Not one or two, but five Banyana Banyana players are from the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The institution’s main focus is academic and research excellence, but it prides itself on promoting women in sport. The University’s sports management team, for example, sets aside more resources to develop women’s soccer than is allocated to their male counterparts.
This dedication has seen Thembi Kgatlana, Leandra Smeda, Kaylin Swart, Bongeka Gameda and Jermaine Seoposenwe being called up to the national football team.
This special edition of the University’s sports magazine celebrates the institution’s stars – most of whom have had to overcome great adversity to make their mark. It looks at real issues such as vaginal health and how to build one’s brand.
The magazine also highlights some pertinent issues in women’s sport, including pay parity, redefining womanhood and sexual harassment. The latter is particularly important, given that South Africa is developing a policy to ensure gender equality in sport.
UWC alumnae, Proteas cricketer, Andrie Steyn, and Springbok rugby captain, Babalwa Latsha, spoke openly about overcoming stereotypes.
Steyn explained that while great strides have been made to equalise benefits - such as flying business class and getting better equipment comparable to the men’s team - there remains a long way to go.
“Engaging women’s voices in sport, in the way that this magazine does, is a necessity for breaking stereotypes. The magazine showcases women who are encouraging themselves and others to live their truth and refuse to accept inequality as a norm in sport, and within society in general,” says Nastasha Crow, Managing Editor for the magazine.
Nashira Davids, editor of the UWC Media, Marketing and Communications office, says South African women have always displayed great resilience.
“On August 9, 1956, thousands of women marched to the Union Buildings to protest pass laws for black women. When they were ignored, they stood in silence for 30 minutes. After singing Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika they dispersed, but left an indelible mark on the way in which women were perceived at the time. They displayed tremendous courage and strength. Today, their spirit lives on in their daughters who are continuing to fight against injustice in all spheres, including on the sports field. This edition is aimed at empowering and inspiring all – not just women in sport. Many can relate to the featured athletes’ stories and their endeavours in a male-dominated sector,” said Davids.
UWC is thankful to Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages for sponsoring the printing of the magazine, and to guest contributors John Goliath and Roger Sedres.