Bronze, silver or gold: South African female sporting heroes have long carried the pride of the country on their shoulders and in their hearts.
But raising the profile of South African women in sport takes blood, sweat and tears, on and off the field. Sporting bodies and pioneers in the industry are hard at work to ensure that women’s sport is well established, receives sufficient financial backing, and gets free and fair media coverage.
One sure fact is that there’s always something to celebrate. SA’s National Women’s soccer team, Banyana Banyana made history in November last year after qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time. The team, led by their fearless coach Desiree Ellis, will be heading out to France to compete in June.
A star player worthy of a special mention is Portia Modise, retired Banyana Banyana’s all-time leading goal-scorer who has been selected as one of 13 FIFA ambassadors for the upcoming Women’s World Cup, a role she has taken up with high regards. Apart from her excellent striker skills on the field, Portia has always advocated for women in sport to be treated equal to their male counterparts, especially in the area of remuneration.
Speaking to Fifa.com in a recent interview, Portia said: “This (WWC) is going to bring change for a lot of young women and open a platform for girls who didn’t know where to go. I think things will slowly change.”
Another resilient voice advocating for women in sport, is Brand South Africa’s Board Trustee, Ms. Muditambi Ravele. In her capacity as chairperson of the South African Women & Sports Foundation, Ms. Ravele addressed delegates at the 2018 FIFA Women’s Administrators four-day Course in August last year, where she spoke about the misconception that women are constantly tearing one another down, highlighting how much support women give each other. Known for pushing boundaries, Ms. Ravele encourages many sportswomen to join what is predominantly perceived as male-dominated sports, like boxing.
In raising the profile of women in sport, Brand South Africa’s Play Your Part Ambassador and Sports Media Personality, Kass Naidoo utilises her platform Gsport, to celebrate South African women in sport. Gsport aims to improve the media profile of South African women in sport, that will in turn, help with more sponsorship opportunities. Through extensive media coverage, Gsport wishes to on-board Corporate South Africa to stand behind female athletes.
Brand South Africa commends these pioneers who not only engage in on-going dialogues that encourage a strengthened Nation Brand, but also lead by example.