor, didn’t have an agent, had no
Now with healthy profiling and publicity on social media about Rogail Joseph’s 100m and 400m hurdles feats in South African and African competitions, agents and kit sponsors are making contact with the athlete and her coach. This all looks promising. But why must South Africa’s talented sportsgirls have to go through so much anxiety, struggle and stress before they can have all the necessary support to achieve tougher and higher ambitions?
About two months ago, before her 2019 athletics season amazing
athletics feats were accomplished Rogail was tired, couldn’t finish
her training sessions. Coach Booysen noticed this and knew Rogail needed a medical assessment. It was found out that her body was low on iron levels. Without medical insurance, Rogail had to wait on public medical assistance that puts you in a queue before hundreds of others.
‘Fortunately, Rogail got some money from a photo shoot she did with some German company. The money came in handy for Rogail to pay the medical costs for her medical treatment. After that, she was feeling much better, trained better and achieved remarkably’, says coach Booysen.


Rogail’s litany of struggles also include family hardships because
hers is a working class family battling the odds, struggling to
Rogail’s mother is currently at home recovering from an injury
sustained at work for the municipality. Working on the roads using a machine much too big for her body, Rogail’s mother hurt her back and hasn’t been at work. When at home at weekends from university, Rogail
helps her mother as much she can. The talented athlete is very
family-centered. She turned down three athletics scholarships to the
USA so she could be at home in the Western Cape to help where she can her parents and three siblings.
Despite, the odds at time stacked against her, Rogail still turns up
at training daily. At university of the Western Cape, she trains
without her Worcester-based coach but gets back home to Worcester every weekend to train with coach Booysen.
This weekend Rogail is running in the SA senior athletics championship in Germiston. She needs her coach to be with her but he couldn’t afford the costs to travel. However, athlete parents in coach Booysen’s community athletics unit insisted he go to the senior championship and they made it possible for him to travel the long journey by bus from
Worcester to Johannesburg and stay with an athletics comrade.
‘My coach and my parents, especially my mother, really try hard to keep me in athletics. And its really hard on them with all the costs.
I appreciate their efforts so much’, says Rogail before she tells you
about all the titles and medals she has won.
Rogail Joseph is already running the 400m hurdles in under one minute. This year’s ambition beween coach and athlete was to race it in under 58 seconds. She not only achieved the time, improved her personal
bests but also won the SA and African under 20 400m hurdles titles.
Coach Booysen doesn’t want Rogail to over-race and burn out. She’s a
junior continental champion in both the 100m and 400m hurdles. And her racing schedule and prowess must be managed properly with qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being an ultimate objective of the teenage athlete and her coach.
After the SA senior national athletics championship, it’s preparation for the world student games in Italy where she could possibly become world student champion. But in between, coach Booysen would like Rogail to run in some meets in Europe. For this, she needs financial assistance and for now this isn’t there. Last year Rogail didn’t get quality international experience because she didn’t have the money to run in Europe and hence wasn’t adequately prepared for the world under 20 championship.
The talent has surfaced, the athlete is performing. The community
coach is giving his all to develop one of South Africa’s finest
athletics talents. Her family life is faced with struggle upon
struggle. But the teenage girl athlete is determined to know and
develop her best athletics potential. Yet again, 18 year old Rogail Joseph’s incredible athletics feats and sports talent highlight the urgent need for SA to have a national priority fund to jassist SA’s working class girls in sport.
There’s no denying that much more opportunities have been created for working class and township youth to be involved in sport in post-apartheid South Africa. But the talented girls need a national fund to assist their further progress and advance in sport.

How disgusting is this? Injured Women Springbok Captain Nolusindiso Booi Must Pay For Her Surgery By Cheryl Roberts

16 Apr



Playing at the top of her game in the twilight years of her rugby life with her sentimental ambition still set on playing in another women’s rugby world cup, South Africa’s women’s Springbok captain Nolusindiso Booi has been issued the disappointing news she will have to undergo surgery and be out of playing rugby this season.

Attained whilst involved in club rugby for her women’s rugby team Tygerberg, the injury couldn’t have arrived at a more ‘unwelcome’ time. As one of South Africa’s few very experienced women rugby internationals, having played in two wold cups, Nolusindiso Booi’s influential experience is very much needed and can’t be done without, especially at this juncture as SA is now playing inernational women’s rugby again after a self-imposed moratorium.

Nolusindiso Booi started playing in rugby whilst living in the Eastern Cape. She went on to represent Border women’s rugby and South Africa and played in the SA championship winning teams of Border. Last year, she turned out for Western Province after moving to Cape Town to sudy.

When I contacted Nolusindiso Booi to follow up on an earlier interview, she had already checked into Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town. Fortunately there were no beds available so she was granted her own ward room at a government hospital. Another patient thought he recognised her. When they got talking the patient was shocked to hear it was the women’s Springbok captain, said how he expected her to be having private medical care.

I was also shocked to know that a South African international woman rugby player had to sort herself out medically, when it became known that she would need surgery on an injured foot. SA Rugby did assist the player with her earlier medical needs such as a scan and medical assessment and they kept in touch with medical practioners assessing Nolusindiso Booi’s injury, at the cost to SA Rugby. But when it came to the point of surgery, SA Rugby said they couldn’t assist nor pay for her surgery, although it was caused from playing rugby and she was an international player. SA Rugby suggested the club had to pay the surgery bill.

And where does a black woman in sport, studying full-time and with no employment payment not even from rugby, playing for a community-based rugby club get money to finance a medical bill? And where does a community club like Cape Flats-based Tygerberg get a medical insurance to protect all its rugby players?

Because the injury was threatening, Nolusindiso Booi had to choose to ptotect herself and went to Groote Schuur where, fortunately the same surgeon who assessed and diagnosed her injury for SA Rugby at the clinic in Stellenbosch, was at Groote Schuur’s private section. On Monday, Nolusindiso Booi went to Groote Schoor public hospital and was admitted to be prepared for surgery 24 hours later.

Nolusindiso was devastated with the assessment and medical prognosis saying she would actually be out of rugby for some months with her foot having to be in a cask for 6 weeks, then a moon boot, then rehabilitation.

‘I had to do the surgery; it couldn’t be prolonged as it was going to impact on my ability to walk’, says Nolusindiso. ‘I was devastated when the surgeon said surgery was needed and that I wouldn’t be able to play rugby for some months. But I’m calm now, having accepted I must go thru this process to be injury-free.’

Retirement from rugby hasn’t come into Nolusindiso’s mind and heart for now. She wants to undergo the surgery and rehabiliate properly and then resume light raining again. Deep in her heart Nolusindiso Booi knows she still wants to play the sport she loves and hopefully still play some international matches, although she also understands that the young women rugby players all over South Africa are plentiful and talented. She dearly wants to play in another women’s rugby world cup which will be her third world cup should it happen but she also knows that her rugby stuff and body might have other plans not to be friends.

Ofcourse, we want to ask SA Rugby why is there no full medical benefits in place for South Africa’s international women rugby players? Why are health needs of men rugby players considered important and looked after but the women rugby players don’t get all the help they need? And how can the moneyed, rich, corporate funded SA Rugby have the audacity to say a comunity, grassroots club from the Cape Flats must assist their club players when they know that community rugby clubs struggle to stay afloat?

With international competitions planned for the women Springboks in August, September and later in the year, the captaincy of Nolusindiso Booi will be missed by the women Springboks. SA Rugby can immediately start planning how to implement medical insurance schemes for its national and international players so they are adequately looked after, supported and protected during injury just like SA Rugby protects its men rugby players

‘SA Netball International Precious Mthembu Believes South Africa Can Win A Netball World Cup

2 Apr


Precious Mthembu suffered a horrendous injury whilst playing for South Africa at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Nine months after injury rehab, the top netballer from KZN is back on the netball courts, playing and coaching the game she loves. And she still has an ambition of getting 100 national netball caps. Publisher of ‘South African SportsWoman’ publication, Cheryl Roberts asked the questions and Precious Mthembu gave the answers in this Q&A interview.

8E41C267-F157-45BB-B299-C2CA13E8B354Q: You’ve been off the netball courts for some months because of injury. How is your injury rehabilitation?

Precious Mthembu: I was unfortunate to get injured at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in GoldCoast. I injured my right knee. I then had surgery and it took a good 9 months to fully recover and get back on court. It was a hard road to recovery with lots of tears and pain. Prime Institute and DSR has only been good to us as KZN netball players by providing us with the best physio’s and medical attention by Dr Kevin Subban. I can proudly say I have been cleared to play on court.

Q: So you playing league netball, again. How does it feel to be back on the netball court after injury?

Precious Mthembu: It feels really great to be back on court, especially being part of the amazing KZN superleague, this season. I would like to thank Mr Mkhize for allowing and taking the initiative of allowing the females to be involved in this league. I am happy to be off the bench as a member of Gilbert stars netball club. Being a player-coach at the same has taught me a lot. I am hoping to win the league again this year.

Q: Are you looking forward to the national netball league, this year? What are you hoping for KZN to achieve?

Precious Mthembu: Firstly, I am humbled by the call up I got to attend the nationsl team trials. That for me is an achievement especially coming from a serious knee injury. I would like to part of South Africa’s  2019 Netball World Cup team but if I don’t make the team, I am positive that the girls will bring back a medal around their necks.

Q: Would you still like to play pro netball outside of SA?

Precious Mthembu: Playing pro-netball outside SA is any players goal. Not only to be out the country but to just bring back that experience back to our clubs, provinces and national teams is the main aim. If I was given a chance and opportunity I would grab it with both hands.



Q: Tell us more about your coaching that you are very very much involved in despite still being a senior international player

Precious Mthembu: I was mentored and coached by Marchelle Maroun who relocated to Cape Town. She has been coaching me since high school.  I have learnt so much from her bringing along the experience of being coached by other SA coaches. Also, my being coached by one of the best coaches in the world sums everything up. SA netball team coaches, Norma Plummer and Nicole Cosack have so much knowledge and we try to learn as much as we can from them. I took over the KZN Superleague team, Gilbert Stars when I was injured, sharing the coaching with Michelle Seagul. I am enjoying it, especially because the group of girls that I coach are passionate and goal-orientated and that makes netball coaching life a lot easier. I am also a netball head coach at Danville Park Girls High School, in Durban. I am also the founder of the Waterloo Huskies Netball club.

Q: What is your training Programme as a provincial and international netballer?

Precious Mthembu: My training programme as a national player is quite intense. Being on the recovery journey has me realising I still have a lot of catching up to do. I train as much as I can with rest days in between. Each training session is just as important as yesterdays and tomorrows.

Q: Can SA win the World Cup, this year?

Precious Mthembu: Spar Proteas have an incredible chance of this year bringing back a medal and winning the World Cup. The 2019 first phase of Quad series proved that the girls have worked hard and are determined to change the netball ranking.

Q: What would you still like to achieve as a netball player?

Precious Mthembu: As a netball player my goal is to have 100 national netball caps. I would also want to make a huge impact on the young netball players. My other aim is to assist and help those who are not as privileged with training gears so they can also achieve their personal goals.

Q: And your plans after netball retirement?

Precious Mthembu: After I have retired and I am definitely looking into coaching the young provincial players.

South Africa’s Black Women Pro Golfers Need Money To Play Golf Tours By Cheryl Roberts

1 Apr



South Africa’s Pioneering Black Women Pro Golfers Want To Play Outside of SA But Need Funding

The Duma sisters – Siviwe and Yolanda – are South Africa’s first black women pro golfers. The wrapping of the 2019 Sushine Ladies tour, golf in SA’s pro golf circuit, saw the Duma sisters, from Mdantsane in East London, complete three highy successful years on the domestic pro tour.
Although yet to win a pro golf tournament, Siviwe and Yolanda have both been improving steadily over the past three years, since taking the professional plunge. Remarkable this is, when one considers they turned pro only in their middle to late twenties and had no corporate sponsor nor funder backing their pro golf journey.
They have made the cut in various pro golf events during their three
years on a tough and challenging circuit where every pro golfer wants to score big, lead and win. They have also had disapointing results, by their own standards. But they’ve also come back to perform much better. Look at their performance in this year’s South Africa’s Women’s Open played in Cape Town. Both Duma pro golfers struggled in windy conditions and both didn’t make the cut. Then they played the Joburg Open at Soweto Country Club, days later and both Siviwe and Yolanda made the cut with Yolanda hitting a leading round on the second day’s play and finishing the golf touranment in an incredible
6th position that earned her the biggest pay check of her pro life.

59BA1ABD-8FF7-4259-8DD2-A079304873B7Now, after two months of touring gof courses all over South Africa as
pro players, the Duma golfers have returned home to East London with lots of golf tournaments to play outside of SA but no money to get them there to the tournaments. In the meantime, they will practise and do some golf coaching and wait on the next edition of SA’s pro women’s golf tour, kicking off in about a year’s time.

‘We really want to play outside of South Africa like the other pro’s do. This will give us more more experience on  the pro tour’, says Siviwe Duma. ‘But we don’t have the money to maintain ourselves on the pro tours in Europe, Asia and USA,’ says Yolanda Duma.
I’ve written about the Duma pro golfers, before. I’ve noted how they are pioneering black women pro golfers. I’ve called for them to be assisted, with corporate sponsorship and funding. They are the role models for future black women pro golfers. They exist for black girls in golf to know they also can one day be pro women golfers.


When this year’s Sunshine Ladies Tour was nearing its wrap, almost all the pro golfers had future tournaments planned. Not the Duma golfers.
Without money and sponsorship, they knew the only place they were going after the pro tour in SA, was home to Mdantsane in East London.
Their money won for making the cut on the Sushine Ladies Tour is to purchase their golf bags, golf clothing and personal expenses. They are not sponsored and must purchase everything themsleves and personally cover all their golf expenss. They even raise their money to play on the pro tour by hosting golf days in East London.
Now, at a time when they should be playing the golf courses on the
European, Asian and North American pro circuits, South Africa’s first black women pro golfers, are constrained and kept back because of no sponsorship, funds and money. They are black women whose parents were oppressed by apartheid; have no generational inheritance to rely on.
There exists no sportswomen fund in SA that they can turn to and ask
for help. But at least, despite having no sponsor and outside
financial help, they have taken the plunge, believed in their worth
and gone on to become pro golfers at a time when no black women pro golfers existed in SA.