SA sportswomen making history

I FEEL I cannot wait for August to raise very pertinent milestones regarding the contribution of women to the changing nature of South Africa, especially in the realm of sport and recreation.

During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution Fatima Khafagy, a women's rights activist and a board member of the Alliance for Arab Women, wrote an article headed "Now for the Gender Revolution".

She wrote: "I want to see the opposite of what has always happened after revolutions. History tells us that women stand side by side with men, fight with men, get killed defending themselves and others along with men, and then nurse the wounded, lament the dead, chant and dance when the struggle is victorious and help to manage the aftermath when it is not. However, history also indicates that after the success of a political struggle, women are too often forced to go back to their traditional gender roles and do not benefit from the harvest of revolution."

In this regard, last Saturday history was made on the battlefield of the qualifiers for the London Olympics in New Delhi, India. The SA women's hockey team clashed with the host nation, India, winning 3-1. The team won the 2012 Olympic qualifier tournament after a fierce battle for the ticket to London.

Like Banyana Banyana, our glorious hockey team showed tenacity, agility and speed at New Delhi's National Stadium last Saturday. Before this, our undefeated women's side beat Canada 4-1 after a 1-1 draw with Italy.

Now we can confirm that the team will join Team SA in their "Road to London 2012". Our unbeaten team takes the tune of a "winning nation" from Banyana Banyana, who qualified in September 2011 after their heroic battle with Ethiopia. The Banyana victory against Ethiopia is historic, given that it is the first time a SA women's football team has qualified for the Olympics.

Since our women's hockey team is qualifying for the fourth time in a row, we hope that Banyana will emulate this spirit.

Let us also take this opportunity to offer our undivided support for our national men's hockey team in its endeavour to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

Khalil El-Anani of Egypt writes in an article entitled "Egyptian Revolution Reconsidered": "Although the revolution succeeded in ousting the Hosni Mubarak regime, it has not yet managed to uproot the ills of its culture, value system and prevailing modes of behaviour. it remains a way off from the upper level, which involves the transformation of social and institutional structures and value and behavioural systems to enable society to regain its health and proceed towards the realisation of human development and prosperity."

This observation is relevant to us. We need to move with speed to transform our social and institutional structures to enable society and women in particular to proceed towards development and prosperity and be able to compete on an equal footing with all the winning nations of the world.