Women in Sport Follow in the Footsteps of Charlotte Maxeke

Refiloe Jane. Photo: Supplied

2021 is being recognized as The Year of Charlotte Maxeke and Human Rights Day is being commemorated under the theme Promoting Human Rights in the Age of Covid-19.

Charlotte Maxeke was the first black South African woman to graduate with a university degree with a B.sc from a US university in 1901.

A fearless activist who believed and actioned real change, in one of her famous quotes, she said: “This work is not for yourselves – kill that spirit of self, and do not live above your people but live with them. If you can rise, bring someone with you.”

At gsport, we believe in the power of education, and we recently joined hands with Henley Africa to build business acumen among sports leaders and help commercialise women’s sport and ensure that women can earn a living from sport.

120 years after Charlotte Mannya Maxeke attained her degree and changed the game for women when it comes to education, we salute some of the incredible women in sport who have followed in her footsteps and pursued education while flying the flag high with champion sporting performances for South Africa.


Dumisani Chauke:

Dumisani Chauke Sets Sights on PhD

Dumisani is the assistant coach of the SPAR Proteas team and a rising international netball coach. She is also a mom and has pursued her education goals alongside her sporting ones with great success. Last year, Chauke completed her Post-Graduate Diploma in Sport Management from the Tshwane University of Technology.


Daniella Rhodes:

Daniella Rhodes Becoming a Star in Her Own Right

Daniella is a rising hockey player who is playing and studying in the United States. She is the daughter of the great South African cricketer, Jonty Rhodes, who is charting her own success path while combining sport and education.


Dr Helen Bayne:

Sport Science Runs in Dr Helen Bayne’s Blood

Dr Helen Bayne has managed to combine her love for Sport, Maths and Science. She is currently a lecturer, researcher and sport scientist who has a research interest in sports injury mechanisms, capacity, coordination, coaching as well as field-based biomechanics.


Gian-Quen Isaacs:

Gian-Quen Isaacs Sets Sight on Beijing 2022

Four-time national Figure Skating champion, Gian-Quen is aiming to become the first South African ice skater to qualify for the Winter Olympics since 1998. The Grade 11 learner is balancing her education and sporting career and admits that her mother has given her the ultimatum – if she wants to continue skating, she has to excel academically.


Makgosi Peloakgosi:

Makgosi Peloakgosi Wants to Put SA Squash on the Map

Makgosi is a South African squash star who also boasts a forensic sciences degree. She believes in the power of education and, at the same time, her winning attitude has seen her set her sights on putting South African squash on the map.


Malikah Hamza:

Malikah Hamza’s Double Sporting Prowess

Malikah is a rising cricket and hockey star who has already achieved impressive sporting success at an early age. She is getting it right in terms of juggling academics and a prolific professional sporting career with many highs still to come.


Mel Awu:

Awu Blazing a Trail Through Sport and Education

Mel is a passionate sports administrator and a life long student. The University of Cape Town’s Sport Co-ordinator, is determined to change lives through sport as she continues to blaze a trail in the industry. She is working towards a BTh – Theology Degree – to add to her growing list of qualifications.


Refiloe Jane:

Refiloe Jane Joins HFPA Fitness Academy

Refiloe Jane is one of the best ambassadors for education and academics in South African sport. She believes in education, health, sport and fitness and recently joined HFPA Fitness academy to attain knowledge that will benefit her sporting life and help her grow while she helps those around her.


Thalea Smidt:

Thalea Smidt On the Comeback

Thalea Smidt is a talented footballer who also understands the importance of education. Even though injury sidelined her for many months, she used the time to complete her Post-Graduate Diploma in Digital Innovation, which she was awarded on 7 May 2020 in a virtual ceremony held by University of Pretoria.


Xoli Zondo:

Sports Presenter Xoli Zondo Speaks on Importance of Education

Seasoned sports broadcaster Xoli Zondo believes an education edges you closer to your dreams. An Environmental Scientist who has also completed her Master’s in Business Administration, she believes more women should dominate the corporate space and South African women athletes should own the global stage.


Photo 1 Caption: Refiloe Jane. Photo: Supplied

Photo 2 Caption: Xoli Zondo. Photo: Supplied

Photo 2 Caption: Thalea Smidt. Photo: Supplied

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