Jo Prins is still on cloud nine after being crowned gsport Woman in Social Media at the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards, where the class of #gsport15 boldly owned their success.
In a time where Social Media can be a negative space, Prins, who last year won the 2019 Maties Sport’s Sportswoman of the Year, is using her social media platforms to inspire and empower.
Like most young girls in South Africa, Prins has always dreamt of representing Mzansi. She was included in the National U21 training squad last year (2019), a major step in her pursuit for senior national squad selection ahead of the 2023 World Cup, to be hosted on home soil.
The StellenSport ambassador was awarded the Telkom Netball League Centre Court Player of the Year award in 2019 and coming from a family of netball players (her sister and mother), Prins has been the perfect ambassador for the game of netball. She started a podcast ‘MORE>THAN’, a platform that allows athletes to go beyond the track and use their voice to inspire change and share their authentic selves.
Lonwabo Nkohla caught up with Jo Prins, who also shares some tips on how to maintain a clean and healthy lifestyle.
Jo, congratulations on winning the Woman in Social Media award. How does this recognition make you feel, particularly in these 4IR times, social media is something we’re all trying to master?
Thank you so much. All glory to God. Apart from winning, it was such an honour to be nominated for a 2020 Momentum gsport Award and to have my name amongst so many inspiring women in sport that I have admired for a long time.
The recognition reminded me of the impact I have in others’ lives and that some find me inspirational, truly means the world to me. For all I’m doing is using my voice and sharing bits and pieces of myself and if that is helping just one person in some shape or form it really warms my heart and adds to my purpose.
I always just try to be genuine and share some things I’m passionate about or that I have learned or am still learning along my journey and I think many people can resonate with the things I share.
“One of the things I am very passionate about is the empowerment of women and especially young women.” – Jo Prins, Woman in Social Winner at the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards
I am also passionate about athletes having a voice and a platform to use it, so I recently started my own podcast MORE>THAN. The MORE>THAN Podcast Series is about empowerment of athletes and self-expression. It recognises athletes to be more than just their sport. It provides a platform for athletes to have a voice and share their authentic selves.
How important is Social Media as a tool to bring about change?
It can bring people closer and inspire people to come together and take action towards important causes. It opens up dialogues and lead to engagement that can ultimately lead to positive change.
I am well aware of the dangers of social media and how toxic it can be, so I try my best to use it in an uplifting and positive way. Digital and social media is taking over and can be used to really have a good and positive impact on the world. It can instantly connect you with people that you may have never connected with if it wasn’t for social media.
Last year you were selected to join the Protea Senior squad – tell us about your netball journey. When did your love for the sport begin?
I’ve been playing netball as long as I can remember. I grew up next to a netball court with my older sister playing and my mother used to play. At an early age I realized that this is something that I want to do as long as I can and as well as I can. So I became very committed early on in my netball journey.
When you heard the news of your selection, who was the first person you told, and why?
Gosh I can’t actually remember… I think my partner, because I always tell him everything first.
Equality is a problem in all spheres of society. Please paint us a picture of how things are at University sport level.
Female athletes face various challenges. Such as being paid less than their male counterparts to being treated poorly by the associations. The main reason is the lack of sponsors who are less interested in investing in women’s sports, and the little media coverage women’s sport receive. There is a massive gap between women and men in the sporting world. The challenges in women’s sport globally are universal. The resources and funding is limited. At University level you can just ask to see the various team budgets and bursary allocations. That will tell you enough.
We’ve seen the senior national team improve immensely over the years, what other changes would you like to see as the sport continues to find room for growth in the country?
The development is there, but not enough is being done to groom upcoming talent. But I hope that the nature of these challenges will change now that the Netball WC is coming to SA. I would love to see more media coverage and campaigns running for netball. The Netball WC is coming to SA, but where’s the build up? Where’s the excitement? So many people outside of netball are not even aware of this.
“The future is female. If you want to be a part of the future, support your women.”- Jo Prins, Woman in Social Winner at the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards
The time is NOW to invest in and get behind women! The possibilities are endless for what women will achieve in sport. You need to put in a good investment for a good return. We are excited to see those type of changes within our system and are grateful for those that are already on board.
How has COVID-19 affected your 2020?
It affected netball tremendously. We have been put on halt completely and we’re still not allowed to take court. So we are put back several months and we hope that everything will work out and that we’ll be able to compete before the end of this year. Many tournaments have been cancelled or rescheduled. It is unfortunate as we are in a building phase towards the Netball World Cup.
Are you eyeing a move abroad at some point in your career?
If the opportunity arises, I will grab it with both hands. Looking at players that have been exposed to international leagues and seeing how their game has improved, I would never say no to an opportunity like that.
The 2023 World Cup at home will be big for the national team and country. Would you like to see yourself as part of the senior squad?
“Ever since I can remember my dream was to wear the green & gold and represent this beautiful diverse country I love so much on the international stage, and that dream has not changed.” – Jo Prins
I would love to be in the 2023 WC team, but even before that it would be lovely to make the Commonwealth team and to be a part of this big #TeamSouthAfrica group with various sport codes and people from various backgrounds all coming together with one common goal, making their country proud.
You come from a family of Netball players, what do they think of your incredible achievements?
My family is my biggest support system and I wouldn’t be where I am without their love and support. They will always be my biggest fans and I am very grateful for that.
Naturally you’re big on fitness and your social media platforms are an inspiration to anyone who’d like to live a better, healthier lifestyle. What’s your go-to fitness tip for the average girl who wants to take better care of their body?
There is no one size fits all when it comes to health and fitness. It’s important to listen to your own body and its own personal needs. For me personally, balance is key.
“Being a holistic person is very important to me. The best version of myself in all aspects, and I’m constantly striving to be just that.” – Jo Prins, Woman in Social Winner at the 2020 Momentum gsport Awards
My motto is “Good. Better. Best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” What you put in, is what you’ll get out. Comparison is the thief of joy. Follow your own journey and trust the process. Be kind to your body and your body will be kind to you.
Your words of encouragement to young girls who, like you, have always dreamed of donning the green and gold?
My message to aspiring athletes is to trust the process. Put in the work and always strive to be the best version of YOURSELF! Keep working hard, but also enjoy the journey and never forget why you started in the first place.
I want every young girl to know that her voice can change the world. There is no limit to what we as women can achieve, especially together. I encourage you all to get glowing! The world needs your magic! Don’t dim your light for anyone. Let’s keep the WOMENTUM going!