SAWBA answers women’s call

“There has been a decrease in the standard of basketball”

WOMEN involved in South African basketball, have taken a step forward in changing the narrative for themselves. Through South Africa Women’s Basketball Association (SAWBA), the aim is to create more opportunities for women in and through the sport.

Following a dialogue, late last year, to address issues affecting women in the country’s basketball, the idea of SAWBA came to fruition. The organisation hit the ground running by electing new leadership to take women’s basketball on a different path.

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SAWBA aims to get women playing basketball at a competitively. Pictures: BTO

Leading this change for women’s basketball in South Africa is newly elected chairperson of SAWBA, Nompumelelo Ramatsoga. Ramatsoga and her committee look forward to the challenge of helping women realise their aspirations in basketball.

It’s exciting. I am lucky to have such an incredible committee flanking me. This is a group of amazing women. They stepped up to the call, and are willing to work with me,” said Ramatsoga, who proceeded to outline what some of the newly elected committee’s objectives are.

“For the next couple of years, we want to be an advocate for women and girls basketball. We want to help the sport to grow. We want to offer support to young women and girls who love the sport. Not just on the court, we want to support them off the court as well.”

Ramatsoga, a former under-16 national team coach, elaborated on the type of support they are looking to offer women in basketball.

“On the court, it’s to get more girls playing. Get them playing on a more competitive level. That’s the biggest one, getting girls to play and for them to get exposure. We also want women to get educated. If you look at our board and executive committee, most of us got an education through basketball,” said Ramatsoga, who shared her experiences and concerns about the state of the game in South Africa.

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SAWBA wants women to get educated through basketball.

“I have had the opportunity to coach the under-16 national team in two cycles of competition in 2015 and 2018. It’s a great platform. It’s one of the greatest joys I have experienced in basketball. But there were some eye-openers as well. And as SAWBA, we want to address these issues. For example, we would like to see an all-female staff in teams. We don’t only want to play the game. We want to show that women can be doctors. Women can be physios. Women can be coaches. Women can be administrators in the sport. We want to create a holistic picture,” said Ramatsoga, who is studying towards her Masters in Psychology.

Another issue of concern in South African basketball is that the sport has been dysfunctional. The state affairs have made engagement with structures almost impossible. Ramatsoga herself acknowledges as much and feels once there has been a remedy to the situation, SAWBA will be in a position to communicate.

“There has been a decrease in the standard of basketball as well as access to opportunities and competitions. I think there is value in having a conversation with structures that exist, and structures being built. I know most provincial structures have gone into rebuild mode. We can’t exist in a silo,” said the former assistant coach of the Wits men’s team.



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Ramatsoga believes SAWBA, is perfectly positioned to help women’s basketball reach it’s potential. The onus is on the organisation to make full use of the opportunity.

“We are in a unique place to give women basketball players something to look forward to. We have a responsibility to make use of that,” said Ramatsoga.

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