MORE ABOUT BONGIWE
SHE’S A LATE BLOOMER
Some kids start playing netball in primary school, but Bongiwe spent most of her time just watching the other kids play. When she was 16, the netball team was a player short and she filled the spot. But it wasn’t an instant success. “It was a bit embarrassing at times not being able to do what was required,” she says. “I remember the coach used to work with me on the side, trying to up my skills while the other players were already mastering it – in my eyes.” It paid off. “I trained hard because I always wanted to be better,” she says.
SHE PLAYS INTERNATIONALLY
While the netball season in SA is quiet, Bongiwe is in Australia representing the Adelaide Thunderbirds. She’s also played for Surrey Storm and the Wasps Netball, both British teams. “Netball has allowed me lots of opportunities to travel the world and I ’m grateful,” she says. “But you also get to experience the realistic challenge of lack of recognition. It ’s really hard to put so much hard work into your sport and get a lack of support. This leads to doubts in girls wanting to play sport. It has to be better!”
SHE USED TO BE A TEACHER
Before Bongiwe got signed on to play for international clubs, she was a PE teacher. It only occurred to her once she’d started travelling for netball, playing for Surrey Storm, that she could forge a career as a pro netballer.