But as they say, stars vary in brightness, and the sportspeople who shone the brightest in 2022 were honoured at the glamorous annual UWC Sports Awards ceremony this week.
Banyana Banyana AWCON winning star Amogelang Motau was deservedly named the Sportswoman of the Year, while FISU University World Cup Combat Sports medal winner Jody Williams won the Sportsman of the Year award.
“To a large extent, a university is as good as its students. And, as our torchbearers, we are filled with optimism because of the extraordinary difference that you are making,” Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Pamela Dube, told the audience. “Every story of a player coming from a small town, village, or farm playing for UWC makes such a contribution to our success. It is an inspiration, because you are not just focusing on results, but an opportunity regardless of the circumstances.”
Prof Dube said sport at various levels gives a sense of pride, and the award ceremony reminded everyone of the exceptional performances of the university’s athletes.
“Your victory is a statement of confidence in our present and lifts our confidence on what lies ahead. It is a hallmark of being part of this university to celebrate our victories with humility and accept setbacks with dignity.”
Prof Dube added that UWC might not have enough resources to support athletes as much as the university would like, but a lot has gone into supporting them nonetheless - especially those performing at national level.
Encouraging students to overcome challenges, keynote speaker Cecilia Molokwane, the president of Netball South Africa, relayed her personal story as a black village girl who had no electricity or running water to study but realised her goals. “That didn’t define me. I said no matter how hard the circumstances are, I’m going to end up at a university”.
At university, Molokwane was so good at netball that she was selected for the national Under 21 team to go to Canada, but was left behind because of her skin colour. “That didn’t make me lose focus. I said I’m going to go on.
She went on to become a national coach, assistant coach to the Proteas Netball team, in addition to becoming an empire and administrator. In 2017, she was elected president, and her highlight was winning the bid to host the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town.
AWARD WINNERSSportswoman of the Year: Amogelang Motau (Women's Football)
Sportsman of the Year: Jody Williams (Karate)
Club of the Year: UWC Football
Social Club of the Year: UWC Netball
Team of the Year: UWC Women’s Football
Coach of the Year: Thinasonke Mbuli (Women's Football)
Director’s Special Recognition Award: Xolile Madikane (Cape Town Roses)
Administrator’s Award: Siphesihle Khumalo
Student Administrator of the Year: Adri Kannemeyer
Unsung Hero Award: Pulane Mokoena (Women's Rugby manager) and Carly van Wyk (Cheerleading head coach)
High Performance Athlete of the Year: Adri Kannemeyer (Netball)
Top Academic Achiever: Schae Austen (Hockey)
See gallery below for images from the awards evening. All courtesy UWC Sport.