Tatenda Gondo’s passion for acknowledging and celebrating athletes who hardly receive attention from the mainstream media, encouraged her to start her own blog – Sports Rifle 7/24 – which she hopes to turns into a powerful sports content hub.
Gondo believes that there are many athletes in Zimbabwe who deserve to have their stories told, from the minority sporting codes to women in sport.
She has always been intrigued by the successes of her country’s female athletes and says that if more resources were available for women, they would be a powerhouse in world sports.
She stresses the importance of blogging which allows one to build their own brand and create opportunities to be noticed by the mainstream media houses.
As a holder of an Advanced Diploma in HIV/AIDS Management with the Association of Business Managers and Administrators UK, Gondo is also planning to become a sports media consultant in future.
Speaking with Celine Abrahams, Gondo chats about her journey in sport and her hopes to see women take up space in leadership roles.
Welcome to gsport! Please introduce yourself and tell us more about you.
I am Tatenda Gondo, a 28-year-old freelance sports reporter and sports content creator. I am the second born from a family of four, I am blessed with the most amazing siblings Tafadzwa who is my elder brother, Tanaka and Munashe Gondo. I am a holder of an Advanced Diploma in HIV/AIDS Management with the Association of Business Managers and Administrators UK.
Where does your passion for sport come from?
“Growing up I remember attending a number of sports events with my father, most of the time it was horse racing and soccer, and we hardly missed horse racing day at the Borrowdale Racecourse.” – Zimbabwean sports blogger, Tatenda Gondo
Growing up I remember attending a number of sports events with my father, most of the time it was horse racing and soccer, and we hardly missed horse racing day at the Borrowdale Racecourse. When I completed my studies in HIV/AIDS I was employed by SportsAids Trust an organization that used sports as a tool to disseminate information about Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights. From then my love for sports developed. Also witnessing the Zimbabwe Senior Women’s football team qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games ignited my love and passion for sports.
Have you always had an interest in telling stories about sports stars or did you ever dream of becoming a sports star yourself?
No, NEVER! I was that kind of person who only loved watching sports and of course getting the win result.
What is it about sports that intrigues you?
Watching Zimbabwean sports personalities shining locally, regionally and internationally. Talking about the 2016 women’s football team that qualified for the Rio Olympic games, 2017 Zimbabwe junior netball team that made it to the Netball Youth World Cup, Zimbabwe Junior Hockey team that won bronze at the 2018 African Youth Games, your Monalisa Sibanda becoming the first-ever Zimbabwean female boxer to win an WIBA title and Zimbabwe Polocrosse team appearance at the Polocrosse World Cup to mention a few.
What are your thoughts on women’s sport and women in sport on the African continent?
Despite issues to do with equal mainstream media coverage, adequate sponsorship and equal pay for women’s sports in Africa, it is gradually developing as compared to the 1990s. Take a look at Isabella Sambou from Senegal, nine-time gold medallist and was crowned by World Wrestling Union as the ‘African Wrestler of the Decade’, Maria Mutola popularly referred to as the “Maputo Express” who is the only Mozambican athlete in history to have won a world or Olympic medal, Ethiopian Derartu Tulu who became the first black female athlete to win an Olympic medal at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona and of course Zimbabwe’s Kirsty Coventry who is the most decorated Olympia in Africa. Just looking at these ladies’ achievements I feel that if more resources would be available to African female athletes the continent would be a powerhouse in sports.
What are you hoping to see change one day when it comes to this constant talk of women not having a rightful place in the sporting industry?
“If males can officiate women’s games, I also believe that we should see more females officiating in top-flight football. At the end of the day we hope that our male and female athletes will be paid and treated equally, and that women’s sports will be able to lure sponsors.” – Gondo speaks on women in sport.
I hope that soon it will not just be constant talk only but rather constantly going to the stadiums to watch our athletes playing the game they love. Qualified females contesting to fill up the leading positions in sports administrative roles. If males can officiate women’s games, I also believe that we should see more females officiating in top-flight football. At the end of the day we hope that our male and female athletes will be paid and treated equally, and that women’s sports will be able to lure sponsors.
Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt that your views or opinions were pushed to the side?
A lot! I remember just last year when Sports and Recreation Commission in Zimbabwe dissolved the Zimbabwe Cricket Board, I, personally felt it was a great decision because I had heard about some of the unfair treatment that our female cricket players received from their leadership. I really wanted that to change and because I support that decision some individuals believed that I was in support of the decision because I was having sexual relationships with some sports administrators. At the end of the day I think I have developed a thick skin and I am just the best version of myself.
Please tell us more about your blog – Sports Rifle – and the kind of content you offer your readers.
Sports Rifle 724 is an upcoming sports media house and our main aim is to acknowledge and celebrate some of our amazing athletes who hardly get acknowledged or celebrated by the mainstream media. So, our focus on SP724 is your minority sports like your polo, polocrosse, hockey, equestrian, karate, baseball and anything to do with female sports. In some cases, we talk all things sports, hence we operate under a tagline Seeker of All Things Sports.
What made you start blogging?
I realised that there was less mainstream media coverage for our athletes particularly those playing in minority sports and the idea of blogging started despite the fact that I have a terrible grammar (which I am working on!).
For other budding sports writers out there, what advice would you share with them on the importance of blogging and building a platform for yourself?
Do what you love, enjoy it the most and just let it flow. Also be constant when it comes to uploading content on your blog. Nothing brings more joy to our minority sports athletes than having their stories being told by bloggers, because they are the least celebrated. I noticed that most mainstream media houses constantly check out content from blogs it could be an opportunity for one to grow their profiles as bloggers. Blogging is also a way of creating a brand for yourself and I believe one is likely going to get more opportunities when blogging because you aren’t limited.
Who are the women in sport that you draw inspiration from?
Firstly, it has to be my mother Ebba Farai Gondo. One of the greatest blessings one can receive is having a mother that supports your passion even if doesn’t bring enough financial rewards. Then, Ellen Chiwenga, she has achieved a whole lot through hard work and determination becoming Africa’s only female FIFA match agent and her working with some of the most popular EPL teams. Also, Janine Anthony she was the first person that saw the potential I had and since then she has been one of my constant supporter’s – I look up to her!
What is your greatest ambition?
My ambition is to develop Sports Rifle 724 into a powerful sports content hub, distributing sports content to mainstream media houses. Also, to become a sports media consultant.
Photo 1 Caption: Tatenda Gondo is passionate about acknowledging and celebrating athletes who hardly receive attention from the mainstream media, leading her to start her own blog – Sports Rifle 724 – which she hopes will one day turn into a powerful sports content hub. Photo: Supplied
Photo 2 Caption: She believes that there are many athletes in Zimbabwe who deserve to have their stories told from the minority sporting codes to women in sport. Gondo has always been intrigued by the successes of her country’s female athletes and says that if more resources were available for women, they would be a powerhouse in world sports. Photo: Supplied