Sadie Niekerk: “We Are Women and We Got This”

JVW Media Officer, Sadie Niekerk wears many hats, not only is she Media Officer for the Hollywoodbets Super League side, she is also a Conditioner, Massage Therapist and Sports Administrator from Gqeberha.

Niekerk’s job as Media Officer involves updating JVW’s social media platforms and doing graphics for the club. She believes that as an individual who works in social media, she needs to afford more opportunities and recognition to female athletes who deserve it.

Her aim is to fly a flag that boldly asserts: “we are women and we’ve got this”.

She’s been involved in sport her whole life, even as an athlete, representing the Eastern Cape in hockey, water polo and athletics.

Speaking to Tlamelo Kganakga, Sadie expounds more on her job and the progress women still need to make in sport media.

 

Sadie, thank you for chatting to us. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Sadie Niekerk, I’m a 27-year-old Sports Conditioner, Massage Therapist and Sports Administrator. I currently work for JVW Girls Football Club.

When and where did your love for sport begin and did you play?

 I’ve always loved sport for as long as I can remember. You name it, I’ve tried it. I’ve known from the get-go that this was going to be my life’s passion and what my future would look like. I’m actually a hockey player, born and bred in Gqeberha, representing my province in hockey, waterpolo and athletics. I’ve also done and completed 2 full and half Ironman Triathlons. Football only came later in my life, playing just a few matches, but my other sports always took preference. Little did I know football would circle back into my life in a very different way.

What does a typical day look like in your position?

My typical day consist of many things – I wear many hats. I’ll head to the office deal with all admin, updating our social media pages and ensuring that all interviews and commitments are honoured by the players. When all that is done, I head down to the field for the training taking place to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the games that are coming up that week or weekend.

On game day, other than social media, I am also the team Medic and Massage Therapist, the latter two I perform alongside Dr Rodney Mokoka.

What are some of the challenges you have face and how do you overcome them?

Being female in a male dominated sport is the biggest one and yes it sounds cliché but it’s true. Always having to prove that you can do something just as good as the next person is the big pressure I face. I’m an over achiever and always aim to do my best at whatever challenge I might face, but thankfully my JVW family has guided me in so many ways. I work under the best in the business: Lauren Duncan, the best football Project Director and Banyana Banyana’s Manager and backbone. I know that with her guidance I can’t go wrong and that making mistakes along the way is okay, as long as you learn from them.

Kindly tell us more about your role as Media Officer at JVW, what does the position entail?

Being the Media Officer for JVW entails ensuring that our social media is updated and that posts and stories are posted in a timely manner. I also do the graphics for the club alongside my colleague Talia Swartbooi for all games, sponsors, national team call ups and other general posts. We also produce our own content such as videos and photos. Lastly, also generally staying abreast with what is happening in the media.

Besides sport, what else are you involved with and how do you manage your time?

Outside of sport, I try and to as much I can. I have a checklist of things and places I’d like to visit, and I check them all off one by one.

What has been some of your career highlights?

I would say that my biggest highlight is how much I’ve grown and the relationships I’ve made along the way. Yes, it’s small victories but every win and every loss is a highlight and a lesson and I know there is so much more to come. I never once thought that this is where I would be today and I will continue to do my utmost best do be as successful as I can be.

Who are some of the women you admire in sports media and why?

Hands down I would have to say Lauren Duncan, she started by working in social media but the great strides she’s made to where she is today are so admirable. She is a woman of many accolades and has worn many hats in her journey. The fact that I get to work with her is something that I can’t put into words, she is a voice for those behind the scenes. She guides me every day.

Looking back at the last five years, what do you think of the coverage of women’s sports both online and on print?

The coverage in women’s sport has grown exponentially and yes there are still some things that are still to come and change but the coverage has unfolded in so many ways. Women in sports have made it so much easier for us to celebrate them across all media platforms because of the hard work they have put in, so they essentially make our jobs easier.

What progress do women still need to make in sports media?

I think that women in sport are doing their best to get out there. We as the individuals that work in social media need to give them the opportunities and recognition they deserve. It’s the little interviews here and there or the odd picture on a social media platforms that makes them to feel appreciated and in turn they will continue to strive and stay motivated. It’s the little things that count.

What’s your advice to young girls who want to pursue this career and how important is it for them to take care of themselves mentally and physically?

My advice would be that you should never be discouraged, go for what you want. You’ll face many trials and tribulations along the way, but no downfall is greater than your success. This career takes a lot of time and effort, not to forgetting creativity, focus and determination because you won’t only be representing yourself but also the ones that you will be covering along the way.

Yes, it’s a lot of pressure but nothing in life comes easy, it’s the hard work and determination that you put in that will not only prove to yourself but the rest of the world why you are who you are and why you do what you do. In this field, respect is not just given but earned and there are a lot of big, intimidating names but remember they also had to start somewhere and they’re successful because of the hard work they have put in.

What’s your advice to aspiring women who want to get into this industry?

It’s not for the faint of the heart, it takes real passion to do this. You need to love what you do and once you get that down, it will never be a job again it will then become a passion and a love like no other.

How important is Power of Recognition for you?

Recognition is everything. The various women in sport work extremely hard to do their best and without them we would have much to cover would we?

The recognition we give them means more than we know, the fact that they know that there is someone out there who sees them and appreciates all their efforts. gsport gives so many female athletes a platform that not many people do and for me as a woman working in sport, I admire all that gsport does and hope that one day I can do the same.

What’s your greatest career ambition?

I can only hope to do my best in giving every female athlete and woman working in sport the platform to celebrate their victories. I learn every day and take every single lesson taught to me and implement it in whatever I do, and I will continue to fly that flag high, the flag that screams “WE ARE WOMEN AND WE’VE GOT THIS!”

 

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