‘I had to go for my dream and disobey my parents’ beliefs’
Interview Peace Proscovia reveals to Pippa Field how sport helped her to escape poverty and forced marriage
To understand what netball means to Uganda captain Peace Proscovia is to listen to what she believes her life would be like without it. “A nobody in the community and a mother to numerous children, toiling in a world where you can’t see any future,” she says immediately.
Proscovia, 29, will begin her second World Cup in tomorrow’s game against England as one of the most feared goal shooters in the world. Netball has altered her life in unimaginable ways: it prompted her to disobey her family, it nearly led to her dying, it gave her an education. And then it helped create the prospect of a new life for other Ugandan girls. “I’ve always described netball as an anchor to
lean on. All that I have and all that I am is all surrounded in netball,” says Proscovia, the second eldest of eight children growing up in a poverty-stricken village in the north of Uganda. “I come from a family where there were no opportunities. I could not meet the basic necessities of life. Through netball I was able to leave my village, come over to the city and later get the opportunity to represent my country.
“But it was a very complex thing. I had to stand for myself and say ‘ this is netball, this is my future and I will achieve all that I want to achieve through it’. I had to go for my dream and disobey the beliefs of my parents.”
Proscovia’s childhood was “survival of the fittest”. On a physical level, there was the