Black Sportswomen Say Enough is Enough: Black Lives Matter
Staff Writers, 27 July 2020
The #BlackLivesMatter movement has inspired activism around the globe to combat racism, white privilege and gender discrimination. South Africa’s black women in sport have added their voices to the chorus, saying they’ve had enough of prejudice in sport.
In an open letter released on 16 July 2020, a number of black sportswomen denounced the inequalities that have confronted them for many years and continues to confront them in sport.
“The women in sport and sportswomen want it known they are tired of being silent and quiet, tired of getting the crumbs in sport, tired of the racism and racial prejudice they face, tired of the white privilege that dominates much of South African sport,” explains signatory – and sport activist – Cheryl Roberts.
“The sportswomen say they’ve had enough of all of this and want it known that racism, racial prejudice, white privilege, gender discrimination and gender inequalities must be eliminated from the South African sports paradigm.”
The letter was signed by a wide variety of South Africa’s top intergenerational sportswomen, representing a range of sports, from athletics to fencing to rugby, from junior sport to international level.
“In this unequal society that we live in, we acknowledge the inequalities that exist in South African sport, especially gender, class and colour inequalities. We point out that discrimination based on these inequalities is vast in SA sport. Racism and racial prejudice has been with us throughout the post-apartheid era of sport, despite us believing we had a new dawn emerging for all sportswomen.
“This racism and racial prejudice is prevalent in most sports, from school sport to international level. We are tired of white-dominated sports teams still existing in 26 year old post-apartheid SA. We’ve had enough of black sportswomen always having to prove themselves much more than white sportswomen, especially in netball and women’s hockey and women’s cricket.
“We are tired of black girls being discriminated against in school sports where white coaches control selection in most school sports. We’ve had enough of white racist coaches who think white girls in sport are merit selections and black girls ‘must be developed’.
“We’ve had enough of gender discrimination in sport. Why can’t women’s rugby and women’s football national league get sponsored? Is it because these sports are black-dominated? Where are the black African women cricket coaches and black African women batters in the SA women’s cricket team? Why do so few black women get game time in netball and hockey teams? Where are the black women coaches in athletics? Why do men control and dominate women’s sports?”
“We, the sports women and women in sport are speaking out, with one voice. Hear our roars!”
The full list of 39 signees includes:
- Jo Prins – National League Netballer
- Noko Matlou – International Footballer
- Zanele Mdodana – Former SA Netball Captain; Netball Coach
- Thelma Achilles – Softball Umpire
- Phumelela Mbande – International hockey player
- Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe – Women’s Rugby
- Dumisane Chauke – National Netball Coach
- Zethu Myeki – Pro Golfer
- Rabia Isaacs – Softball Player
- Ntambi Ravele – Woman in Sport
- Nosipho Poswa – Girls’ Rugby Coach
- Aphiwe Tuku – International Fencer
- Jackie van Staade – Anti-Apartheid Tennis Player
- Anam Tose – Women’s Springbok
- Cheryl Roberts – Women in Sport Media
- Hlengiwe Buthelezi – Athlete
- Chuma Qawe – Woman Springbok
- Tania Lewis – International Volleyball Match Official
- Kgothso Montjane – World Class Wheelchair Tennis Player
- Mampho Tsotetsi – Former International Netballer
- Ruth Saunders – Handball Official
- Deejay Manaleng – Para-Athlete
- Malikah Hamza – National u21 Training Squad Girl hockey Player
- Nadia Mgulwa – Tertiary Sport Administrator
- Nadeema Levy – Touch Rugby Administrator
- Mel Awu – Tertiary Sport Administrator
- Nosipho Mthembu – International Canoeist
- Zoleka Bandla – Women’s Rugby
- Siviwe Duma – Pro Golfer
- Qeku – former Protea
- Thulisile Nhleko – former SA Fast5
- Palesa Bhasta- National Squad Player
- Nonhle Gwavu – former Protea
- Tumelo Nkoe – Netballer
- Simnikiwe Mdaka – former Protea
- Nthabiseng Moabi – former Protea
- Tsakane Mbewe – former Protea
- Refiloe Mochaka – former Protea
- Hazel Gumede – former Coach