We recently spoke to Dumisani Chauke, a highly ambitious sportswoman in South Africa, about her latest achievements.
You are so WOMANDLA and wear many hats! Tell us what you do.
I am a Sport Organiser at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria. I am also the netball coordinator and coach. I am the assistant coach of the Gauteng Golden Fireballs competing in the upcoming Brutal Fruit netball Premier League. I am the assistant coach of the SA u21 netball team. I am the vice chair of USSA Netball. I am the founder and executive Chair-person of Dumisani Chauke Netball Foundation.
What inspired you to play Netball?
I used to watch other ladies play the sport on TV “Sesfikile” and deep down inside I wanted to be just like them. I did not really like netball in the beginning, but I fell in love with it when I realised how good I could be at it. The life skills it has taught me are invaluable. The opportunities it has presented me with plus the doors it has opened for me are immeasurable…
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest 1 right now is launching my own foundation. And second to that, is the opportunity I have been given by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee and Netball South Africa to travel with the SA Senior netball team as an Intern Coach to the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I feel so blessed to be travelling with the team, going to the games, learning and being mentored by some of the best netball coaches in the world…it feels unreal for a Tsonga girl from the dusty streets of a small Malamulele Township in Limpopo. I cannot wait!
What struggles/problems have you have you had to overcome in South Africa?
The fact that netball is not a professional sport is still one of the biggest challenge that both players and coaches face. The lack of funding for the sport which then limits our resources and facilities. As a woman in the sport industry working with men, we are still undermined and we are always having to prove ourselves even though time and again we excel in our jobs/activities but the men in the end still have an advantage over us as women.
Do you think there is enough media coverage of women’s sport in general and if not what do you think could be done to fix this?
Not at all. We as women have to either beg for media coverage during prime time or we settle for the slots that are allocated to us on channels that the general population either doesn’t have or cannot access. In newspapers and magazines, you hardly read about the great work that women coaches and women sport leaders are doing, but on a daily basis you will find something about our male counterparts. I think we need to create our own media platforms. Be it TV, radio stations, magazines or newspapers, and even social media – since it is not being given to us, we need to create our own.
What would you say to aspiring Women in Sport?
Don’t let the suits, fancy shoes, happy socks and deep voices intimidate you, know your story and walk into this industry with confidence and your head held high. Whatever you want to achieve will not be given to you on a silver platter. You are going to have to work for it, prove yourself time and again, and then do some more work, but you know what IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT IN THE END.
Thanks so much for your time Dumi – keep soaring!