Archive | September, 2019

Photo Essay: Netball Offers Queer Men Safe And Enjoyable Space In Sport By Cheryl Roberts

26 Sep


Netball is a popular sport for girls and women and its also popular for men – that’s mostly queer men. Men’s netball is growing in numbers with men’s leagues being played all over South Africa, including provincial and national championships.

This Saturday past (21 September 2019) I watched in awe some men’s netball matches being played out in the KZN Super League. The players played fabulous netball. They displayed world class techniques and skills. They had the biggest crowds watching them play because they play fast, entertaining netball. Some of South Africa’s top netball teams and players come out of KZN netball. So when the chance arises to see these players in action, those at the netball courts gather to watch them play.


Its mostly queer men who play netball; some men are heterosexual, too. Netball offers the queer men a safe, enjoyable and happy space where they can participate in what is popularly known as a women’s sport, without fear of being teased and taunted for ‘being moffies playing a woman’s sport’. And there’s no homophobia on the netball court. Everyone is one big happy netball family, supporting, cheering and encouraging.

Saturday’s KZN Super League men’s netball matches captured my attention. I loved holding my camera and capuring the action of the men netballers. This is my photo essay…….















Township-Based Women Cricketers Get Selected For South African Team By Cheryl Roberts

18 Sep


They met on the cricket field. Their cricket journey happened at about the same time, through similar circumstances. It all started after both their parents passed away. They both followed their older siblings to the cricket field. They both started playing cricket at the same cricket club. They both went on to play provincial cricket for KZN. Today, they are both selected to play for South Africa’s women’s cricket team.
That’s 23 year old Nondumiso Shangase and 19 year old Nonkuleko Mlaba from Lindelani cricket club in Durban. They both went to township schools. They both started playing cricket at a township-based cricket club and never left the club.
After going to the cricket field out of curiosity, they both fell in love with cricket. Nonkuleleko started playing cricket about 6 years ago. Nondumiso started playing cricket about 5 years ago. Their interest in cricket started after both their parents passed away.
Nondumiso is from Inanda and stays with her grandmother. Nonkuleleko, originally from Kwa Mashu stays in Ntuzuma with her uncle’s family.
‘When my mother passed away we had our Gogo taking care of us. One day I went to the cricket field with my older brother to have something to do. I was 17 years old. Then I started liking cricket and started playing,’ says Nondumiso.
‘After my father passed away, I went to stay with my uncle in Ntuzuma. Then one day I followed my older sister and brother to the cricket field. I also wanted to bat and bowl. Then just like that, I was into the sport and playing the game,’ says 19 year old Nonkuleleko.
Lindelani cricket club is one of the development hubs of KZN Cricket. The cricket hub started out with the intention of developing boy cricketers. Then the girls came along, too and also wanted to play. And Lindelani women’s cricket was started. The girl cricketers soon progressed and soon they were playing for KZN age group teams.
Within 5 years Nondumsio was playing for the KZN women’s cricket team, had scored her first century in interprovincal cricket and was captaining KZN women’s cricket team. In 2018, Nondumiso was selected to attend the national women’s cricket academy. She got the selection for 2019, again. And she got her first call-up to the SA women’s cricket team. Nondumiso played for South Africa in the home series against Pakistan.
Last December, after finishing matric exams, teenage girl cricketer Nonkuleleko Mlaba played for KZN in the SA u19 school girls cricket week. There she stunned with the ball, taking wickets, including a hat-trick in one match. She was a late call-up to the national academy; wasn’t announced in the initial intake. She also wasn’t announced in the initial SA Emerging women’s team to play against Bangladesh. Then she got included. Nonkuleleko grabbed her opportunity and took wickets in the home series against Bangladesh. It was becoming difficult to ignore this talent.
Both Nodumiso and Nonkuleleko played in the recently launched inaugural women’s T20 Super league.
Then came the announcement of South Africa’s women’s cricket team to tour India. And both Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko were selected to be in the SA team. On Suday, Nondumiso and Nonkuleleko travelled to India with the SA team. It was their first flight and travel out of South Africa.
They are the girls from the hood, from working class families and township communities. They attended township schools. They play for a township cricket club. They held onto their opportunity to play cricket and never let it go.
Today, both Nondumiso Shangase and Nonkuleleko Mlaba are in India with the South African women’s cricket team. They are excited, a little nervous and ready to have the bat and ball in their hands and discover more of their talent, their playing quality and worth in international cricket.

SAFA Must Hold National Under 15 Girls Football Training Camps, Play u15 Internationals By Cheryl Roberts

18 Sep

South Africa starts much too late with the development of girl footballers. SAFA plays girl internationals only from under 17 level. What SA women’s football needs is for under 15 girl footballers to be developed and get international experience before they are playing under 17 football.
Several countries are tuned into girls football development and are already playing girls football internationals at under 15 and under 13 levels. A captured country like Palestine already plays under 13 girl football inernationals.
How does SAFA expect the national under 17 team to perform admirably and win against countries who’ve been playing u13 and u15 internationals and SA started its international girls football development just with u17 internationals?
Get this! South Africa’s national women’s football team is not world class. They not even African champions. We must develop the girl footballers so that in 5-8 years time, SA has a better chance of competing against the world’s better prepared and higher ranked teams. Girl footballers develop at a faster rate than older women footballers. Invest in the u13, u15 and u17 girl footballers and reap the positive dividends in the mid-2020’s.

A proposal is for SAFA to host a national under 15 girls football training camp in the upcoming school holidays. Call up about 30 under 15 girl footballers and play them in a ten day national training camp. Have a database of the under 15 players. Keep in touch with their club coaches and track their development.
Also, involve fomer internaional footballers such as Portia Modise and Jo-Anne Solomons in working with and coaching at the national under 15 training camp. These fomer players who are now coaching are still respected and remembered by the girl footballers. Most importantly, the coaches have lots to offer SA girl football development.


This under 15 girls football team should also be engaging in friendly intenationals. SAFA should arrange friendlies with Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Zambia. SA’sunder 15 girl football need to be developed now for under 17 world cup qualifiers in two years time.

Teenage Rugby Playing Twin Sisters Chuma And Chumisa Qawe Get Springbok Selection By Cheryl Roberts

17 Sep


At 19 years old, the Qawe twin sisters – Chuma and Chumisa – are some of the youngest players called up to the Springbok women’s team. They have emerged through youth girls rugby in Border and into the Border senior women’s team. This year, both Chuma and Chumisa represented SA u20 women’s team against Zimbabwe. And now, both players not their Springbok call-ups got the women’s rugby home series against Spain. 

I did a Q and A interview with the Qawe rugby playing twin sisters to find out about their talent in rugby and love for rugby. 

Q: Did you expect to get a Springbok call-up this year? What was your reaction when told of your selection?

Chuma: No, I didn’t expect to get a call from Springbok coach. So I was happy and nervous at the same time
Chumisa: No, I really didn’t expect to get a Springbok call up. When I did, I was too excited to join the Springbok camp.

Q: How did you start playing rugby?
Chuma: I started playing rugby in 2007 in primary school; playing with boys.
Chumisa: My twin sister was called up for Border trials for girls when coach Xoliswa asked for a centre. Then my twin suggested I should go and try my luck. That’s how my rugby journey started.

Q: What do you enjoy about playing rugby?
Chuma: It activates my thinking skills, keeps me busy in a way of keeping me away from troubles. For example I don’t have time for drugs, alcohol and other stuff besides gym and books. And more importantly, it introduces me to meeting and interacting with people. 
Chumisa: It’s because I always meet new people, it’s a great thing to make new friends and to learn other skills about my position.

Q: How are you enjoying being in the Springbok squad?
Chuma: I am enjoying being in the Springbok squad. 
Chumisa: Me too. I’m very much enjoying being in the Springbok squad.

Q: Would you like to play for a pro rugby club in a pro league?

Chuma: Yes  I would like to play for the pro rugby club in a pro league
Chumisa: Yes, me too. I would like to play for a pro club in a pro league.

Q: Which international women rugby players do you admire?
Chuma: The international women’s rugby player that I admire it Zintle Mpupha. I grew up wanting to be her and do what she does.  Like I used to play cricket Zintle and sometimes she would miss cricket practice and I will ask myself how does she manage to play rugby and cricket at the same time.
Chumisa: I admire the world’s best player and that’s Portia Woodman from New Zealand.

Q: Was your family involved in rugby?
Chuma: Yes. Some of them.
Chumisa: Yes, my brother and my cousins.

Q: Where were you born? Where did you go to school?
Chuma: I was born in the Eastern Cape. I attended primary school at Debe Valley Primary school and high school at Siseko High school.
Chumisa: In the Eastern Cape. I did my primary at Debe Valley School and then my high school at Siseko High School.

Q: What else do you do besides playing rugby?
Chuma: I used to play cricket but now I play rugby only.
Chumisa: I used to play netball but now I’m no longer playing it.

Q: Are you studying this year? Where? What are you studying?
Chuma: Yes. I am studying at Lovedale College doing HR
Chumisa: Yes. I’m studying at University of Fort Hare. I’m studying Human Movement Science

Q: Do you support your twin sister in rugby?
Chuma: Yes I do support her. 
Chumisa: Yes, very much. We talk about our games like what we did wrong and how we can improve.

Q: What would you like to achieve from playing rugby? 
Chuma: Ummh….. well to be well known all over the world as the best and the most respected players and inspire young kids
Chumisa: To be given opportunities to see how good I can play rugby.