South Africa's basketball community

Women in basketball do exist

By on October 9, 2008 in FanZone

The world of basketball has been dominated by men for a long time and not much has been done to change that; intriguingly this dominance doesn’t only exist in basketball but in all aspects of sport as well. August was Women’s Month but still a sense of “It’s a man’s world…” was lurking here at home; it took a special lady from the US to change that…

Photos by NBA Photos/Getty Images

For the first time ever, BWB (Basketball Without Boarders) held The Women’s Clinic in South Africa at The American School. Together with Hoops for Hope, NBA brought WNBA and Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Azzi, who’s also the Ambassador for NBA Cares, along to help run the clinic. About 70 South African girls were at the clinic getting coached by some of the best in the world, not only about basketball; but about values, education, gender equality etc.When speaking to Jennifer about the camp, she mentioned how women’s sport in South Africa is lacking infrastructure and how if the government did something about this issue; women’s sport in general would improve. Both Thierry Kita and Jennifer Azzi thought it’d be a great idea for the girls to have a separate camp from the boys but with the same programme in mind and to their surprise in the near future, (having run such a successful camp). With many requests sent to the NBA about running a ladies’ camp being put on hold; finally after a lot of persuasion from Hoops for Hope and Thierry, the NBA approved the request! The camp was a great success and we hope to see more BWB ladies’ camps in the future.

The annual Women’s Tournament is coming up, from the 28th to the 30th of November at the Communal Hall in Orlando East Soweto. This tournament is a true reflection of the abundant talent we have in women’s basketball here in South Africa. R20 000 is up for grabs for the winning team in the senior section and R15 000 in the junior… ‘Cash money’ for the All stars and MVP will also be up for the taking.  Gauteng basketball Association and Sports and Recreation South Africa are the sponsors of the tournament and teams from all corners of the continent are invited. This is the one; if not only tournament that women in basketball look forward to the whole year; as most tournaments and camps are held for men.

With extra effort to bring more women into basketball; there’s been an addition to the female coaches to the list (after all; there was only one lady on that list initially)… Emma Ledwaba is the assistant coach to Willie Matlakala for the u/20 Zone VI games that will be taking place in Potchefstroom. Emma came back last year after playing and studying in the US. With her being originally from Limpopo; Emma is a very talented player and hopefully she can transfer that knowledge into her coaching career. There are a few other names that need to go on the list of women coaches such as USSA coach of the tournament; Tuks head coach; Nicki de Villiers. This lady only started playing the game when she got to varsity and has been playing for many years ever since. Nicki has featured in the national setup as coach and player but due to unspoken circumstances; stepped down from her national duties.

During the days of CBL; given that one of the conditions of a team participating in the league was that they had to have a women’s team; it did a lot for women’s basketball! The CBL also had a major role to play in the set up of basketball for ladies in South Africa. Hopefully the new BSA committee that will be appointed later this month will do an even better job by really paying attention and dedicating themselves to looking at women in basketball and finding ways to give women’s basketball a face lift. We need to see women in basketball being appreciated abit more because they too bring something special to this wonderful game.

Article done by Nthabiseng Mushi

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Setlogelo says:

    The article is a clone to the Unitards and Gold Medal. It would have been better to comment under such a topic as a form of acknowledging the intellectual capacity of the writer. There is also a separate brief about the women’s tournament. It would be great to have uniform views.

  2. Roxy says:

    Why is it that when we talk about women in basketball, people only ever mention those women in high profile positions? What about the women coaches who are involved with school basketball? They too make an invaluable contirbution to women’s basketball. School level is where it all begins. Perhaps we should also acknowledge these young women and in so doing encourage them to keep learning, keep developing their coaching skills. I have seen it time and again, young coaches quiting, simply because there is no recognition and no interest shown by those in the top positions in developing young coaches. There are hardly any opportunities available for young women coaches to grow and learn at higher levels of coaching. Instead of allowing these passionate young women to fade into the background and disappear, we need to nuture them. We all have to start somewhere but once that first step has been taken, we need a plan that identifies young coaches and aids them in advancing through the system to one day coach at a national level. I think it’s time for ALL women involved in basketball to come together and form a untied group with a clear mission and vision to ensure a solid foundation for the future of women’s basketball. It is up to us. In the words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

  3. kim says:

    Great points Roxy

  4. Joe says:


    I hope that your proposal for women to form a group will not end as words but will be followed up by action from your part. I am saying this cause as I stated on the Unitards post it is my observation that Yes there are women in bball but most tend to play victims waiting for a messiah to rescue.

  5. Victor says:

    Hi there,

    Roxy makes a lot of good points and after reading a lot of comments on the topic maybe the good work being done at grassroots is not filtering through. But there are a lot of women out there doing some great work. Keep it up.