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New Basketball Association to Leverage Female Representation

- Tshepiso Mametela

The local basketball landscape has embarked on writing a new and exciting chapter for women in the sport, aimed at reverberating across the continent, thanks in part to the collaborative efforts of current and former Wits Basketball faces.

It is often said the sport is not just merely that; a sport ... it is a lifestyle. The launch of the South Africa Women’s Basketball Association (SAWBA) will not only give credence to the notion, but it will support the growth of female basketball participation while promoting and upholding a rigid structure contrary to its previously unkempt appearance.

As a foot soldier in her own right, Nicole Mangondo, formerly a bullish power forward for the Wits Lady Bucks and now part of SAWBA’s Programmes Committee — following the launch of the association in December last year — has praised the strides made in and for the hoop-shooting sport.

Asked what this latest development means for the South African basketball scene and, in particular, women’s basketball, Mangondo outlined that the association “aims to get women’s basketball organised”.

“The association wants to have strategic partners in the development of basketball for women at all ages, stages and platforms, be it differently-abled basketball players to officials,” said Mangondo, adding that pivotal strides have been made.

“It is something that most women have wanted to do but haven’t necessarily had the platform nor the confidence to do so. We are now at a point where technology aids in making communication, reach and development easier but, don’t forget, the future is female.

“We are all educated in various fields and together with our different experiences that relate to basketball, this allows us to have the combined confidence in our abilities to see this through.”

Nicole Mangondo in action in the Varsity Basketball Tournament

Undeniably, there have been challenges along the way. The ex-Witsie said this was evidently self-doubt and the pressing need to subscribe to a working method, that is, ensuring the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted.

“We are always looking to someone else to make the moves yet we ourselves are capable of acting,” said Mangondo. “Despite what we may think, there is always someone who is thinking what you are thinking and is willing to help you to achieve shared goals.”

And on the said method itself, she explained: “The next challenge is doing things the absolutely correct, diplomatic and structured way, therefore, making this a p-r-o-c-e-s-s. We won’t get it correct the first time; we are learning as we go but with everything we are trying to follow the correct procedures and structures”.

In its objective endeavor to create and uphold a lasting legacy, the association will strive for the country to be competitive on both the African and international scenes. At the forefront of SAWBA’s key values are respect and reputation, both pillars which will support the future athletic, academic and skillful talent that aspires to succeed within South Africa.


Ipeleng Nyatlo in action in the Varsity Basketball Tournament

Thandiwe Nqanda in action in the Varsity Basketball Tournament


Former and Current Witsies involved in SAWBA:

Former and Current Coaches and Manager:  Former Wits Basketball Assistant Coach: Nompumelelo Ramatsoga, Wits Basketball Assistant Coach: Manyani Maseko and former Manager: Ngoza Phiri-Mazarura

Players Current and Former: Nicole Mangondo, Ipeleng Nyatlo, Thandiwe Nqanda, Rudo Kaseke and Modiegi Mokoka