Busisiwe “Busi96” Masango-Steenkamp Empowers Women and Girls in Gaming

Busisiwe “Busi96” Masango-Steenkamp is shattering barriers in territories that are unchartered in South Africa. E-sports has seen massive growth in South Africa, and it’s interesting to see that women are also taking up space in the virtual life of gaming.

Masango-Steenkamp is one such lady. After sustaining an injury in Netball, she decided to give soccer a try and that simple beginning has seen her evolve to a young lady that dominates both on the field and virtually.

“I remember seeing soccer players juggling the ball and I thought, I know this is something I can do.” I started playing FIFA in 2008, after physical training, after homework and all, I just started playing FIFA.”

She describes the e-sports space for black women in SA: “I remember walking into a café at Ebony Park that was full of boys, hoping to play FIFA and I remember getting comments that I should go home to cook or help my mom clean, what are you doing here. I brushed them aside and knew that I can show them what I made of. I knew that I’m better than most of these boys. It’s a very competitive and difficult.”

Busi is also the founder of Bring the Ball, a football page, started in 2021, focusing mainly on football . I have shifted my focus to women’s soccer In Africa. We are trying to get more women involved in the game. We are helping teams with team logos and getting sponsorships.

“The way women are treated is getting better, We will get to European standards, the ladies there are doing so well. We still need to put in a lot of effort into it.”

On Saturday 4 March 2023, the Play FIFA Like A Girl workshop will make its comeback to further empower women and girls in gaming and provide an opportunity for female FIFA players to take their FIFA gameplay into the realm of competitive e-sports. The event will be hosted in Johannesburg by Sam “Tech Girl” Wright alongside Busi.

“The Play FIFA Like A Girl concept was created with the intention of providing a safe and supportive space for women and girls to either learn to play FIFA or to improve on their skills, as well as to cultivate a stronger community of female FIFA players in SA. Consoles were provided for everyone to jam on, with some of South Africa’s top pro FIFA players from Goliath Gaming joining to coach the gamers who wanted to take their competitive FIFA to the next level. With all of that in mind, it was important for us to find a way to take Play FIFA Like a Girl to the next level,” says Wright.

“The Goliath Gaming pro players at the first event scouted Busi and after playing a few matches against her convinced their organisation to keep an eye on her and consider signing the FIFA player because of her talent. We see no women signing up for these competitions and I truly believe that to build women in esports they need to be competing not only at women-specific events but also the current events taking place,” Wright adds.

“Sponsorships are on the rise as well. Here in SA it is more difficult because it’s only recent that we got into gaming. I give credit to COVID for getting people to game more. But it is very difficult for women to get sponsors.”

The FIFA esports player for Goliath Gaming says though it does take time to be really good at it, she encourages ladies to sign up to play with other players online, take yourself out of the comfort zone and be willing to learn. Put the effort in, don’t be scared to rock up at tournaments where you are the only lady.”


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