WESTERN CAPE MINISTER OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS AND SPORT, ANROUX MARAIS
SPORTS AWARDS ADDRESS
25 AUGUST 2018
Good evening, molweni nonke, goeienaand
It is both a great honour and privilege to address you at our auspicious 2018 Western Cape Provincial Sport Awards this evening.
I am especially pleased to host the awards this evening as Women’s month now draws to close on Friday. That, however, does not mean that our plights miraculously disappear on Saturday (joke). We have taken many a lesson and much introspection following our participation in the 7th International Working Group’s World Conference on Women and Sport earlier this year. It is then rather fitting to promote the agenda of women in sport while in the company of the top sportspeople, administrators, coaches, federations, teams and the provincial sport “fraternity” as a whole.
Each year, during the month of August, the nation focuses on particular areas that are of concern to women and the girl child. The most notable and overarching plight to date, is the structures perpetuating systematic gender inequalities which are presently, in the year 2018, still accepted, maintained and mainstreamed. Unfortunately, these inequalities are rife in South African sport and the world over. We still find that male sportspeople are paid more than their female counterparts. We still find that even though Banyana Banyana outperforms Bafana Bafana, they receive a fraction of the male national team’s salaries. We still find that less funding is allocated to sporting codes typically played by women or the girl child. All of which have negative implications for female’s participation and opportunity in sport. If we consider the top structures, most senior executive decision making positions in the sport “fraternity” are held by men, ask me, I would know. The renowned collective label for sport stakeholders, “fraternity”, is in itself sexist in that it implies it is only for men or the boy child. The discrimination based on gender in sport is not a women’s issue to be engaged on by women only, but it is a South African problem, which requires all of us, especially men to act because, sadly, men are more likely to listen to men.
As we celebrate our esteemed sportspeople this evening, take into consideration their sacrifices, self-determination, perseverance and resilience to challenges faced, while still achieving against all odds. Take that consideration a bit further, and acknowledge that those nominated tonight would not be here or represent our province and country if it was not for at least one woman in their lives. Be it a coach, administrator, teacher, mother, sister, cousin, daughter or wife. When asked how does she continue to excel amidst all the critique and demeaning, Caster Semenya proudly paid homage to her mother as her support base and number one motivator on a world stage earlier this year.
We need to move away from the accepted idea that “you need to coach, run, swim or sport like a man to look good as a woman”, and with the influence and will from all of you in front of me, we have a really good chance to bring about real change in sport, not only in the Western Cape but in the greater South Africa, and who knows, the world round. I urge you to join me in challenging, dismantling and transforming the systematic, institutional and ideological patriarchy that still legitimately oppress women and the girl child in democratic South Africa today. Let us make it an equal playing field because I have witnessed first-hand how important sport is to our people, especially at club level and in our rural areas. Participation and access to sporting activities goes a long way in the upliftment and empowerment of our communities. I have seen rugby, soccer and netball fields solely comprised of gravel, yet leagues are still taking place with the support of community spectators behind the makeshift lines despite the adverse conditions. There is a desire and a definite need to participate, develop skills, hone talent and to excel as all our nominees have. Tonight we not only honour you, but we express our heartfelt gratitude to each one of you for making the conscious decision to firstly participate in your respective codes, grabbed the opportunities afforded to you, put in the hours of training and sacrifice, became accustomed to a healthy lifestyle and had the self-confidence and determination to compete on various levels of excellence. Through your determination and will to succeed, you have not only made us proud but you represented yourself, your families, communities, clubs, province and some of you, our country at prestigious sporting events. This is no small feat as your sporting excellence holds profound implications for our progress as a nation.
I warmly congratulate the sports stars officially celebrated here today. They have done us immensely proud and held the Western Cape’s name high at national and international sporting events. We can all agree as Madiba passionately held, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does”. It is for this reason that I would personally love to afford every child who calls the Western Cape home the opportunity to participate in sport and why this Department goes the extra mile in creating an enabling environment to provide access to mass participation, talent identification and skills development. All our sportspeople here this evening have assisted us in this mission as you are the beacons of hope and inspiration who personify the ability of sport to bring diverse groups of people together in creating hope and instilling tolerance and unity.
I thank you.
For ease of reference please see the names of the 2018 Winners and the Background of the 2018 Western Cape Provincial Sport Awards Nominees.