FUN WAS HAD! And I’m not only talking about the actual 2023 Momentum gsport Awards.
As a former winner on the Momentum gsport Awards stage, I’ve always seen myself as some kind of ambassador for gsport and a champion of women’s sport. There are many of those in the circle who are a lot more vocal than me on social media and I’ve taken a different approach, I’ve taken the conversation TO the media, and in Cape Town I’ve become known to be “that gsport girl”.
During my discussions with gsport Founder, Kass Naidoo, she mentioned that she was thinking of announcing the nominees for 2023 in Cape Town. Immediately, we got to work and arranged a mini media tour to cover the nominations but also celebrate being a woman in sport with the Cape Town ladies. Yup, two birds, one stone – my favourite way of doing things.
Once nominations were launched, we quickly reached 500 nominations and the influx surpassed all the years before. There is an appetite for women’s sport, especially in “The Year of Women’s Sport!” and it took as a while to get here but thank goodness we are here.
Media quickly attached themselves to the brand and the firestorm of media activity started. It was like a fire was ignited somewhere because it spread like wildfire. Could it be because of the year of women sport, or could it be that people are finally sitting up and realising that women’s sport is an investment, with a valid and strong fan base? I think it’s the latter.
Fast forward to event night! If you haven’t been to a Momentum gsport Awards yet, you’re missing out! It is THEE hottest event on the calendar and you don’t just buy a ticket. Attendees are carefully selected, and the VIPs are the finalists. The first time I attended was in 2018 as a finalist, 2019 as a winner and 2020 as a guest. This year I attended as part of the gsport team. A lot went on behind the scenes and everyone was all in – hands, knees, shoulders, thighs, head – the works! And everything went smoothly!
I landed in Johannesburg on the day of the awards and in true gsport style, I was transferred by private car to Just Tonight Josephine for my dress fitting. I love my pink but there is something about blue that is just so royal and within 30 minutes I had my gown, bought some earrings to match and off to the hotel I went.
The hotel was a minute away from the Wanderers Club, where the awards were to be held later. As soon as I walked through the doors of the hotel, there was a buzz in the air. (I bumped into a running friend from home at the hotel, and he told me afterwards he thought it was the Miss SA pageant lol!) I immediately spotted former winner and gsport champion, Selina Munsamy. We’ve become good friends through gsport and it’s always a treat seeing her.
Everyone had to book for hair and make-up, and since I was not a finalist, I got all my stuff done as early as possible so that all the attention can be on the finalists when they come down for hair and make-up. Smart move, Marisa! My favourite moment was putting on that gown again. Although I packed in my heels, I have learned my lesson from attending previous years – them feet will burn! And given the responsibility of being the extra pair of hands and possible run around, I was so happy I opted for sneakers. And it seemed like sneakers were the winner on the night because Andile Dlamini, Cecilia Molokwane, KG Montjane to name a few all arrived in the best sneakers. Yup! We know how to bring it in proper style and grace – you must just view the photos and peep our Instagram to see how you can wear evening gowns with a gorgeous pair of sneakers.
Every year the Momentum gsport Awards just gets better and better. Whenever you think “nah fam, there is no way one can top this year!”, they top it. Almost as if the gsport gods are overhearing the chitter-chatter and saying to themselves “challenge accepted”.
It’s been a week since the amazing night and the media coverage is still buzzing. Our deserving winners are all over the show doing interviews from Dubai to Kenya to Cape Town to Johannesburg. You don’t only become an award winner, but you become part of a special community that was created in 2006. We are a community that uplifts, shouts your name, give you props, and celebrates you. We are that tiny voice in your head that tells you, YES YOU CAN. We are the community that holds space for you and values your contribution in making an impact to push women’s sport forward, so it becomes as equitable as it is supposed to be.
Congratulations to all the winners! And those who didn’t win – you were not overlooked but may this be a prompt for you to push harder and work with vigour because the stage is set and your name is on that trophy.
In 2007 there were 6 categories. Today, we have 20 categories! Continue breaking those ceilings that people said we can’t. Because you know what? It has only just begun. Instead of waiting for space at the table, Kass and the rest of the gsport team, including all the sponsors like Momentum, Telkom, Brand SA, the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, SuperSport, DP World and Nielsen Sports South Africa said – “We will build our own table and we will reign supreme!”
Empowering women in sport isn’t just about levelling the playing field; it’s about creating a stadium of opportunities where every woman’s talent can shine. Let’s amplify the roar of their achievements, so the world can hear the true sound of equality.
This article is dedicated to Rudene Hare. In the spirit of Rudene’s unwavering dedication and passion for women’s sports, let us carry her legacy forward as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that when we amplify women’s sports, we amplify the strength and resilience within every athlete, every woman who works behind the scenes, and together, we rise to greater heights.
Photo 1 Caption: Former Momentum gsport Awards Woman in PR & Sponsorship winner, Marisa Calvert, pictured at the 2023 Momentum gsport Awards at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 12 September. Photo: gsport