Blue and Gold Issue 3 2019

Page 1

the official uwc sports magazine

women's month special edition 2019



Women in sport, redefined


IN SPORT a force of nature

Thembi Kgatlana


poster inside

issue 3

mandla's message

2 Blue and Gold

that women are accepted as equal partners in society. Nelson Mandela said “freedom cannot be achieved unless the women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression”. Coming to UWC Sport, I appreciate the foundation that my predecessors laid in ensuring that there is no discrimination between male and female athletes. All our sporting codes are required to have a men and women’s section. In 2018, we also took a resolution that, from 2020, all women’s teams must be coached by women. This is one of the steps aimed at breaking patriarchy in sport. I must also pay tribute to my female colleagues at UWC Sport. I marvel at how Elmien Cloete has turned our rugby club around. Rugby is a sport that is still dominated by men at all levels and I am sure that there must have been a few mumblings when I appointed her as rugby administrator in 2016. This single mother ensures her daughter gets to school every week and still gets to work to give her best without complaint. On top of this, she is also busy with her Masters research in Sports Science, focusing on High Performance. To prove she belongs in the same league as some of the best male administrators, she was appointed as the team manager for the USSA National Women Rugby 7s that participated at the 30th Universiade in Napoli. Then there is the young dynamo, Nadia Mgulwa. She has proved that when a man fails, one must always call on a woman. Our hockey was almost non-existent with just one team (the women’s) playing in the league. That is until Mgulwa took over towards the end of 2016. Since then, our hockey club has grown from one social team to three competitive teams (two women’s and one men’s). Our men’s won promotion to the higher league in the Western Province for the 2019 season and both men and women’s teams are on course to winning the USSA B Section in order to get into Varsity Hockey. Our vibrant cheerleading club is also Mgulwa’s creation. She recently spearheaded a collaboration with GSport for Girls with the aim to open a platform for women in sport at UWC where they can share ideas and establish programmes for the development of women in sport. In addition, she must juggle her work with

academics as she is enrolled for a Masters in Sports Science, focusing on Recreation. I must also take my hat off to the following women for keeping our ship afloat: Avril Langeveld, who is one of the senior staff and her job as a bookkeeper ensures we stay in line with all the University’s financial protocols. Without her, I am sure we would be broke within the first three months of the year; and Maria “Aunty Maria” Petersen, who is not only responsible for cleaning our offices but also takes care of all our teams’ kits. She ensures all kits are washed, packed and ready for the next match. One thing she does not like is to see a UWC team running onto the field wearing unwashed kits. The only time you don’t want to chat with her is after our rugby or football teams lose a match. I am close to all these women because I admire and respect their principles, passion and drive to see UWC Sport succeed. All of them play a huge role to our successes. Lastly, there is one very important woman without whom I would not achieve what I have already: My wife, Nandipha. Any woman married to a sportsman knows the hardships of raising kids alone as their dad is away on business. And, just like my mother, Nandi has never complained about my travels; instead, she has always been supportive and keeps motivating me to be the best in whatever I do. In conclusion, it is our responsibility as men to not only tolerate women but to accept them as our equals.

Mandla Gagayi Director of Sport, University of the Western Cape

Image: Courtesy


he first half of 2019 has been very eventful. We experienced our first Varsity Cup season and our basketball men won the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Western Cape Basketball Championships. And who can forget the Rugby Legends Gala Dinner that gave us the opportunity to meet the first ever University of the Western Cape (UWC) Rugby 1st team? To prove that our students are not just about sport, 30 student athletes graduated (including yours truly). On the international and highperformance fronts, we had a record number (15) of student athletes selected into USSA national teams for the 30th Universiade in Napoli, Italy, we finally got our high-performance gym kitted and our UWC BestMed Fast and Flat 10 km race doubled its entries from 2018. All these “little” things are what make me sleep well at night and wake up the following morning looking forward to getting to work. Enough with gloating; let me get down to some more pressing matters. The one which I will address in this edition is the lack of recognition of the role that women play in our society, including sport. My regular preface to any discussion that relates to the role of women is the following quote from Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights: “No person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds in terms of subsection (3). National legislation must be enacted to prevent or prohibit unfair discrimination”. Whenever my friends and colleagues bring up the topic about the role of women in society, I think of my late mother. I still cannot comprehend how she managed to raise my siblings and I (with her domestic salary) to be what we are today. There were months when my father would be without work and, during those difficult times, I never heard my mother argue with my father. She just went about her responsibilities to ensure we never went to bed hungry. We were not rich or well-off but my mother taught us to always believe that we are not poor. Now, when I reflect on her teachings, I realise that the reason she did not want us to accept our “poor” status was because she knew that once we accepted it, we would lack the ambition and drive to get out of our “accepted” status. It is my late mother’s memories that push me to want to do more to ensure




t hembi time

Kgatlana on top of the world 10 U WC made me a world beater

Bok Babalwa bashes stereotypes 12 s emenya's plight a smokescreen for coloniality

Dr Simone Titus on the Caster Semenya saga 14 p roteas ace's innings for equality

Steyn lauds UWC’s cricket programme 15 r ogail joseph on track to the top

“Power of sport changes lives” 16 p oster

Thembi Kgatlana 18 p etunia's quest for gold in africa

Sprinter has eye on academic career 19 b ehr makes it big

Netball star reflects on going pro 20 m aking your brand blossom

Keesha’s tips on building your profile 21 o vercoming gender bias through sport

Sexual violence in sport a reality 22 b okking the trend

UWC alumna makes history 23 s porting chance

Nadia is a hero behind the scenes 26 h ow science can change the game

UWC strives to “build active, winning nation”

features 7

b oosting banyana

UWC a bedrock of women’s football 24 r edefining womanhood

Breaking barriers on and off the field 27 b e body positive

Mentioning the unmentionable

guest Contributors

John Goliath is a seasoned writer and editor with almost 16 years’ experience in the sports media industry. Goliath has worked for two of the biggest newspapers in South Africa, and recently worked as a digital sports editor for ESPN Africa, the world’s largest sports media organisation. He has covered some of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South Africa and the 2008, 2013 and 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournaments. Additionally, he covered the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

Roger Sedres is an internationally acclaimed photographer whose career spans 30 years. He has worked at four newspapers based in Cape Town, most notably as the chief photographer of Die Burger, photographing former South African president Nelson Mandela’s presidency as well as the State visit by former United States president Bill Clinton. His images have appeared in newspapers and magazines around the globe. He also regularly gives back to the community when he presents inspirational photographic talks to high school children in vulnerable areas across Cape Town at no cost.

regulars 2




28 29

message Vice-Chancellor’s message Editor’s note Sports wrap

Printing proudly sponsored by

INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT DIRECTOR Patricia Lawrence • UWC SPORT DIRECTOR Mandla Gagayi • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Gasant Abarder • EDITOR Myolisi Gophe • COMMISSIONING EDITOR Nashira Davids • MANAGING EDITOR Nastasha Crow • EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Taygon Sass • ART DIRECTOR Mish-al van Rijmenant • COPY EDITOR Zainab Slemang van Rijmenant • EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTORS Amy Myers, Babalwa Latsha, John Goliath, John Thwaits, Prof Marion Keim, Dr Marié Young, Dr Simone Titus • IMAGE CONTRIBUTORS ASEM Engage on behalf of Varsity Sports, BackpagePix for Cricket South Africa, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages, gettyimages/, Harriet Box, Plein Productions, Roger Sedres/Image SA, SA Rugby • PRINTERS Trident Press, proudly sponsored by Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages COVER AND POSTER IMAGE Getty/Gallo

Blue and Gold 3

dvc message Thembi’s story must not lull us into a false sense about exactly how difficult it is for women athletes to succeed. Even when women athletes rise to the very top of their sport, as is the case with SA athlete Caster Semenya, the world will find a different way to place obstacles in their paths. At UWC, we seek to enhance the student experience by offering the widest opportunities possible for our sportsmen and -women to excel. Sport can open the door to tertiary education. Once a student enrols at UWC, they must be under no illusion that their primary focus will be the academic programme — the variety of co-curricular programmes and activities on offer are geared to enhance their academic performance. We are not an institution that sets out to produce Banyana Banyana or Springbok Women’s players. But when we do, it is because there is a very deliberate programme of action in place to give students every possible chance to succeed. It is no accident that at UWC, five of its former women’s footballers are in the Banyana Banyana squad. At least 10 more play professional football around the world. These women are able to lead on the field of play at the World Cup, in the boardroom or in the science lab precisely because they have received a student experience at UWC that has prepared them for every scenario life throws at them. They will — or have — graduated from UWC knowing that Banyana Banyana goalkeeper Kaylin Swart

Even when women athletes rise to the very top of their sport, as is the case with Caster Semenya, the world will find a different way to place obstacles in their paths while a sportswoman’s life has a short lifespan, there is a career waiting for them the day they retire from sport. In this special edition of the Blue and Gold magazine, to commemorate Women’s Month, we celebrate our UWC women in sport. All of these remarkable stories have a common thread: Resilience, courage in the face of adversity and the dogged determination to never give up. Yet, these women are not only (s)heroes of sport; they are so much more. They are the next generation of remarkable SA women in science, health, education, the arts, research, technology and academia.

Professor Pamela Dube Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Development and Support, University of the Western Cape 4 Blue and Gold

Images: Courtesy of gettyimages/


t wasn’t a surprise when number 11 received the ball outside the Spanish box and proceeded to score with an exquisite chip in the top corner. At once, history was made. That number 11 became the first South African women’s footballer to score in South Africa’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup match. We have come to expect these kinds of feats from our Thembi Kgatlana. The trajectory of the UWC alumna on the world footballing stage illustrates she doesn’t do half measures. Over the past year, she has been voted Africa’s top women’s footballer and scored a wondrous goal at the most recent African Women Cup of Nations (Women AFCON) tournament. But it is Thembi’s ability to take this all in her stride that is a trait of UWC athletes. There is a resoluteness in our athletes that is rarely seen anywhere else. Thembi spoke of it when she visited the campus earlier this year to celebrate her achievements. “As a black female athlete raised in the township, we are often faced with challenges, and I had to learn to rise above all negative things to reach my dreams,” she told the cheering crowd. “It is not easy making a career out of football in South Africa as there are no professional football teams here. I hope my story of success inspires and serves as a beacon of hope to all young women... I would like to thank the UWC community for the support they have given me over the years.”


THEMBI TIME Kgatlana on top of the world By John



Images Courtesy

t was always likely that Thembi Kgatlana was going to do something spectacular at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2018. After all, the Banyana Banyana striker is a grand player who truly loves the grand occasion. But when Kgatlana rattled in South Africa’s opening goal against Spain with a thunderous long-range effort, she again reminded us of her undoubted talent and the ability to leave football lovers around the world breathless with her skills and quality. In the process, the 23-year-old Kgatlana also joined Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy as the first South Africans to score at their team’s first respective World Cup appearances. It was a little moment of history, which was more than just a little spectacular. UWC’s Banyana superstar has established herself as one of the top footballers on the planet. She is the reigning African Women’s Footballer of the Year and has also won the award

6 Blue and Gold

of gettyimages/ and Roger Sedres/Image SA

for Goal of the Year at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards. At 23, she has the world at her dazzling feet. She definitely enjoyed the strike against Spain — although it did not surprise her after she received crucial advice from the team’s wise head coach, Desiree Ellis, before the tournament kicked off. “The coaches have always encouraged me to shoot. They tell me that I get into good positions and I’m quicker than most players,” Kgatlana says. “Most of the time, I just want to score easy goals but that day, when we played Spain, I decided to take the shot and it went straight into the goal. If you don’t take a chance, you can’t score!” However, Kgatlana’s wonder strike was one of the few highlights for the 2018 Women AFCON finalists. Banyana ended up losing all three matches in their group against Spain, China and Germany. But the experience will do Ellis’ charges the world of good. It was their first taste

of the World Cup, having previously experienced the Olympic Games and AFCON a few times; the World Cup is a jewel in the crown of women’s sport. “It’s everyone’s dream to represent their country at the highest level. I’ve been to the Olympics and have been to the Women AFCON on three occasions. But this was on another level,” Kgatlana says. “For me, it was an amazing experience — different from all other tournaments in terms of professionalism and the whole set-up. People fill up the stadiums and want to see good football. They want to see goals. They want to see girls playing soccer, which is great for us. “It was an experience for us, the first time qualifying for the World Cup. If you look at our group, the three teams we played were ranked higher than 20. We are only ranked 49th in the world.” Now it’s back to Beijing, China, for Kgatlana, who has mastered the art of flawlessly eating with chopsticks and eating food that’s, er, a bit bland after choosing the Far East over the United States to further her football career. “The food is different. They cook the food and eat it the way it is — no pepper, no salt. At first I thought, ‘What did I get myself into’. But four, five months down the line, I’m enjoying it,” she says. “I’m enjoying the food and I know how to use chopsticks! I love a Chinese hotpot.” One thing’s for sure, Kgatlana will never, ever be a bland footballer.

on the cover

By John

Goliath Images Courtesy of Roger Sedres/Image SA, gettyimages/ and Harriet Box; Richard Huggard/Gallo Images for Kaylin Swart


BANYANA UWC a bedrock of women's football

Jermaine Seoposenwe


he University of the Western Cape played a big part in the liberation struggle during the dark days of apartheid. The stench of teargas and the smoke stemming from burning tyres regularly enveloped UWC during the turbulent 1980s. But it’s at “Bush” where anti-apartheid groups such as the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the African National Congress’ (ANC) Women’s League started to mobilise in the Cape. It’s here

where people such as Jakes Gerwel and Rhoda Kadalie helped turn the tide against the National Party’s evil regime. These days, the University is fighting a different battle. It’s not quite a battle for freedom. It doesn’t involve violence and there will certainly be no burning of tyres. But the impact of this fight is set to leave a lasting legacy at UWC. In some ways, it already has. Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in South Africa, and the

University is playing a profound and telling role in promoting the code and giving young women the great opportunity of fulfilling their dreams on a global stage. Over the last few years, UWC has greatly contributed to the success of SA’s national football team, Banyana Banyana. In fact, it essentially became a feeder team for the national age-group teams, USSA women’s football team and, of course, Banyana. In June alone, five UWC students (four former players and one current player)

Blue and Gold 7

on the cover were picked for the Banyana FIFA Women’s World Cup squad while seven students (three former and four current players) represented the USSA women’s football team at the University Games in Italy. Among those who played at the World Cup in France was reigning African Women’s Player of the Year Thembi Kgatlana, who has become one of the hottest properties in the world game, Bongeka Gameda, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Leandra Smeda and Kaylin Swart. Thinasonke Mbuli, UWC’s women’s football coach is also an assistant coach with Banyana and took charge of the USSA team in Napoli. The key strategy to uplift women’s football at UWC has been to pump more resources into the code — even more than what the men receive — after the University realised the women’s team outperforms their male counterparts. “Our approach to sport is to give equal attention to both women and men’s codes,” says UWC’s Head of Sport Mandla Gagayi. “The women’s football programme has been there since the early nineties but it only really started to get serious in 2010. Before that, it was just considered a recreational sport. “From 2010, we realised we do have the talent, and we have to respect and Thembi Kgatlana

8 Blue and Gold

acknowledge our women footballers as equals. Former coach Nathan Peskin did a fine job in creating that platform. “When I joined UWC in 2015, the first thing I looked at was funding, how much women get compared to their male counterparts. Given that our women’s footballers bring greater value than men’s, we channel more resources to women’s football. They are the biggest performers next to rugby,” Gagayi adds. UWC is the third-ranked women’s football team in South Africa and are attracting footballers from all over the country. Their reputation precedes them, according to Gagayi. The University does not spend big money on scouting nor lures players with massive bursaries. Instead, they have created a family environment and look after their own — on and off the field. “We have established good relationships with different clubs, people phone us to have a look at different talent. We know by now they don’t recommend mediocre players,” Gagayi says. “We also don’t offer big bursaries like other universities but you get a full-course scholarship. The players also know that with us, they will come into a great environment where we

Coaching tomorrow's stars

Coach Thinasonke Mbuli says the University’s participation in a proposed national professional league will give UWC even more pulling power to lure the cream of South Africa’s top female football talent to Bellville. Mbuli, who is also a Banyana Banyana assistant coach as well as the coach of the USSA women’s football team, is a bit of a drawcard herself, having worked with some of the country’s best players over the last few years. “We have done very well in terms of recruitment over the last few years. The players recognise that UWC gives them the best of both worlds in terms of education and sport,” the popular coach says. “But now that the pro league is just around the corner, we will probably see more players looking to play their football at UWC. It’s a great situation for us to be in and it will only make us stronger.” Mbuli believes the league, which is meant to kick off in August — although everybody involved is still waiting for confirmation from the South African Football Association (SAFA) — will boost Banyana even more following a rude awakening at the FIFA Women’s World Cup. After making the final of AFCON in 2018, Banyana lost all three of their group matches at the showpiece event in France. “For any country to keep producing quality players, they have to compete at the highest level. The national league will be the highest level of football in South Africa,” she says. “The difference between us and the rest of the world is we don’t have a professional league set-up. If we can get our players playing highly competitive games week-in and week-out, we can reach that next level. “If you look at the teams who were in our group — Germany, Spain and China — they all have a pro league in their country.”

Bongeka Gameda

Leandra Smeda

Kaylin Swart

take care of their medical and nutritional needs as well. “We are a family. It’s not just about sport; we want to see you eventually leave with a degree as well.” Kgatlana, who these days plies her trade in China, agrees that UWC is probably the best place for young women to kick-start their career and fight for higher honours. “The university is at the forefront in terms of developing women’s football stars. If you look at the number of players they produce for Banyana Banyana and the USSA team, they are doing an outstanding job,” the Banyana striker says. “They have the best sport director in South Africa in Mandla, who influences you to work hard on the pitch as well as in the study halls. The University puts in an unbelievable effort to also make sure that sportsmen and -women also focus on their careers outside football. I’ll proudly say, whether you’re based in Cape Town or outside the Western Cape, UWC is the best option for young women footballers

The key strategy to uplift women’s football has been to pump more resources into the code — even more than what the men receive who want to focus on their sport as well as their academics.” UWC is also set to play in SA’s first professional league for women but the lack of sponsorship is still keeping the code from really reaching its full potential. The gulf in class between Banyana and their World Cup counterparts was substantial. The South Africans ended up losing all their matches against Spain, China and Germany. All those countries have a highly

successful women’s football league. South Africa does not have full-time professionals playing inside the country’s borders as yet. The professional league, meant to kick off in August, sees UWC as the third-ranked team in the country, having qualified to play in the league as a football club. But, says Kgatlana, who has also played in the United States, more must be done to uplift women’s football in SA. “The problem is our mentality. The people in important positions are males so they will first look after the males. We’d have a lot more progress if we had females in the boardrooms making those decisions. Males can’t make decisions about females. They don’t know what we go through. Everyone talks about developing women’s football but they aren’t putting the money where their mouths are. When you say Banyana deserves better wages, put your money where your mouth is, corporate SA.” For now, UWC is doing a fantastic job in promoting the women’s game in South Africa. However, the struggle continues.

Blue and Gold 9


UWC MADE ME A WORLD BEATER Bok Babalwa bashes stereotypes By Babalwa


rom hope to action through knowledge. No saying or motto resonates with me more. Having completed my studies towards a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at UWC, I’ve come to the realisation — even more so, the appreciation — of the sporting journey I undertook with UWC five years ago. Young and ambitious, the world was my oyster. I knew I had come to the right place. I had found a home at UWC. I was given the opportunity to hone my athletic abilities and build myself up to what I am today. By no means was this journey an easy one. Having come from one of the most notorious of townships in Cape Town, Khayelitsha, where the survival of a young, black female is minimal, I knew all too well the difficulties that I would face but, in my heart, I knew that I was not going to be a statistic. That was not my fate.

10 Blue and Gold


Images Courtesy

of SA Rugby and Babalwa Latsha

It was through toil, grind, commitment and courage that I escaped the drug and alcohol abuse and violence that is rife in our communities. UWC Sports was my escape. I became a women’s rugby player at the university. I came from nothing and knew I had to grab all the opportunities that rugby and UWC presented to me. As a young, black woman playing rugby, I have endured being ridiculed and scoffed at. Rugby has taught me to persevere, to stand up for myself and to be a motivation to others. We may live in a world where abject poverty and violent crimes are rife, where life expectancy is low and where women do not have agency yet we can still overcome adversity. You can succeed; you can win. You can get an education through sport. You can elevate yourself and empower others. Many young women athletes are not given platforms; they are isolated, lacking

an education and living in poverty. UWC has given me the platform to display my talent to the world. UWC has given me the opportunity to have an education, to be the voice for young female athletes who aspire to greatness. UWC has given me hope and ignited my desire to take action towards a brighter future. I draw inspiration from Caster Semenya and Serena Williams. These are women who are groundbreakers, who are not afraid to live their truth, who break all stereotypes and refuse to accept mediocrity as the norm — so much so that the world is starting to listen and speak a different narrative because of them. I train extremely hard and have built my physique to be able to handle the rigorous sport of rugby and to compete with elite athletes yet I am ridiculed and sometimes ostracised, even by other women. I continue to be inspired by these phenomenal women as a result.

i came from nothing and knew I had to grab all the opportunities that rugby presented

Today, I am the two-time Inter-Provincial League winning captain. I am the captain of Springbok Women, a Sevens Rugby World Cup participant, UWC’s Women Achiever of the Year 2018, UWC’s Sportswoman of the Year 2018 and UWC’s Women Rugby Player of the Year 2018. I am member of Team South Africa competing in the World Student Games in Italy (which started this past July).

Today, I emerge as a new woman, a holder of an LLB degree, a UWC alumna, a supreme female athlete and a world-class rugby player. Wherever I am in the world, UWC will always be well-represented. UWC is my identity and I am proudly UWC.

Babalwa Latsha is a UWC alumna and a South African rugby player.

Blue and Gold 11


SEMENYA’S PLIGHT A SMOKESCREEN FOR COLONIALITY Dr Simone Titus on the Caster Semenya saga By Dr


Simone Titus

he International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) ruled against the appeal to participate in athletics in her natural state by unbeaten 800-metre world champion and South African athlete Caster Semenya. Instead, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) compels “hyperandrogenic” athletes to artificially lower their testosterone levels. For the past decade, Semenya has argued that she should be afforded the right to compete in her natural state and that her unique athletic ability should not be regulated. The ruling this past June has come under scrutiny from coaches, athletes and various other stakeholders. As a female, as a participant in sport and as a scholar, my position on this considers how various principles of coloniality produces and reproduces structures that perpetuate hegemonic masculinity and keeps women of colour banging their fists at the glass ceiling. Firstly, let’s ponder the fact that the CAS board is exclusively white. This begs some consideration about how coloniality of power is embedded in Western and Eurocentric beliefs about who gets to compete in these competitions and in which state. These supposed norms, for some reason, require regulation and is manifested in this ruling, which is steeped in largely dominant epistemologies embedded in global structures such as CAS. This Euro-American-centric hegemonic, heteronormative representation of a modern power structure cannot — and should not — be ignored as there lies a bias and prejudice of identity as it relates to Semenya’s biological idiosyncrasies. This creates a very dangerous space for the West to purvey misinterpretations, misunderstanding and devaluing of the “Other”. Saartjie Baartman was cast as

12 Blue and Gold

Images Courtesy

of Roger Sedres/Image SA

a “freak” and gazed upon as an anomaly of human creation, to be prodded and scrutinised with no regard for her dignity. The other point to ponder is whether CAS has considered imposing the same restrictions on Semenya’s male counterparts and other prolific male athletes. How do they justify the participation of male

athletes who have extraordinary athletic abilities without being subjected to the same biological restrictions — athletes such as Usain Bolt, who has a longer than average stride length and active twitch muscle fibres, or Michael Phelps, who has a wider than average wingspan. Both are multiple Olympic-gold medalists

Dr Simone Titus

but neither have been subjected to biological interrogation in the way Semenya has. This double standard has inadvertently disadvantaged Semenya by virtue of her biological predisposition. Academic Professor Walter Mignolo (2009) speaks about how power leaves marks on authority, knowledge and the understanding of being. In considering the coloniality of being, ontologically speaking, the practice and outcome of the appeal deny Semenya the right to dignity and self-pride. The appeal, in my personal view, advances sport as a colonial project that legitimises race and various expressions thereof, and, ultimately, dehumanises Semenya as a black female athlete by ascribing existential colonial characteristic and symbols that CAS deems acceptable in track and field athletics. For the sake of humanity, there is a need to strongly consider how female athletes are portrayed without objectifying, commodifying and “othering” them. Given the make-up of the board and its members, we need to challenge these institutions who may very well use EuroAmerican-centric “knowledge” to base its decisions of appeal. Colonial thinkers, scholars and decision makers will never leave room for indigenous knowledge systems in an attempt to understand the epistemologies and lived experiences embodied in the African female. Like their colonialist predecessors, CAS inadvertently

accused Semenya of being inadequate and are trying to impose Western forms of knowledge by forcing her to take medication to lower her testosterone levels and ultimately impair her performance. So to question how “knowledge” was applied in this appeal elucidates the risk of politicising how knowledge is generated, for whom and to what end. In this case, it is clear as a means to exclude Semenya from certain events that may see the proliferation of white female athletes on the winning podium. In addition, how relevant is this “knowledge” for other young, black athletes who aspire to be like Semenya? I hope that through another appeal process, Semenya and her team are able to disrupt some of the heteronormative rhetoric and practices and that we, as global citizens, are able to collectively exercise our own agency to challenge unfair social practices.

Dr Simone Titus is a teaching and learning specialist in the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences (CHS) at UWC. Her special research interests are focused on game-based learning and the use of emerging technologies to foster cross-cultural interaction, learning and engagement in higher education. Her current portfolio entails developing teaching and learning strategies in health-science education and inter-professional education.

Blue and Gold 13


PROTEAS ACE’S INNINGS FOR EQUALITY Steyn lauds UWC's cricket programme By Myolisi


s the world grapples to bridge the gap between men and women in sport, UWC alumna Andrie Steyn has watched with interest and excitement as the South African cricket sector makes waves to narrow the divide in recent years. The national right-hand specialist batswoman believes that although there is still a difference between men and women cricketers, a lot has been done to turn the situation around. “We are definitely on the right track but we still have a lot of catching up to do to be on par with countries like Australia and England, who have much better structures,” she comments.

14 Blue and Gold


Image BackpagePix

for Cricket SA

Steyn, who has earned 35 caps with the senior national women’s cricket team, cites travel and accommodation conditions for professional cricketers as a case in point. “We (female cricketers) now stay in the same accommodation as men do when playing away games. We used to fly economy class and they (men cricketers) would fly business class. All of that stuff are sort of the same now. But obviously, pay-wise, they still get more but you understand because they bring in a lot more revenue than us. However, there is clearly an effort from Cricket South Africa to lessen that gap, which is very nice.” The KwaZulu-Natal-born star also mentions the contracts offered to top

women cricketers as another step forward. Cricket South Africa offers 14 top-ranked cricketers annual contracts while Western Province Cricket is believed to be working on sorting their top athletes and turning the sport into a semi-professional set up. And Steyn believes this will go a long way to make cricket stronger. “Currently a lot of girls will play until matric and, thereafter, try to focus on studies and earn money in another way. And that is when the sport loses quite a few girls. This can change that. We are definitely on the right track but we still have a lot of ground to cover.” Steyn joined UWC in 2016 and has been playing for the University team, the Western Province team and the Proteas. After completing her Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Sports Science last year, she is now pursuing her honours in highperformance sport at the neighbouring Stellenbosch University but still plays for the UWC Cricket Club. Although she was already a member of the Proteas team when she enrolled on campus, Steyn believes that UWC has helped her grow, both academically and in cricket. The University has always been keen to support her when she was on tour and the Sports Skills for Life Skills (SS4LS) programme has made things much easier for student cricketers, she says. And cricket has made her a better person, too. “I’ve learnt a quite a bit, especially in the last year and a half. An ankle injury from the World Cup and low run of form broke everything down but I’ve learnt to be patient with myself; to separate myself as a sportsperson from me as a human being — these two things need to be separated.”


ROGAIL JOSEPH ON TRACK TO THE TOP "Power of sport changes lives" By Myolisi


rowing up in a poverty-stricken, gang-infested community can easily drive young people to fall into the same vicious circle and watch their childhood dreams disappear into thin air — but not for Rogail Joseph. The 19-year-old UWC student, who is studying economic development, has vowed to use her God-given sprinting talent to fulfil her dreams and change the lives of her struggling family and community of Roodewal in Worcester, for the better. “The area I’m living in is rife with gang violence and, sometimes, it’s dangerous to go out of the house. But that motivates me to do good things for my community instead of discouraging me. I want to use the power of sport to change the situation we are in. I will not stop loving what I do and will do my best to push through


Image Courtesy

of Roger Sedres/Image SA

the difficulties and make my parents and community proud.” Joseph was one of 15 athletes selected to represent USSA in the World Student Games in Napoli, Italy, in July this year. Prior to that, she also took part in the European Season. It was not the first time Joseph has had to represent her country, either. She was a member of the South African team that participated in the Zone Five Games in Angola in 2016 and Botswana in 2018, and in the World Junior Games in Finland. In April, she won the 100-metre and the 400-metre races at the African Junior Championships in the Ivory Coast and is the current record holder in the 400-metre race. These achievements have made Joseph the darling and beacon of hope for her community. “I’m one of the few athletes

in my area who is performing at this level. This shows that something good can come out of a poor and violent community. “People here are supportive and are very excited about my achievements. Whenever I walk down the street, kids come up to me and say they have seen me on TV or have read about me in newspapers. They like me a lot and I am a role model to them.” Joseph’s dream is to complete her studies and improve at big competitions such as the World Student Games. Her advice for youngsters in other communities like hers is simple: “Don’t let your circumstances be a stumbling block for your dreams. Look at the positive things in life and turn bad things into good things. Never give up what you love and always give your all”.

Blue and Gold 15

thembi kgatlana


PETUNIA’S QUEST FOR GOLD IN AFRICA Sprinter has eye on academic career By Myolisi


t’s normal for younger siblings to follow in the footsteps of their older brothers and sisters, and UWC star sprinter Petunia Obisi did just that. Although she started as a netball player, she ended up in athletics — just like her older sister Rita. And, boy, is she good at it. “I used to be a netball player and I loved netball,” the Johannesburg-born Obisi recalls. “But when my sister took me to athletics, I think the fact that I was going to be around her made me feel safe. I hated everything about athletics. I hated the training; it was tough. But, at the end of the day, when you give yourself time, you end up enjoying what you are doing.” Obisi is good and her performance over the years speak volumes. She was only 14-years-old when she made it to the national championships in the Under-17 category. And in 2016 — the year she enrolled at UWC — she was selected to represent South Africa at the African University Championships, now known as USSA, hosted by the University of Johannesburg. She came home with a gold medal and repeated the feat at the Southern Africa Athletics Championships in Zimbabwe a year later. The final-year Bachelor of Arts (BA) student in history and gender studies is currently the Western Province Champion and is ranked seventh in 100 metres and 10th in 200 metres in South Africa. She has also won a bronze medal at the national championships and has made the qualifying time for the All-Africa Games that are set to take place in in August. The South African team for the games is yet to be announced but UWC is firmly behind Obisi. She was among a number of select athletes from the University who jetted off to Europe to take part in this year’s European Season in June and July. The event is contested by top athletes from around the globe, with some sent by their sponsors.


Image Courtesy

of Roger Sedres/Image SA

Although she does not have a sponsor, certain people have made it possible for her to travel abroad and UWC paid for her flights this time around. “UWC has always been very supportive of me and I’m grateful for that.” She was based in Belgium to compete in races in Italy, Netherlands and Germany during the European Season. “The Season is about opportunities and money because there is no money in South Africa. It is good exposure and also provides a second chance to qualify for big competitions that

are coming up. My goal is to cement my spot in the All-Africa Games,” says Obisi. Like many students, Obisi has found it tough to find a balance between sport and studies, and has had to repeat at least one module every year. “As sportspeople, we tend to devote most of our attention to our sporting careers rather than academics, forgetting that we are actually here for academics,” she acknowledges. “It’s difficult to find the balance sometimes but we must keep on trying.”

Blue and Gold 18


BEHR MAKES IT BIG Netball star reflects on going pro By Myolisi


t is every athlete’s dream to play sport at a professional level, and UWC netball sensation Courtleigh Behr realised hers in style this year. After she made the cut into the Southern Stings team, the Western Cape franchise in the Telkom Netball League, she became a travelling reserve until the final of the tournament when she landed her chance to play. Although the Stings team eventually lost to the Gauteng Jaguars, Behr believes she has made her mark. “To earn my cap and taste my first professional game in the final stage was really unexpected,” the BA in Sports Science student recalls. “I had to stay calm and make my mark to show that I can play with the big girls.” Playing comfortably as both an attacker and a defender, the Elsies River-born Behr says she found the Telkom Netball


Image ASEM

Engage on behalf of Varsity Sports

League a bit more challenging than the other competitions she has participated in. “It is very tough in the league, not just physically but mentally — you have to be strong and believe in yourself,” she comments. “Everyone in the team is always competing and everyone wants to start, and you want to perform at your best as the coaches want to play their best players.” Behr says the experience she gained in the professional league will certainly come in handy as she looks to play a key role in the UWC netball team’s ever-improving performances in local and national netball competitions such as USSA, Varsity Netball and the national championships. She comes from a sport-loving family. Her sister also played netball and her mother and father were hockey and football players. Her netball skills were

noticed as early as primary school and she was offered sport bursaries to high school. In 2012, she was also part of a Western Cape team that went on to participate in an action netball tournament in Australia. She says sport has made her a better and nicer person as she has made many friends and travelled extensively. “I have gone overseas and have visited almost every corner of South Africa because of netball.” However, like many of the student athletes across these pages, she has found pursuing studies and sport challenging. “Sometimes, you have to train for five days and still attend a full day of classes each day. It takes discipline to balance the two and you can easily make an excuse not to do well in one area. You just have to be committed because you chose this and it’s something you love.”

Blue and Gold 19


MAKING YOUR BRAND BLOSSOM Keesha's tips on building your profile By Nashira


eesha van Schalkwyk has more than just many (net)balls in the air. She has to juggle being the captain of the UWC netball team, playing in the Western Province Senior A netball team, her law studies, planning a wedding and building her brand. It seems the confident 23-year-old is achieving all her goals very quickly. Van Schalkwyk is well known at UWC — she often presents promotional videos for campus activities, she was the emcee at the home games of the Varsity Cup and also hosted the UWC Sports Awards. The ‘Gram is her social media platform of choice and she has more than 4 000 followers. It is also here where she lays bare her appetite for fashion, healthy living, travel and zest for life. To Van Schalkwyk,

20 Blue and Gold


Image ASEM

Engage on behalf of Varsity Sports

building her brand is not about being popular; it’s about building trust and authenticity. “It’s not my ambition to be an influencer. Being half naked all the time is not going to work for me, either. I want people to know me for me so I don’t go out of my way to grab attention. I do not take pictures just for Instagram; I simply showcase my lifestyle.” It’s also impossible to miss her diamond engagement ring on her petite ring finger as she flicks her hair from her face. “Strangely, my relationship gets a lot more attention than any of my other posts. My fiancé is a very private person but is fine with the attention,” she says, smiling. As the eldest of four children, Van Schalkwyk grabs all the opportunities

How to build a brand

Be authentic Check your spelling and grammar when you post on social media Build your confidence Don’t be afraid to socialise Be loyal to your followers.

that comes her way and does not shy away from the unknown. While she enjoyed her stint as the emcee at the UWC Varsity Cup, she described it as one of the most “difficult” things she has ever undertaken. “I got some critique and was told to perhaps incorporate some dance moves to get the crowd going. But I decided to stay true to who I am and did what came naturally.” In her unique style, she has managed to rally the large crowd behind UDubs on every occasion. In the last three years, Van Schalkwyk, who plays wing attack and centre, has made the news on several occasions as the leader of the UWC netball team. Last year, she was featured in the SpeakUP campaign, an initiative between Varsity Sports and the Ithemba Foundation, which focused on raising awareness about mental health. Her dream is to become a presenter on Supersport — but that’s not her only ambition. She also plans to marry her passion for fashion and her love of law as a career. But her long list of achievements, she says, would not have been possible without the support of her family. “I am also so grateful to Mr G (UWC Director of Sport Mandla Gagayi) who has offered me many opportunities over the years, such as presenting the Sports Awards, because he believes in me. I am extremely passionate about UWC and, when I graduate, I plan to be an active member of the University’s alumni community.”


OVERCOMING GENDER BIAS THROUGH SPORT Sexual violence in sport a reality By Prof


ccording to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), sport enhances women and girls’ health, self-esteem, empowerment and leadership opportunities as it addresses discrimination, and facilitates social inclusion. The positive results of sport for promoting gender equality and women empowerment are, however, hindered by gender-based discrimination in all areas and at all levels of sport and physical activity. Sportsmen are revered and often idolised. Yet, domestic violence incidences by male athletes against their family members and partners are a significant challenge affecting sport globally. Most of these incidents never come to the public eye. Despite South Africa’s progressive constitutional stance on gender equality, the impact is yet to be fully manifested in the sporting arena. Sport — being historically a male-dominated sphere — has left female athletes to encounter various forms of discrimination including inequality, sexual harassment, violence and victimisation. South Africa is presently developing a policy on women and sport

Marion Keim

Image Courtesy

that ensures, inter alia, that “all women and girls have the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity in a safe and supportive environment which preserves the rights, dignity and respect of the individual”. The new policy intends to “increase cooperation between women and men and ensure the support of men in order to promote gender equality in sport and physical activity”. How can universities support this crucial development and ensure the safety and equality of all its athletes? Moreover, what is the role of academic and non-academic university sport programmes in fostering the qualities of mutual respect, care and responsibility as it grooms new generations of male athletes? Here are some of the questions UWC can ask itself in this regard: How do we apply UWC’s new Sexual Violence and Harassment Policy in our sporting arenas? What do we, as a University, have to do to maintain this policy in all spheres, including sport on and off campus? How do we expand and deepen the conversation about the origins, meaning

and consequences of hyper-masculinity in male sport? How do we develop our young male athletes into adults who role model the Olympic and Paralympic values? At the Interdisciplinary Centre for Sport Science and Development (ICSSD), we are beginning to look at these questions and at our role as a research and academic centre. In collaboration with the Sport Administration and the Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science (SRES), ICSSD focuses on advancing sport as a tool for development, including the empowerment and safety of women. Our postgraduate Diploma in Sport, Development and Peace, and our new Masters in Sport for Development, challenge students to reflect on these critical issues, conduct interdisciplinary research, become empowered as agents of change for gender equality and sport, and provides input to sporting structures locally, provincially and internationally. Sport can be a powerful platform to promote gender equality and to address and prevent sexual harassment, domestic and sexual violence, and discrimination of all forms. It is time for us to use sport for all that it can do, so our students, athletes and coaches can be all they can be.

Prof Marion Keim is passionate about sport for social change, equality and social inclusion. She directs ICSSD and is a member of the IOC Education Commission, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), the Eminent Persons Group on Transformation in Sport (EPG) and the IOC Research Grants Committee.

Blue and Gold 21


BOKKING THE TREND UWC alumna makes history By Myolisi


WC alumna Laurian Johannes recently made history by becoming the first female head coach of a national rugby team when she was appointed to head the South African Women’s Under 20 team — but that was not by chance or luck. Since falling in love with the sport at the age of 11, when she was watching the 1995 Rugby World Cup with her family, Johannes has not only lived, breathed and walked rugby but has also achieved a lot within the field. She has played rugby from grassroots up to an international level and was, at some point, the most capped female rugby

22 Blue and Gold


Image Courtesy

of SA Rugby

star from the Western Cape. She has also used the sport to attain education and has devoted her life to pass on her experience and expertise to up-and-coming women rugby players. “I’m very blessed to have been given the opportunity to coach the national team,” she comments about her appointment. “It’s been a long journey that started at UWC and with Western Province Rugby. This opportunity (to coach U20) is not about me being the first woman to coach a national rugby team but about the female coaches who will come after me. It shows that anyone can achieve anything in life if they put their mind to it. They can start now; the future is bright.”

Born in Bridgetown, Athlone, in the Western Cape, Johannes joined UWC in 2003 to do her BA in Sports and Exercise Science, following in the footsteps of her aunt and uncles who advised her that UWC was the perfect institution to fulfil both her sporting and academic endeavours. She got into rugby straight after but kept it a secret from her parents. “I asked them to buy a pair of rugby boots as a present for a friend. Then I invited them to come watch her play at UWC — but it was me playing. That was so funny,” she recalls. She said the University had some of the finest coaches to teach students rugby, irrespective of whether they were men or women. With women’s rugby being relatively new at the time, they also had to follow and watch their male counterparts to learn more tricks of the game. “If I was not exposed to rugby at UWC, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Johannes says. “UWC opened a lot of doors and created a lot of opportunities for me. I didn’t complete my degree in the stipulated time but I always persevered because I knew what I wanted to do.” Now a teacher at Athlone High School, Johannes went on to play for Western Province for 10 years and for the senior national women rugby team from 2009 until 2014, participating in the 2010 World Cup. After she hung up her playing boots just before the 2014 World Cup, she took on the coaching roles for the Western Province junior teams, alongside fellow UWC alumna Nosipho Poswa, who played rugby with Johannes on campus. Johannes’ immediate goal is to hone the skills of future women rugby players in the country and help the team become a force to be reckoned with. And she believes the sky is the limit for women in sport: “The opportunities are there. All they need to do is work hard, persevere and never give up on chasing their dreams”.


SPORTING CHANCE Nadia is a hero behind the scenes By Myolisi


adia Ntombise Mgulwa, a sport administrator at UWC, has a simple and funny but profound motto: “Vuka, ugeze, ubangene”, which means wake up, take a shower or a bath and take them on. It is a phrase that makes Mgulwa jump out of bed every day and has driven her to obtain two degrees at UWC (she is currently in the completion phase of her third qualification) and to rise above challenges and help her transition to the world of work with ease. “I’m very passionate about what I do,” she explains. “As stressful as it can be at times, I love it and think that’s the most important thing. Being constantly motivated to learn, knowing that I have been given another day to do better than yesterday and to make a difference are definitely reasons for me. Some people long for another day to be alive and


Image Amy


realise their dreams.” Born and bred in Crossroads, Cape Town, Mgulwa enrolled for a BA Sport Recreation and Exercise Science degree in 2009 after she matriculated from Windsor High School in Rondebosch East. She graduated in 2011 and completed her honours in sport management. Now, she is pursuing her masters in the same field. In 2010, she volunteered in the Sport Administration Department at UWC where she later did her internship before she was offered a sport assistant position through the University’s work-study programme. “I was not scared or shy to do the socalled ‘skivvy’ work because I knew what my ultimate goal was. I saw myself as a sport administrator and knew that in order to get there, I had to work extra hard, especially in a male-dominated industry.” Her hard work paid off in 2016 when she was appointed to manage three sporting

codes at the University on a permanent basis. “Through the struggle of applying countless times to get a job in sport, I knew nothing comes easily but that perseverance, commitment and hard work would eventually get me a breakthrough. “I knew that my sport administration job was not going to be handed to me and I had to start somewhere. While I was in that space, I owned it, asked a lot of questions and never said no to tasks that were out of my comfort zone.” One of the highlights of being a sport administrator in a university setting is seeing student athletes graduating after three or four years and “knowing that you had a major impact in that athlete’s life”, says Mgulwa. “And you get to meet a lot of people within your industry,” she adds. “Especially women who are making a difference in sport. It motivates you to do more.”

Blue and Gold 23


REDEFINING WOMANHOOD Breaking barriers on and off the field By Nastasha



n recent times, female participation and leadership in sport have become more pronounced — with incredible performances both on and off the field. However, female athletes still have to tackle with issues of marginalisation and sexualisation, even having the parameters set on what dictates a respectable and acceptable silhouette of womanhood. These parameters are negotiated by men in the industry and by society as a whole. Despite increased participation opportunities for women in sport, they are still underrepresented in coaching as well as other leadership positions. As women’s sport became more professional and lucrative, coaching, directorship and governing body positions were filled by males. Women have always been thought of as natural nurturers and, as a result, the high-performance environment of sport leadership was seen as “too tough” and time-consuming. Ilhaam Groenewald, the first female executive council member for SA Rugby, and Desiree Ellis, head coach of Banyana Banyana, are local examples of women who are resilient in raising the profile of women in sport.

The womanhood of female athletes should be celebrated in whatever way they choose. Every single female is in charge of choosing how she interprets womanhood 24 Blue and Gold

Images Courtesy

of Roger Sedres/Image SA and Harriet Box

Nastasha Crow

Female athletes who have taken coaching and leadership positions are creating visibility and challenging stereotypes about women being unable to take up leadership positions due to having more domestic responsibilities than men or being the “weaker sex”. They have also become role models for other women athletes and are challenging hiring practices dictated by the mentality of keeping sport leadership and directorship within “the old boys club”. They are also demonstrating that coaching and sport governance positions are an option for female athletes. The battle, however, is far from over — the fight for an equal, gender-neutral playing field within the sports domain is a burden that every female athlete will unconsciously bear. This battle is brought into sharp focus by Caster Semenya’s legal dispute with the IAAF, who has said the 800-metre runner must take medication to suppress her natural testosterone levels or compete over a different distance — a practice which is not present in the sphere of male athletics. Ever since Semenya arrived on the global scene a decade ago, she has

been subjected to constant scrutiny as the media, the public and even fellow athletes speculated about her genetic make-up, misinterpreted her gender and argued that she should not be allowed to compete against other women. Her story is disguised as being about ongoing efforts by the IAAF and other governing bodies of sport to develop gender divisions that are fair to all athletes. But it is really showcasing what happens when an athlete — especially a black athlete — does not conform to traditional ideas of womanhood. Ironically, while women’s sport has always been under-represented in the media, coverage of Semenya’s ordeal has highlighted gender inequality, sexism, racism and classism that has long been prevalent in sporting culture. By refusing to back down, Semenya has become an ambassador for change, forcing global society to pay attention to female athletes and the extent to which society values them, and forcing other female athletes to re-evaluate their own self-worth and industry value.

Another pressing issue is the fact that within the small amount of media coverage women’s sport does receive, female athletes are often more likely to be portrayed off the field, out of uniform, and in highly sexualised poses where the emphasis is on their physical attractiveness rather than their athletic prowess. Tennis sensation Serena Williams made a fashion statement at last year’s French Open, wearing an all-black Nike catsuit paired with sparkly tennis shoes. French Tennis Federation Chief Bernard Giudicelli has since announced that, at this year’s French Open, a much stricter and more traditional dress code will be in effect. He specifically called out Williams’ one-piece catsuit saying, “One must respect the game and the place”. The catsuit, however, served an important medical function: To improve blood circulation as the tennis pro suffered life-threatening blood clots after giving birth. Her experience illustrates the way women, specifically women of colour, are scrutinised when they seem to fall outside prescribed gender norms.

The catsuit covered Williams’ entire body so why would the French Tennis Federation deem it an inappropriate alternative to the traditional tennis skirts that show a lot more skin? And why should sport governing bodies police and dictate what female athletes wear and what is appropriate and respectable in terms of womanhood? Williams is a black woman participating in a predominantly white sport and has regularly been body-shamed for her figure not resembling that of her competitors. Society has always objectified and sexualised the bodies of women, especially black women, which makes it very difficult for athletes like Williams who use their bodies to compete and perform at an optimum level but are instead reduced to mere sexual objects. Williams showed that she would not be silenced and would continue to display womanhood her way by showing up to this year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala (also known as the Met Gala) in a floral Versace gown with matching sneakers by Nike.

We have also seen controversy subsiding in terms of women participating in maledominated sporting codes such as football, rugby, boxing and wrestling. UWC’s very own Thembi Kgatlana has become an international football star and has proven that it is performance and not gender that matters by winning the Goal of the Year award at the 2018 CAF Awards, snuffing out the male competition, while American professional wrestler Ronda Rousey is taken very seriously as a professional athlete in her field. These women and many more like them continue to push for real change — and true equality — in women’s sport. The womanhood of female athletes should be celebrated in whatever way they choose. Every single female is in charge of choosing how she interprets womanhood. Womanhood means something different to each female and is displayed in many ways. The manhood of male athletes is never questioned; their sporting achievements celebrated for being just that. Just as male athletes are athletes, female athletes are athletes too — without including gender as a qualifier.

Blue and Gold 25


HOW SCIENCE CAN CHANGE THE GAME UWC strives to "build active, winning nation" By Dr


he Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science (SRES) at UWC strives towards the development of healthy communities through innovative research and creative teaching within the fast-changing environment of higher education. This is in line with the strategic objectives of Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA), underpinning their vision to “build an active and winning nation”, which includes the improvement of health and well-being of the nation through active recreation opportunities and the creation of enabling environments for participation. It is also in line with the National Development Plan 2030 for SA, which emphasises the need to provide health systems that work for everyone and to produce positive health outcomes through increased physical activity, access to facilities, organised programmes as well as the provision of additional healthcare professionals for community-based healthcare, ensuring a better quality of life for all citizens. The department further strives to Dr Marié Young

26 Blue and Gold

Marié Young

Image Amy


increase our visibility through continuous engagement with research activities, enhanced scholarship in learning and teaching that contributes to the provision of successful and innovative teaching practices, interdisciplinary collaboration (interdepartmental, inter-institutional and international) as well as to develop sustained third-stream income practices. The department currently offers two undergraduate degrees (a BA Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science and a BSc Sport and Exercise Science), three honours degrees (BA/BSc Hons Biokinetics and BA Sport and Exercise Science with streams in Coaching and Conditioning, and Community Health), three Masters degrees (all by thesis only) and a PhD degree. In support of the High-Performance Sports project as well as the Cape Higher Education Consortium and City of Cape Town (CHEC-CoCT) project, the department is in the process of developing a Higher Certificate in Sport, Performance and Recreation with the intention of preparing and recruiting students

into our undergraduate programmes. The strength of the Department lies with the quality of staff employed and the diversity of our programme. Sport and recreation is a diverse field with various sub-fields. Conducting research and supervision in the field of sport and recreation requires an individual to be diverse — a strength of the staff in SRES. This diversity allows our staff to engage with and supervise across various disciplines in the faculty and contribute to the development of the T-shaped student at UWC, preparing them for the workforce. SRES strategically aligns ourselves with the University’s Institutional Operating Plan goals 2016-2020. More specifically, the department prioritises the three core goals, which are: 1 Student experience, 2 Learning and teaching, and 3 Research and Innovation, as well as the enabling goal, Enhancing UWC’s Standing and Profile. The department strives to create an environment that will encourage excellence in learning and teaching, research, and community engagement practices. This is done in consideration of external and internal role players, such as government departments and professional bodies, collaborating partners and communities as well as both current and prospective students of our different programmes. It also allows for the development of a T-shaped graduate by: Developing skilfulness; Extending the learning experience through exciting and intellectually challenging co-curricular opportunities; Providing opportunities for meaningful engagement; Connecting with the campus community and its environments; and Entrepreneurship embedded in the training of our students.

real talk

BE BODY POSITIVE Mentioning the unmentionable

By Nashira



he mere mention of the P-word generally sparks crimson faces. But having one’s period during major competitions can be both excruciating and stressful, especially for young sportswomen trying to build their career. Unfortunately, the subject is not readily discussed and neither are topics such as the side effects of contraceptives or vaginal health. Babalwa Latsha, UWC alumna and Springbok Women’s star, says that at the start of her rugby career, she used oral contraceptives to stop menstruating before a match. But there were negative side effects. “It would stop my period but I would feel nauseous and queasy at times. I was also a little emotional and, therefore, I stopped. Imagine participating in a professional sport and having to hold back tears for a silly little mistake!” says Latsha, who graduated with her LLB this year. “As I got older, I became more aware of my body and realised my menstrual cycle is part of who I am and this is natural. I

Images Courtesy

of Roger Sedres/Image SA and Nashira Davids

did not have to control it. Now, I don’t mind having my period.” She uses tampons, which helps when she has to train in the pool. And it was a team member who helped her the first time. Thereafter, she practiced using tampons on her own until she was comfortable. This is exactly what UWC netball captain and law student, Keesha van Schalkwyk, did. Now she also uses an app on her phone to track her menstrual cycle and ensures she is well hydrated when she has her period and has to play a match. Van Schalkwyk explains that it is also important to take care of one’s skin with sunblock and protective clothing. Accomplished UWC sprinter and physiotherapy student Chelsea Sloan Samuels uses three bottles of sunblock a month. Samuels trains twice a day and showers after every session but harsh soaps has, like Latsha, had a severe impact on her. “I developed thrush. Not enough is said about this because it is such a private, sensitive topic. Often emphasis is placed on having to be fit and well-conditioned but not your vaginal health,” says Samuels who now uses unperfumed, mild soap. She

also has to shave more frequently but explained that she does not do it for aesthetic purposes but for hygiene as sweat and bacteria can build up in underarm and pubic hair. All three women are in agreement about sport bras: The garments are exorbitantly priced but crucial to provide the support they need. This is especially true when they are menstruating and their breasts are sensitive. “The most important thing is for me to perform at my best so I have comfortable boots, tights and bras. Goodquality sports bras are expensive so we tend to buy the cheapest ones but these are not always as durable,” says Latsha. However, if you cannot afford the bras, there is a cheat: Wear two. Samuels says athletes also strap their breasts before putting on their bras. Latsha concludes: “Many of us participate in male-dominated sports but we have very specific needs. Your biggest priority is investing in your body. As much as you use shampoo on your hair, you need other hypo-allergenic products for down there. It’s important for you to make other sportswomen aware of that too”. Babalwa Latsha

Chelsea Sloan Samuels

Blue and Gold 27

editor's note

the tournament around the globe, with record-breaking viewership statistics in several countries. Many games were sold out and social media engagements hit the roof. South Africa made its debut and the South African Football Association (SAFA) announced that the men and women’s teams would receive equal remuneration for competing in the World Cup. Across the Atlantic, a lawsuit was pending in the United States. Members of its women’s team, including the very outspoken Rapinoe, took on its national soccer authority for gender discrimination — while the US women’s team outperform the men on the international stage, they are still paid less. In addition to pay parity, other discriminatory issues in sport also rose to the surface in the press as a result: Banyana Banyana players Jermaine Seoposenwe (left) and Leandra Smeda

Women still have a marathon ahead to root out inequality but every day, the tide is changing fear of falling pregnant, unequal sponsorships and prize money. But the World Cup was also an opportunity to celebrate women athletes who manage to thrive despite adversity. This edition of the Blue and Gold is a celebration of all UWC’s sportswomen, including those who — thanks to the pioneers who came before them — compete in formerly male-dominated sports such as rugby and cricket. Women still have a marathon ahead to root out inequality but every day, the tide is changing. This University has been the incubator for five Banyana Banyana stars and management has funneled more resources to develop women’s soccer than men’s. We salute the women from around the world who have sacrificed and fought for equality on the track, the court and the sport field.

Nashira Davids Blue and Gold Editor 28 Blue and Gold

Images: Amy Myers, Courtesy of gettyimages/


cannot remember the men in my family ever following women’s soccer with much gusto. But there they were — while on holiday in Langebaan — watching the World Cup, entranced. Not even my son, dribbling around the furniture and hitting them on the head with his soccer ball, could faze them. Banyana Banyana had bowed out already but they continued following the sport showpiece. “Did you see that goal?” exclaimed my brother-in-law. He hit the rewind button and they marveled at the skill of American forward Megan Rapinoe, who dazzled against France at the packed Parc Des Princes stadium. I loved it. And I loved the historic tournament for many reasons. According to FIFA, about one billion people watched




Images Myolisi

Gophe, Nashira Davids, Plein Productions and SA Rugby


UWC athletes and administrators flew the South African flag high when they represented the USSA team with vigour and determination at the World Student Games in Napoli, Italy, this past July. The University had a record 15 athletes and four officials in Team South Africa. They were head of delegation, Mandla Gagayi; and code officials Elmien Cloete and Clement Trout, who managed Rugby Sevens women and men’s teams, respectively; while Thinasonke Mbuli fulfilled the head coach role of the women’s football team. Making up the team were footballers Renald Leaner (men) and his female counterparts Khanya Xesi, Bongeka Gamede, Molatelo Kobo and Nolubabalo Sishuba. Rugby was also represented by Babalwa Latsha (for the women’s team), Rohaan Adams, Mervano Da Silva and Kurt-Lee Arendse. Athletics was represented by Rogail Joseph, Ashley Smith, Anthony Timoteus, Duro Faro and Rowhaldo Ratz.


UWC’s annual flagship race, the BestMed UWC Fast and Flat, was different this year thanks to a new route, most of which encompassed the campus grounds. The 10-kilometre race is becoming more and more popular, with the number of entries having almost doubled since last year. In addition to the 10-kilometre race, there was also a 10-kilometre walk and a five-kilometre fun run.


UWC rising women rugby stars Leandi Smith (pictured) and Kim Horlin were selected for the Springbok Women U20 team. The team travelled to Zimbabwe for test matches in late June. Under the guidance of former UWC rugby star and alumna Laurian Johannes, Smith scored three tries as South Africa convincingly beat Zimbabwe 43-0 in the first international game.



UWC was well represented in the Banyana Banyana team that did battle in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France this past June. Led by UWC women’s football coach, Thinasonke Mbuli, who was the assistant coach, the University also had rising star Bongeka Gamede as well as alumnae Thembi Kgatlana, Jermaine Seoposenwe, Kaylin Swart and Leandra Smeda in the team.

UWC continues to contribute to the Western Province rugby teams with a number of the University’s stars featuring in different province teams. They include Jason Alexander in the U19 team; Adrian Paarwater, Duran Hoffman, Dandre Degenaar, Gerardo Jaars, Juanre de Klerk, Shane Orderson and Jaen-Louis de Lange in the U21 team; and Tristan Leyds, Lyle Hendricks, Liam Hendricks, Andre Manuel, Curtley Thomas and Sihle Njezula in the Super Challenge team for Western Province.


UWC Ladies football club has become part of the historic National Women’s Football League — the country’s first professional women’s football league — after winning the SAFA Sasol Women’s League in the Western Cape last year. UWC will be part of the 12-team league meant to kick off in August.


UWC Football has named long-serving soccer stalwart Stanton Smith as the head coach of the University’s men’s football team.

Blue and Gold 29

The University of the Western Cape cordially invites you to support the Golf Day Fundraiser in support of the Jakes Gerwel Education, Endowment and Development Fund. Your participation and voluntary donation will go a long way to ensuring that a deserving and talented young South African accesses a university education.

Thursday, 21st November 2019 King David Mowbray Country Club 1 Raapenberg Road, Mowbray Format: Better Ball Stableford (2 scores count) 13h00 Shotgun start