The sun shone bright and beautiful on a winter’s morning as influential women and men in sport gathered at the inaugural gsport Business Breakfast, which was held at the Gallery Suite at Imperial Wanderers Stadium on Friday, 29 July 2022.
As guests streamed in and sat down to chat over breakfast, pandemonium and pure jubilation broke out as CAF Coach of the Year Desiree Ellis, Co-Captain Refiloe Jane, Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Andile Dlamini, Thalea Smidt and Banyana Banyana Media Officer, Sinethemba Mbatha arrived. To have the Champions of African Women’s Football in the house was simply mind-blowing and a cherry on the top of the cake for all who were in attendance.
gsport Founder Kass Naidoo has laid the foundation for championing Women’s Sport, 16 years down the line, we are still fighting that fight, but that fight is now stronger and more powerful than ever before. Women are standing up and owning their success and are being loud and proud of their achievements. Gone are the days where it was just men that held positions in high places, now women are being chosen to change the game.
Dheshnie Naidoo, the Head of Production Operations at SuperSport is one such woman in the media space. Her excitement at being at the event was evident in her bright smile. She feels that women’s sport is accelerating and the need for collective collaboration is now.
“It is amazing to see so many influential women taking up space and interest for women’s sport and also showing support for women in sport. The moment to be influential in changing the narrative is NOW and we need to take it.”
2019 Momentum gsport Awards Women in PR and Sponsorship winner, Marisa Calvert was also in attendance. Calvert who hails from Cape Town was super excited about the breakfast and networking that was taking place amongst everyone. But her biggest takeaway was the unveiling of the Systemic Stairway.
“The Systemic Stairway is an excellent piece of work and it is something we have lacked in all sports. It was like a best-kept secret but we are now sharing it with the world. It will not only change the game for Women’s Sport in South Africa but also for amateur sports, especially the smaller sporting codes that tend to get forgotten. It gives us a road map for anything that we do in life. I am so excited that we are going to share that with the rest of the country and keep the narrative going.”
A rising star in the media space, Itumeleng Banda who is a former Momentum gsport Awards Women in Radio winner was all smiles and praise for the #gsportBusinessBreakfast.
“It was a much-needed event, that was highly important and insightful. It really indicated how far we have come with driving the narrative of Women’s Sport within the country. It also highlighted the good which we have done, as the media, and the good we have done as the general public. When we talk about sponsorship in women’s sport, we always talk about people not coming on board, but we never address why people are not coming on board.
“The event opened up that line of discussion of why people are not coming on board, but in the same breath, we do have people that have come on board to support Women’s Sport. What is it that we have done right and what is that we need to change. The biggest takeaway for me was that we the journalists, the broadcasters of Women’s Sport are the drivers,” she added.
“We have to start thinking a bit more positively and we need to be more positive when we talk about women in sport. We really have the responsibility of driving the narrative that draws people, to be watching, supporting, and investing in Women’s Sport.”
Banyana Banyana’s Thalea Smidt expressed the importance of the event, saying: “It is important for corporates to come on board and invest in us and in women’s sport. This event is very important, especially for us as female athletes. We are not just athletes but also, we are brands. We also need to make a living from the sport that we play and we don’t have to constantly worry about what’s going to happen after my career ends.”
Changing the narrative starts with all of us. We are the driving force behind changing people’s perception of women’s sport and getting corporates to come on board and back women’s sport and we need to keep the momentum going.
After a hype of activity, an informative and productive business breakfast for the Advancement of Women’s sport, we all started to come back to earth over coffee and cake ahead of gsport’s sweet 16 birthday on Monday, 1 August 2022.
Photo 1 Caption: gsport Founder Kass Naidoo pictured addressing guests at the inaugural gsport Business Breakfast at Imperial Wanderers Stadium on Friday, 29 July 2022. Photo: gsport