Girls Only Project will be starting a new feature this year: a Q&A with South Africa and Africa’s top female athletes about the challenges and joys of being a female athlete. We believe in the power of stories to positively impact others and wanted to provide a platform for female athletes to share their personal, unique stories.
First up we have a Q&A with our ambassador Bongi Msomi – SA Netball captain:
Where did it all start?
Although I only started playing sport when I was in Grade 11 , I would say it all started the first day I came to this world. The way I was brought up by my parents and the environment I was brought in all contributed to where I am now. We sometimes moan and complain about a number of things, not understanding that life is a journey and a process. Everything contributes to a person you become at a later stage.
The fear of knowing you’ve got nothing and so wanting to do better in everything you did was always in me. One of my big fears was being a disappointment, so I always wanted to do the best I could; either during training or competitions. I wanted to prove to my parents that I could be good in sport otherwise I know they wouldn’t really buy into it and wouldn’t want me to play.
What would you want to tell your 12 year old self?
“Whatever that your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”
Allow yourself to be challenged as growth is experienced through tough times. The sooner you follow your dreams, the better it would be for you in future. Have confidence in yourself. Know your rights and responsibilities.
What is your most treasured sporting memory?
Being selected to represent my country would always be one of the most treasured memories of my sporting career. From u/21 to becoming the Spar Protea Captain, it has always been a challenge but also huge honour. Opportunities that come with representing your country are memorable as well. And luckily I am still building some memories now!
What is the best thing about being a female athlete?
Being able to break some gender stereotypes through sport. Being a female athlete means living the life that every girl child deserves. The freedom of experiencing the life that a number of females out there were discouraged to live. The best thing about being a female athlete is to know that you give hope to generations.
What is the worst thing about being a female athlete?
The expectation of being well supported and getting the recognition for your efforts in the same way male athletes would be, and being disappointed when this doesn’t happen.
If you could change one thing about women’s sport what would it be?
Despite everything else, discrimination is only of the most important reasons why females would not want to be or are not allowed to be involved into sport. If I could be able to change one thing, for the benefits of all the girls out there, it would be “DISCRIMINATION”.
What would you want others to know about what it means to be a female athlete?
Being a female athlete means classifying yourself in a different way than others. It means being unique, dedicated and responsible of your own life. Taking challenges as a lesson, learning to keep believing in your goals even when most people does not.
It means that when you’ve gone past the tough times of hard work and preparation challenges, only then you would reap the benefits. Perseverance is important.
Being a female athlete means understanding all the challenges female athletes’ face yet still working hard to become the person you’ve dreamed of.