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Women’s Month: Balalwa Latsha

I’m a professional women’s rugby player, I play prop for the Springbok Women and Western Province and the first ever woman in Africa to play for a pro International club. I coach young boys and girls in my community. I’m a member of Rugby Africa’s sub-committee for Player Welfare and Participation, and I am Director of the MENstruation Foundation. 

What keeps me motivated is my background, I come from a township in Cape Town called Khayelitsha, and I have the desire to succeed so I may make a positive impact in my community and country. I want to drive the advancement of young people,particularly young women. There is so much I want to achieve and change. 

My role model is Tendai Beast Mtawarira because I am greatly inspired by his life story,his massive contribution to rugby and his continuation of an incredible legacy through the young lives that he greatly impacts through The Beast Foundation. 

In my view, the biggest barrier is the perception and stereotypes around women’s sports and female athletes, particularly in male dominated sports.  It is therefore critical that we break down those to creative a new narrative of acceptance and normalizing visibility of women’s sports.

The first thing they can do is to talk about it in mainstream media. Make it trend on their social media, rally behind it. They can use their influence in different sectors eg media, commentary, business and even philanthropy. 

It was simply to believe. I had to believe in myself, my vision, and that in fact I can make my dreams come true. I had to believe that a girl like me  from the township, with odds stacked heavily against her could conquer the world. 

I’d definitely advise them to go for it with all their might. Sports is a powerful life changing tool and helps mold women into unstoppable, empowered and independent leaders. 

I’d tell her to never doubt herself in any way!  

I want to continue to advocate for the advancement of women’s sports. I want to open doors for more woman. I continually strive to be a beacon of hope and inspiration, and to actively change the narrative of African young women. 

Image by Greg Beadle

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