Post-Apartheid South Africa’s World Class Women In Sport Photogaphic Essay By Cheryl Roberts

8 Aug

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

South Africa’s SportsWomen At Play In 25 Year Old Post-Apartheid South Africa

Photographs: Cheryl Roberts
(Photographs by Cheryl Roberts and are copyrighted)

After the horrendous apartheid regime deprived back women of resources and facilities in sport, democratic South Africa opened up opportunities with increased and much more provision of resources to participate in sport, especially at grassroots and community sport.

Noni Ntenge is a world boxing champion, holding multiple world champion boxing belts

National and provincial sports federations and structures had to also open up and create opportunities, particularly for the resource-deprived communities that were oppressed and ignored by the apartheid regime.


Chloe Tryon is an international cricketer

With a plethora of opportunities becoming available, sportsgirl and sportswomen talent surfaced and became visible. This talent went on to become provincial, national, world and Olympic champions.

Tatjana Schoenmaker

Tatjana Schoenmaker is a world class swimmer

And it wasn’t just the mostly still privileged white women who became the champions. Black girls and women also became national and international sports champions in democratic SA.


Kgothatso Montjane is a world class wheelchair tennis player

Despite opportunities being opened up coupled with more provision of resources and facilities, a litany of struggles still faced SA’s women in sport, especially the talented girls and women emerging from the depressed working class areas, communities, schools and towships.

Athlete Caster Semenya became World and Olympic champion in the 800m

For instance, getting training shoes, training kit, transport to and from sports training and events proved serious impediments to working class girls and women whom wanted to be in sport but whose families found it extremely expensive and luxurious to be paying for sports when survival in harsh living conditions still dominating in post-apartheid SA, was much more important.

Dune Coetzee is one of the wold’s best allround women cricketers

But the sportswomen persevered against the odds, despite their adversities because they wanted to be women and girls in sport and enjoyed being in sport. Throughout SA, many volunteer community and school teacher officials in sport helped the struggling girls in sport develop their participation in sport to higher levels; often using their personal time and money to fund this participation in sport. For the privileged girls in sport, money within their midle class and wealthy families was semingly always there to assist and ensure they were in need of nothing to participate in sport.

Phumza Maweni is a pro netballer and one of the world’s quality netballers

Post-apartheid South Africa has been blessed with women sports stars, women sports champions and women global sport superstars. Some have struggled to achieve and become the best in sport; others have been superbly talented and worked emphatically at training to find their performance levels.


Tsoanelo Pholo is South Africa’s highest ranked woman hockey coach and a continental champion coach

This women’s month in 25 year old post-apartheid South Africa, I present a visual narrative commemorating and celebrating South Africa’s sportswomen, centering black women who have surfaced from deprived and distressed working class communities, overcome adversitiy to become an achieving elite sportswoman.


Zanele Situ: Paralympic champion and medallist

Zanela Situ is a 2000 Paralympic champion and a parasport world ranked athlete


Thembi Kgatlana: South African football international

Thembi Kgatlane is a pro footballer and scorer of South Afria’s first world cup goal


Quanita Bobbs: South African international hockey player

Quanita Bobbs is an international hockey player


Bongi Msomi captained South Africa to the semifinals of the 2019 netball world cup


Zintle Ndawonde (rugby) and Precious Mthembu (netball) are international rugby and neball players

Sinazo Mcatshulwa is an international 7’s and 15’s rugby player

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