Volunteers are ultimately the backbone when it comes to the development of sport in the country. Many reach deep into their pockets to play their part in promoting sport in South Africa.
The gsport Volunteer of the Year award recognises the women who effortlessly and selflessly give their time and resources to raise the profile of women’s sport in South Africa, especially at grassroots level.
This Award is one of the longest running award categories, having been introduced when the Awards first expanded back in 2007.
A Trio of Exceptional Givers
Maria Diamond, Nadeema Levy and Zizo Papu are exceptional women who have all gone out of their way to ensure that aspiring sports stars get the fundamental foundations as a head start to their journey.
Diamond, commonly known as Coach Maria, is passionate about development. This former sprinter is a well-known figure in Germiston, where she heads up her own Athletics club.
Not only does she ensure that the young athletes at her club acquire the necessary training on the track, but she also emphasises the importance of education, as she has, over the years, helped obtain bursaries for her pupils at various universities locally and abroad.
“I am very proud of myself as a woman of colour, being a sprint, hurdle and long-jump Development Coach in a white dominated space,” coach Maria Diamond told gsport.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to be in the Top Three in the category of Volunteer of the Year as it is a great privilege to be chosen under the banner of gsport, and to be amongst all the great women of South Africa.” – Maria Diamond
Touch Rugby has become a rising sporting code among women, and, for this, Nadeema Levy has been a key figure in Cape Town, setting up coaching sessions for working class schools and communities and imposing school touch rugby leagues for girls.
“My involvement with touch rugby is across the spectrum from grassroots to international tests and World Cups,” said coach Nadeema Levy. “The main aim has always been to promote our sport amongst girls and women across the spectrum and at every level – social to the international athlete representing South Africa.
“Given the socio-economic constraints we face at grassroots and because the sport is not funded (like many other sports) it is challenging as many times we have to run feeding schemes at our leagues as food is not necessarily easily available to players.
“I am very honoured to be nominated and would like to give thanks for the nomination.” – Nadeema Levy
“I have been actively promoting and running girls’ programmes for touch in the Western Cape and has personally funded many leagues, and players to play at provincial and national level,” said Levy.
For over a decade, Levy has been supporting every provincial event, to the extent of taking out a personal loan to financially assist costs for players.
Zizo Papu has been a sports volunteer for more than sixteen years. Her passion for cricket has seen her do pioneering work to grow the game in the Eastern Cape.
Papu started doing voluntary work at Border at an early age and went on to become Chairperson of women’s cricket at Border, where she has served as a Board member since 2009.
“I’m still yet to find the right words to express my feelings that comes with this nomination,” Papu told gsport.
“It means so much to me to be recognized for something that I’ve a passion for, it has given me more belief and motivation to continue with the work that I’m doing.” – Zizo Papu
Some of Papu’s current positions, all on a voluntary basis, include Deputy President of Buffalo City Sport Council, National General Secretary for the South African Handball Federation.
To vote for your favourite #gsport14 Finalist, register a free membership at gsport.co.za by using your email or social media account. Voting closes on National Women’s Day, 9 August 2019, and winners will be unveiled at the 2019 gsport Awards at the end of August.
Visit gsport.co.za and follow @gsport4girls on social media to keep up to date with all things gsport Awards.
gsport Volunteer of the Year Honours Roll:
2018: Mpho Makhoba
2017: Moonira Ramathula
2016: Zelda Hansen
2015: Londiwe Hlatshwayo
2014: Khweshy Dubula
2013: Morizane Boyes
2012: Anela Mahamba
2011: Mosalang Mshayisa
2009: Lunga Ntuli
2008: Bronwyn Chudleigh
2007: Ilse Langhout
Photo 1 Caption: Volunteer of the Year finalist, Nadeema Levy, pictured in action during a Touch Rugby match in Cape Town, Western Cape. Photo: Supplied