Celebrate black sportswomen’s feats
WE must not be shy to applaud and celebrate the global feats and triumphs of South Africa’s black sportswomen Caster Semenya and Zanele Situ. We are seeing amazing achievements by these black women: world accomplishments not easily attainable are being achieved by Semenya and Situ.
It’s not like South Africa has a conveyor belt of young, black female athletics talent. Yes, we have black girls participating in sport. However, they are largely missing when it comes to international representation. How much longer will we wait before we again see the spectacular athleticism of Semenya and Situ exhibited by an emerging generation of black girl athletes?
Given that there are no world-class junior black girl athletes emerging in South Africa on the level of Situ and Semenya, we must revel in their achievements. This is their moment. We might never again see such amazing sports feats being achieved by black South African sportswomen.
In a society of abundant sports talent and plentiful funding, located largely in elite male-dominated sports, black sportswomen struggle, not only to become professional, but also just to get out of the starting blocks en route to international participation.
In a sports paradigm saturated with male sports prowess, black sportswomen achieving success at international level are few and far between, but they are out there. That they exist and have achieved on the international sports stage is remarkable, given the adverse conditions most black girls and women have to contend with.
When you’re a black woman in sport, negotiating your way into the international arena is often littered with setbacks, disappointments and funding issues. For black women, the struggle is that much worse.
And, amid the struggles pertaining to being black and non-able bodied, have emerged some amazing worldclass black sportswomen – the likes of Semenya and Situ. Situ is a Paralympic javelin champion and Semenya an 800m Olympic champion. These are not easy feats.
These sports achievements are also much appreciated and respected when one recognises how harsh society is on black women. But these global sports triumphs have been attained by Semenya and Situ, who continue to demonstrate that black girls can develop into successful sportswomen.
You see, in South Africa, where men get most sports media coverage, money, recognition and admiration, the sports feats of black women like Semenya and Situ give us much to celebrate. I want to enjoy and celebrate every moment of their fabulous sports feats. I want to share in their emotions when their world-class results are missing in the media, when they are injured, and when the struggle feels harder than usual. So when black sportswomen triumph internationally, I never want to stop celebrating. Because I know that I’m experiencing amazing sports feats.
Black women struggle just to get out of the starting blocks
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