Gauteng MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Mbali Hlophe believes that with more women coming together there will be a major uplift in female sporting codes across the country as the 2019 Gauteng Women in Sport Dialogue took place on Saturday at the UJ Arts and Culture Centre.
As much as the event was held in celebration of the province’s progress in sport, it was also held with the intention of growing the rest of South Africa’s women’s sport and those that find themselves within the industry with various guest speakers sharing their journey’s on stage.
Hlophe, who unfortunately could not be present, sent through a message to all the women, both young and old, who were able to attend the event as they engaged in panel discussions to teach and advise the next generation, pointing out that the development in women’s sport needs to be taken to the next level: “What is critical is for us to be able to take, and particularly women in sport development to the next level.
“We are here as a department and we fully support you. We have been unambiguous with our support for women in sport, with the girl-child in particular because we do see our role as that of ensuring that we take women’s sport to the next level because sports is not a terrain for males, it is a terrain for everybody to be able to play freely.
“So, a lot of the programmes that we have in place is geared towards yourselves and how we plan to break the cliff that we see. As the government we remain that we are activists and that we are progressive in nature and we want to ensure that we get everybody moving as much as possible and whatever’s there that hinders that movement, that hinders that participation, we’re there to make sure that we deal with it.”
UJ Sport Senior Director, Nomsa Mahlangu was also delighted after the proceedings had taken place and
“It has been an excellent day and it has been empowering for the young women and I think for us who have been in the industry for some time, it is actually encouraging to realise that there are so many young women that are interested in sport and in different careers in sport. So, I think for me overall, I am impressed, and I am encouraged to know that the future is feminine.”
Speaking on the importance of having dialogues aimed at empowering women, Mahlangu said: “I think they are important in the sense that you need to share, you need to learn, you need to teach, so this is a perfect opportunity for people to teach and learn, where people can be able to vent if there is a need to vent. Where people can be able to bounce off ideas, where people can start forming little networks and support groups because in essence it is for each individual to have a support group to be able to grow but it is also key for us as women to realise that we need the little networks so that we can be able to sustain each other.”
Also present at the event, para-athlete Palesa Manaleng, who had encountered many challenges along her journey, was pleased with the conference having taken place.
“Today’s conference went well. From what I could see the engagement with the young generation, the older ones and us, the people who are in the middle, where different people from different backgrounds, from different fields – we had administrators, biokinetics, coaches, different abled-athletes who took part in the conversation, so everyone was covered.
“This is very important because as women we need to continue having conversations about access to sport in schools, access to sports as elite athletes and we need to talk about the abuse that women encounter as athletes, administrators and coaches, so these conversations are important so the next generation does not go through what we have gone through,” she ended.
Photo 1 Caption: Inspirational athletes, Maria Combrink, Tumi Sekhune, Nthabiseng Phala and Axola Jili were part of the first panel discussions that took place at the UJ Arts and Culture Centre for the 2019 Gauteng Women in Sport Dialogue. Photo: gsport