White Privilege Selection In South African Women’s Sports Teams Must Be Disrupted By Cheryl Roberts

11 Dec


Despite post-apartheid South Africa being 25 years old, white domination of national and provincial sports teams in many, many sports still persists. But whites are a minority grouping in SA. Why is white domination of sports teams and white privilege being allowed to thrive in sport in SA?
Look at the women’s national and provincial teams in the sports of netball, hockey, swimming, waterpolo, gymnastics, squash, badminton, golf, cycling, canoeing. So much of these sports are elitist and dependent on money to participate in them. But for how many more years and decades and how much longer is this white domination of women’s sports teams going to be allowed?
Look at the selections for provincial and national girls and women’s teams in hockey and netball. It’s all about white priority selection with white girls and women dominating these teams. That’s not all! The white girls and women get much and most of the game time, when playing provincial and national events. The black players overall don’t get most of the game time, as this is reserved for the white players, especially in netball and hockey.
You can see the latest national women’s training squad of South African women’s hockey reveals a team dominated by white players. The head coach is a white male. In this latest SA women’s hockey squad of about 44 players, only 15 players are not white. Just the other day, a senior netball team and an under 21 netball team represented SA. And both teams were over 70 percent white-dominated.
I was shocked to see how white players dominated game time when the SA u21 netball played Lesotho in Cape Town. It was always about 5 white players out of 7, starting in the three matches SA played against a lowly ranked, struggling Lesotho team. Both the senior netball team and u21 team had black captains. But both team head coaches were white and both coaches gave most of the game time to white players.


We are shocked to see this white priority selection, especially in netball and hockey. Will South Africa’s 2020 women’s hockey team Olympic team be white-dominated? Will SA’s 2023 netball world cup team be white-dominated?
It’s not about the white players being the best players, with a few blacks here and there, to play for SA. Get this! Its about the white gaze and white superiority mentality that thrives in these white-dominated, white privilege sports!
Both netball and hockey have presidents whom are not white. Why do they allow this white priority selection and game time to thrive in the sports they lead? Black players (all those not white) have been developed in both sports and have attained world class levels in both these sports. So its not about black players needing to be developed and nurtured ‘forever’.
Look at the recent SA u21 netball team. The few black and coloured players had to compete amongst themselves for the minimal game time they got when SA played Lesotho in Cape Town in December. How are more black players gong to get selected for the national netball team when they getting so lttle game time and selection?
In the sports teams of netball and hockey, why is all got to be about protecting and looking after more white players than black players, giving more white players than black players, game time?
Get this! White coacches have a ‘white superiority’ problem. They must get it out of their heads that most white players are mostly superior to black players in sport. And black officials and conscious white officials in these sports must speak out, challenge and disrupt thsi white-domination and white priority game time.
We are going into the 2020’s and we dont want white dominated women’s sports teams representing South Africa. Black players must also be given their opportunities at selection and game time, just as that given to the white players.

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