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Black Sportswomen Must Not Be Marginalised In SA Sports Teams By Cheryl Roberts

22 Jul

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

We are living in 25 year old post-apartheid South Africa where opportunities for all South Africans are supposed to be real and exist. But this is not the reality in some sports, especially sports such as netball, hockey, swimming, fencing that are white-dominated from junior to senior represenation, from provincial to national teams.
Where are the black sportswomen in these sports, we have been asking for about 25 years. Why are they lacking and not being seen? Is it because they are not being given opportunities to show their talent, potential, prowess as white sportswomen?
Yes, some black sportswomen have come thru in these sports and that’s because their talent and international potential couldn’t be dismissed, even by those white coaches and selectors who embrace a ‘white is merit, black is development in sport’ gaze and mentality.
Its been a litany of struggles and challenges and call outs to those who officiate those sports that marginalise, ignore, sideline elite black sportswomen. Netball and hockey in SA are both guilty of turning out extremely white-domianted provincial and national teams.
And when black players have gotten the chance at being selected and given some opportunity, they have gone on to be world class sportswomen. Look at Phumza Maweni and Bongi Msomi in netball and Marcia Marescia and Quanita Bobbs in hockey! And its always about only 2-4 black women playing, 2-4 black women off.
Netball South Africa had it soooooo bad with white domination, that it was forced to introduce a policy some years ago of two black players always on the court of play at international level. Because it was just two black players, it never became more than two. It was surprising to see sometimes 3-4 black players on the court for SA in netball internationals over the past year.
SA women’s hockey is feeling the pressure, no doubt. Coaches are selecting more black players but their provincial and national teams are still white dominant and white players are given more game time to show their worth. In fencing, black women are SA fencing champions and ranked number one yet they not getting much international competition because there’s never funds to pay their particiption costs. But white women fencers always get out to international competitions.
There is some liberal thinking that we are one as women because our gender is discriminated against in society and in sport. Get this! But white women are not discriminated against as black women. White women have their white privilege that always comes thru for them, saves them even when they are mediocre and shouldn’t be selected ahead of elite black sportswomen.
Whilst we applaud sports achievements of South Africa’s sportswomen, we are also challenging for opportunities for black sportswomen, just like those given to white women in sport.
I started writing this by saying ‘we are living in 25 year old post-aparthied South Africa.’ And im saying that we don’t want white domination of national and provincial sports teams in sports such as netball and hockey. Officialdom of these sports must assess their white domination and ensure that black sportswomen are not kept out.
After all, who is talking up for the black sportswoman? Who is calling out black officials in sport that allow white – domination of provincial and national sports teams? And its not about ‘we are all sportswomen and the best sportswomen are chosen’. No, its not. Its about that colnial mentality persisting that ‘white is merit’ and we know that white is NOT merit.
Look at South Africa’s team at the netball world cup. It was a 75 percent white player team, an all white coaching team and all white umpires. What have you been doing in Neball SA in these 25 years to allow this white dominated situation to prevail and represent black population majority South Africa?
It is an inhumanity and injustice to ignore black sportswoman talent and potential. Eliminate the white, colonial mentality that believes ‘white is merit’. We demand South Africa’s black sportswomen be represented and given the opportunities to play in international teams. Black sportswomen have already proven themselves on the global sports stages. Why are you keeping back and keeping out black sportswomen?

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From Hood Cricket To International: Inanda’s Nondumiso Shangase Debuts For SA Women’s Cricket By Cheryl Roberts

28 May

 

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It was an international debut she won’t forget, not because of a debut wicket or run but a stunning catch that disrupted a high scoring partnership and got the wicket that SA so much needed when they played Pakistan in the third T20 game of the series. And it was a winning international for South Africa; for Nondumiso Shangase on debut.

Just a few weeks ago Nondumiso Shangase got her first national call-up for the home series against the touring Pakistan team. She didn’t play in the ODI’s but then was in the starting eleven for the third game of the T20 series. And her debut ws taking place in Pietermaritzburg in her home province KZN.

Whilst her SA team-mates are already establsihed in the SA national team at age 23, Nondumiso from Inanda in Durban was making her internatioanl debut. She started out in cricket at age 17, an age when some national team-mates had alraedy made their international debuts, taken international wickets and scored international centuries.

And, whilst the women cricketers in the SA teams were over the past 6 years or so crafting their international status, Nondumiso was crafting her way from grassroots club cricket in the hood to internaional playing levels.

From grassroots to international was achieved by Nondumiso within 6 years. She started playing cricket at 17 years old when she followed her older brother to the cricket field, one year after the passing away of her mother. She never stopped going to the cricket field. She never stopped playing cricket. She had fallen in love with cricket.

After turning out for Lindelani cricket club and playing with the boys in the club, it was onto playing women’s cricket when Lindelani formed a women’s cricket team, due to increasing numbers of girls joining the club. From club cricket it was onto playing for KZN Coastal women’s cricket team. She soon scored her debut century in povincial cricket. Then she got selected to attend CSA’s national women’s academy.

Soon, came the call-up to a national training camp, followed by another call-up. Then came the national breakthough when she got notified about her national team selection for South Africa against Pakistan.

‘I was so happy to get the national selection. I’ve been working very hard at my game. I’ve been dreaming about playing for SA and now it happened,’ says Nondumiso about her national selection.

Nondumiso Shangase is aware that keeping her place in the national team will require much quality performances. Nondumiso says she is going to work very hard to improve her game because playing for South Africa is her dream realised.

Class Inequalities Marginalise Working Class Girls In South African Hockey By Cheryl Roberts

28 May

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Disgusting: Lack Of Astro Turf Hockey Resources Marginalises Working Class Schools And Communities In  Hockey

 Hockey is not a mass sport in South Africa but is a popular sport for girls and women, especially at school level. However, the development and advancement of hockey is being controlled by the elite in the sport, those who have the resources, school facilities and money to participate in the sport. And subsequently control the structure, organisation and advancement of hockey.

What this control means for school girls is that working class schools are not only being marginalised in the hockey schools sports structure, but working class girls are not being given opportunities to develop in the sport.

Get this! The popularity of hockey as a school sport is largely supported to grow only at elite, suburban, private, resourced schools. That’s because present generation hockey is all about playing hockey on an astro-turf.

The working class schools, ever reliant on state exenditure and budget to fund their sports facilities, just doesn’t have the astro turf resources. Gone are the days when you played hockey on grass and sandy grounds, yet still triumphed as champions.

There exists a provincial and national school girls hockey competition, held annually in South Africa, backed by a corporate sponsor. The competition is open to school girl teams but its all about the participation and winning of the elite, rich, private and suburban schools who get to benefit from this school girls hockey tournament. Almost all schools located in working class communities and areas throughout South Africa just don’t enter this school girl hockey tournament.

Before entering and paticipating in the schools hockey championship, the working class school teams are already disadvantaged, coming from playing on uneven playing fields. Chances are they’ve never played on an astro turf and have never seen one. And then they are thrown onto an astro turf and expected to compete with the astro turf and superior hockey equipment-resourccd school teams.

 

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 In South Africa, hockey for girls is just about non-existent in working class schools and communities. Back in the day, during the horrendous apartheid era, all schools designated for ‘Coloured’ learners played hockey and had school hockey teams. Almost all ‘Coloured’ living spaces and areas had a women’s and junior girls hockey team.

World class Coloured girl and women hockey players surfaced in the anti-apartheid women’s hockey structures. However, hockey was not played in Black and Indian communities and schools. During apartheid, hockey was played by Coloureds and whites.

What has happened in 25 year old post-apartheid South Africa that hockey is now just a sport for the elite, suburban, wealthy schools and clubs? Why is hockey missing in working class communities and schools?

Its not only alarming but disgusting that girls hockey has been allowed to ‘die a slow death’ in working class communities. Yes, there are black, Indian and Coloured players playing hockey at provincial and national levels but these players have not made it through working class sports structures and schools. By attending the hockey playing schools and universities, they have made it through a very private, suburban, elite system of development.

South Africa’s controlling structure for hockey isn’t heavily corporate-supported. They get some sponsorship and funding here and there. Development of girls hockey and growth of hockey’s foundation is severely dependent on schools hockey. Most of the private, suburban and elite schools now have astro turfs. And the working class schools? That’s where astro turfs are non-existent.

Provincial and national girl and women hockey teams in South Africa are all white-dominated wih some blacks (all players NOT white) in the team. Most coaches and selectors of girls and women’s hockey in SA are white.

And then there is the white gaze that oversees ‘white is merit’ in hockey. The gatekeepers of white-dominated representation in hockey are in the schools and suburban clubs where white coaches and selectors see talent of mostly white players and advance the white players with the black players getting little game time on the field and much more bench time on the field.

 

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Girls and women’s hockey in South Africa must be challenged and called out for allowing white domination and advancement in hockey and presiding over the maginalisation of working class schools and communities; this, in 25 year old post-apartheid SA.

What is being noticed is that when a black woman coach is appointed at provincial and national level, she does select much more black players, plays black captains and gives much more game time to black players than their white counterparts.

Get this!  SA Hockey Association has got to address its white gaze and disrupt and eliminate the white gaze that prioritises white selection and player advancement in hockey.

Hockey in SA is not the preserve and ownership of the elite, private-schooled and whites. It belongs to South Africa and South Africans across social classes must be given opportunities to participate in the sport. Astro – turfs must be provided in working class communities and to accomplish this, government and corportae partnerships are needed.  Gatekeepers of white schoolgirl hockey must be cleansed of their ‘white is merit’ thinking!

When given the few chances that have come their way, black hockey players have taken them and go on to record world class performances for their schools, provinces, universities and national team South Africa. The era of white-dominated girls and women’s hockey ruling the hockey fields in SA must end because we’ve had enough of black girls and women being marginalised, ignored and benched whilst white players are favoured and supported in hockey development from school to international stage.

   

South Africa’s World Class Netballer Phumza Maweni Wants A World Cup Medal By Cheryl Roberts

28 May

 

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SA netballer Phumza Maweni knows what she wants from netball in this netball world cup year when the global netball championship, that comes round every four years, brings together the world’s qualified world cup netball teams to compete for the world cup trophy that comes round every four years. Phumza Maweni knows that she wants nothing more than a world cup medal.

‘Our South African netball team has been impoving consistently and we believe that we can be one of the best teams at this year’s netball world cup in the UK,’ says Phumza. ‘And we also believe we can medal at the world cup. We have the players, the team, the coach, management, the support’.

This will be Phumza’s second participation in a world cup and with her being on the other side of 30, albeit still a world class netballer, Phumza knows her world cup medal ambition must be attained at this year’s world cup, because it could be her last championship.

Pro netballer Phumza is presently signed to top Australian pro netball club, Sunshine Coast Lightning. ‘I’m really enjoying and loving playing for Sunshine Coast Lightning and playing pro netball in Australia,’ says Phumza. ‘I’m learning, improving, playing top quality netball.

‘Playing in the Autralian pro league helps a lot. I am doing more strength training and conditioning to build muscles. The games are much more competitive and the pace of the ball moves quicker,’ says Phumza about her Australian experience.

About her world cup selection for South Africa, Phumza says: ‘I am honoured and humbled to be selected. I want to play top netball at the world cup. I want to win a medal for myself as a netballer, my team, my country, my family and for all who participate in netball in SA.’

Whilst enjoying being in pro netball down under, Phumza says she misses her family and son. ‘I do miss home. Family is everthing. I phone my son, who is being take care of by my parents, twice day.’

Between now and the world cup, Phumza wants to play top of her game, and stay injury-free. ‘I want to give it my all at the world cup. I really want a world cup medal’, says Phumza.

 

SA’s Champion Amateur Girl Golfer Kajal Mistry Has Ambitions To Win At College In The USA By Cheryl Roberts

28 May

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Based on her academic and golf achievements, 18 year old amateur golfer Kajal Mistry has been awarded an academic/golf scholarship at a univerity in the USA. One of South Africa’s leading women amateur golfers, Kajal will begin her study/golf programe in the USA in August.

Since starting out with golf lessons from three years old, Johannesburg-based Kajal matured into an SA junior and senior amateur champion, regularly playing the national tournament circuit in SA and participating in several continental and global golf events.

With some free months on her side between finishing matric and awaiting USA college enrolment, Kajal played the 2019 pro women’s golf Sunshine Tour in South Africa, competing against and with the pro women golfers. The 18 year old amateur golfer didn’t win a pro tour event, but she came incredibly close to winning her first pro championship whilst still a teenage girl amateur golfer. At the conclusion of this year’s Sunshine Tour, Kajal Mistry was named as the pro tour’s ‘top amateur player’.

South African SportsWoman’ wanted to know more about Kajal and golf, so we asked the questions and she gave the answers……….

Q: Kajal, you had an amazing 2019 Sunshine Tour. Did you expect such incredible results, almost winning your first pro tournament, despite still being an amteur player?
Kajal: I always go into tournaments with the goal to win. I had never expected to almost win my first pro tournament, but knew that I was and am capable of winning a pro event.

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Q: You are still a teenage golfer. Have you achieved all your goals as a junior and senior amateur in SA?
Kajal: Unfortunately I have not. My goal was to win all the national flagship events in both junior and senior tournaments, and I missed out on winning the Nomads SA Girls.

Q: You’re going to the USA on a golf scholarship. What would you like to achieve as a college golfer in the USA?
Kajal: My goals are to win the Annika award and win the NCAA finals as a team and an individual.

Q: Are you likely to turn pro after college? Would you like to be a pro golfer?
Kajal: That is the plan! I’ve always wanted to compete as a professional golfer and am working towards that goal everyday.

Q: Whom do you admire in women’s golf?
Kajal: Maria Fassi

Q: What’s your training programme like? Are you every day on the golf course?
Kajal: I have a fitness and golf training program that I follow from week to week.

Q: Do you have a coach?
Kajal: Yes, Darren Witter at Randpark golf club. We have been working together since I was 3 years old.

Q: Women’s golf is growing in South Africa. What more can be done to increase and improve the profile of women’s golf in SA?
Kajal: Women’s golf has done an incredible job in raising the profile of amateur golf through traditional and social media avenues. Lots of work is being done to get more girls playing golf and that will grow the game.

Q: How did you get involved in playing golf?
Kajal: My parents introduced my brother and I to golf when we were very young. We started with golf lessons once a week and persisted with golf.

Q: Are you sponsored? Who pays for your expenses like travel, golf club membership, golf clothing?
Kajal: I am a member of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation. I joined the foundation in December and really appreciate their support, guidance and motivation.

Q: What would you like to achieve over the next 3-5 years as a South African woman golf?
Kajal:  I would like to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games.

Q: And your life besides golf? What else do you do and enjoy?
Kajal: Honestly, there is nothing better than lying on my bed and listening to music after a long day at golf. I watch a lot of movies and series.

Africa Must Protect African Sportswomen By Cheryl Roberts

22 May

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Africa Must Not Allow Sport To De-Humanise Black Women’s Bodies

 For too long white and European-dominated and centered sport has attempted to control blacks and Africans in sport, especially black sportswomen.

The decision by South Africa’s greatest athlete Caster Semenya to challenge a white and European-dominated sport such as the International Athletics Federation is the most significant resistance engineered by a black and African woman in sport.

And the decision by South Africa to appeal the Court of Arbitration in Sport judgement is even more incredibly significant in that the male-dominated, European controlled sports structures and forums are being challenged by the African sportswomen they want to control.

Get This! They are not only being challenged and told they are unjust and wrong, but they are being challenged by a woman. Not only a woman but a global sportswoman champion. That’s not all. The woman challenging European-centered sports officialdom is black and African.

I’ve said this and written this often! We must speak out, resist and challenge white, conservative and European-dominated sport when it seeks to impose its colonial, white male gaze on African sportswomen bodies.

That’s not all! We have got to challenge African sport not to agree with and support white male, European-dominated sport decisions, especially those that are aimed at controlling black sportswomen.

Its encouraging to see South Africa’s national government and national sports structures, together with millions of South Africa’s people speaking out, especially on social media against the IAAF and Court of Arbitration in Sport rulings.

But whilst we are challenging, criticising and attacking these European-centered sports structures, we are also facing our internal continental challenges with male-dominated African sport seemingly bowing to pressure from the white male, European gaze and decisions to decide whom and what is a woman in sport.

I recall, just a few years ago how South Africa, represented through women’s football challenged some African women footballers ‘for not being woman’ despite them playing in a women’s football tournament. Yes, our very own South Africa that’s screaming out at the IAAF and Court of Arbitration in Sport, had SA sport also calling out African women footballers who seemingly didn’t fit the ‘woman footballer’ image through their eyes and view.

It happened at the 2010 African continental women’s football championship held in South Africa. After South Africa lost to Equatorial Guinea in the semi-finals and thus missed a world cup qualifying berth, South Africa’s women’s football representation lodged a protest together with Nigeria, calling out some of Equatorial Guinea’s women footballers.

The representative of the SA women’s football team at the time, was horrendous in her ‘protest’; she called out the players as ‘intersex but not being girls.’ This is how The Guardian newspaper (26 November 2010) quoted the South African sports official:

“There was support (for the protest against Equatorial Guinea) today from the South Africa team, who lost to Equatorial Guinea in the semi-final. Fran Hilton-Smith, the South Africa manager, said: “I think they are probably intersex and they think they are girls. That’s the aspect that needs to be investigated. “Fifa has to come up with some specific medical gender tests to establish whether these players are intersex. If they have 100% testosterone that definitely gives them an advantage. They shouldn’t be banned but they should be helped.”

The attacks on black and African women’s bodies is horrendous, unjustified! Recent news about two Kenyan women athletes being left out of a Kenyan team because of perceived ‘high testosterone levels’ is horrific to comprehend. Which men took this decision about the women’s bodies?

Following the IAAF decision to proceed with its ‘higher levels of testosterone’ ruling, it was only the athletics structure of South Africa, represented by Athletics South Africa that challenged, called out and spoke out against the proposed decision of the IAAF. No other African athletics structure was as vocal or challenging as South Africa. Africa’s officials, except for one South African male official, remained on IAAF committees and were shockingly quiet.

The onslaught against Africa’s women athletes is underway by those who seek to employ their power and define, according to their white, male, European gaze the construction of a black woman’s body in sport.

Who is going to speak up for Africa’s sportswomen? We applaud and support the decision of African woman athlete Caster Semenya to challenge the world athletics structure. Here is a black woman athlete: resilient and fierce, fearless and brave daring to take on the moneyed, conservative, male European controlled IAAF. In doing this, global 800m athletics champion, Caster Semenya is doing this for All women athletes, especially black and African, whom the IAAF daringly wants to control.

The challenge of a sportswoman’s body structure and make-up isn’t just happening in athletics. Its happened in Africa, during continental championships. We are reminded of the challenge and protests against woman footballers of the Equatorial Guinea women’s football team that won the African championship in 2008 but had to endure a protest from Nigeria who claimed not all their ‘women footballers were women’. An Equatorial Guinea woman football player was forced to strip in front of CAF officials to ‘prove she was a woman’. SA was part of this protest and the de-humanising behaviour aimed at the woman footballer.

Africa’s sportswomen are talented. They are world, global and Olympic champions. They have varying and different body make-ups. We must nor endure nor support white, European-centered, colonial thinking men, together with colonised mentalities of African sports officials deciding how and when they shall control African bodies in sport.

Fierce resistance, warrior action by all Africans and all of Africa is needed to counter and disrupt attempts to control the black and African woman’s body in sport. Global champion Caster Semenya is leading the resistance; we must stand with Caster Semenya and Africa’s sportswomen and know we are doing such because no black and African sportswoman must ever be de-humanised, controlled, objectified by those men who seek to control an African woman’s body.

Stop Ruthless Scrutiny Of Black Sportswomen By Cheryl Roberts

2 May

 

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Stop Ruthless Scrutiny Of Black Sportswomen By Eliminating The
Horrendous White/European Gaze

Stop White Supremacist Control Of International Sport

The suffocation and strangulation of black sportswomen must be
curtailed! And this must be done by removing and eliminating
altogether the horrendous white and European colonial gaze that
insists on profiling black sportswomen on European, colonial terms.
We’ve had enough of the ruthless and aggressive scrutiny of black
sportswomen. When black women emerge as champions, they are always being questioned about how they got there. And who does the questioning and scrutiny? It’s the white, colonial thinking, European and Australian men; always looking to ‘blame and question something’ about the black sportswoman champion.
The most violent, ruthless, horrendous and vicious assault being shot at champion black sportswomen, is the attempt to ‘own’ a black champion woman’s body! Can you comprehend this ruthlessness! They want to OWN the make-up and structure of a black woman’s body. This has
never been done with a white sportswoman.  At this juncture, why is this attack specifically levelled at black champion Caster Semenya?
With most officialdom of international sport still in the hands of obnoxious and narcisistic white and European men who are not feminists nor are they anti-sexist, anti-misogyny, anti-racism campaigners, you are assured of the presence of black sportswomen being always
subjected to horrific and inhumane scrutiny. And, that is scrutiny from a white, colonial and European gaze saturated with racist, sexist, misogynistic opinions about black women in sport.
But it’s not just the white and European men, together with their
Australian counterparts who are intent on aggressively profiling black sportswomen. Their allies, sympathisers, supporters are the white women, too like that racist, white supremacist Katie Hopkins and many elite sportswomen.
Over the decades, with sports officialdom in the control of white and European men, who powerfully project their colonial and white supremacist attitudes, black sportswomen are continuously subjected to
opinions about their body structures and make-up and clothes being worn on their bodies. This scrutiny, criticims and racist profiling is most intense when the black woman is a champion.
For how much longer must black women in sport be subjected to the
taunting gaze and opinions of white, colonial-saturated thinking,
European and Australian men. For how much longer are black women’s bodies going to be dissected and torn apart?
We all know that a champion black woman athlete like Caster Semenya is being specifically targeted. Is this because she is black and a supreme champion? Such is Caster Semenya’s athletics prowess, that no white woman can get to be champion in the 800m events on the athletics track. But Caster Semenya was born with her body; there’s no artifical make-up about Caster Semenya’s body.
And with the whining and crying, the white and European, conservative men responded to white women’s fears and crying, by deciding to control the biological make-up of a particular black woman athlete.
For now its champon Caster Semenya. Tomorrow and therefafter its other black women in sport who seemingly ‘don’t  look the part’ of those prying racist, misogynistic eyes and minds.
Get this! International sport cannot and should not have these white, European, Australian men and all others like them, in positions of power. If the Court of Arbitration in Sport wants to be known as just, fair and credible with integrity then it must rule on the elimination of this male officialdom from international sport.
How can CAS, established to ensure fairness exists in sport,
effectively rule in favour of a sport federation’s proposed ruling to
‘lower testosterone levels in women athletes’ in certain events when reality indicates that this is unjust, inhumane and should not be done.
Participating in sport the world over, the playing fields are never
level for black women in sport. Because of their inherited
generational privileges, it’s always the privileged and white
sportswomen who are awarded the benefits with better training
facilities, sponsorship and media ahead of black struggling
sportswomen.
Colonialists robbed Africa, plundered African countries into dire living coditions with robbery of our resources and money. They left Africa struggling to hold on. From the dusty sports fields, out of
these battles and struggles have emerged champion African sportswomen who now dominate the global sports stages and sports events.
And because colonialists and racist Europeans are accustomed to
dominating black women, they just can’t take it when black women are there in sport as world, Olympic and global champions.  So how do the European, white, colonial-thinking men and their women allies respond?
By opting to unjustly control black sportswomen bodies because they
have some power to do this.
This control must not be allowed. Eliminate the white and European men from sports officialdom. Disrupt male control of international sport.
Ensure that conscious women – not racist women – are in positions of power.
Its difficult winning against European officialdom and those who have the power and money when a court of arbitration is there to support European officialdom. Get this! Black sportswoman champion Caster
Semenya has only ‘lost’ an appeal. Caster Semenya has not lost her
athletics prowess that she was born with, developed and advanced through years of hard and intensive training and without the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The body of black woman athlete Caster Semenya is authentic and honest. The ruthless profiling and aggressive scrutiny of black sportswomen bodies, largely from the gaze of white, European and Australian men and their white crying women, is condemned and resisted.