At Women’s Health, we celebrate women — like these incredible South African sportswomen — all year round.
You see, we understand that it takes more than Women’s Month to celebrate all these epic overachievers at local, national and international level. We couldn’t fit them all in one article obvs, but we’re extra inspired by these strong sportswomen.
Captain of the SA Netball team, Bongiwe Msomi is in top form – and has been for some time. In 2017, she led her team to victory over England in their first-ever Quad Series victory. Since then, the team has steadily been gaining momentum with her at the helm. She has a whopping 150 caps to her name.
Now they’re gearing up for the Vitality Netball World Cup, to be held on SA soil. It’s a big move for the sport and South Africa. And the winning spirit is out in full force as she leads the team into the tournament this year.
In 2015 Thembi launched the Thembi Kgatlana Football Tournament to empower youth in her birthplace of Mohlakeng in Randfontein, near Joburg. Thembi joined SA’s women’s national football team in 2016. Then in February 2019, she signed with Beijing BG Phoenix F.C. in the Chinese Women’s Super League. She is now at Racing Louisville. Over and above making major moves, she was also voted Confederation of African Football (CAF) female player of the year 2019. And she’s only 27…
Gerda keeps breaking records, the latest of which is winning the Comrades Marathon in a record time of 5 hours, 44 minutes and 54 seconds. She holds a total of four South African records. On 11 April 2021, she became the SA marathon record holder with a time of 2:25:28 at the Xiamen Tuscany Camp Elite Marathon in Siena, Italy. She also recently handily won the Two Oceans marathon with a time of 4 hours 15 minutes and 44 seconds. She’s one South African sportswoman to watch.
Montjane made history this year. She is the first South African since 1981 to win a Grand Slam title at the 2023 French Open. “It was a moment worth living for,” Montjane told IOL. “I have been fortunate to play both singles and doubles, so it’s an exciting time for me, and I will keep fighting for the singles title that I have been waiting for.”
This year, Simoné opened up the athletics season with a bang. The 17-year-old achieved two South African and two African records in two sporting codes, shot put and discus. The records were broken at the Winelands International Para Athletics Competition held in Stellenbosch in February. Then, she set a new African record in Pretoria in May, for the F38 class in Discus. She’s a force to be reckoned with as we move into the final stages of prep for the Paralympic Games in 2024.
Skipper Kirsten Neuschäfer made waves this year when she won the 2022 Golden Globe race. The gruelling race involves sailing around the world by yourself, unaccompanied. Neuschäfer is the first woman and South African to win the race. She broke multiple records in her win, including best distance over 24 hours (unofficially 218.9 nautical miles), and best distance over 7 days (unofficial at 1143.7 nautical miles).