Nkosi sikelela galvanises us to push that much harderThomas Kwenaite
By Andile & Mandla Dladla
South Africa is expecting an influx of visitors later this year when 16 women’s Rugby Sevens teams from different corners of the world would be competing in the 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town from 09 September to 11 September 2022.
A lot of women have broken barriers and have penetrated sporting events that were previously regarded as the domain of their male counterparts and rugby is no exception as more South African women are taking up the sport in greater numbers every day.
One such woman that has become a beacon in the oval game is Snenhlanhla Shozi who began playing touch rugby back in her matric year. She was approached by a fellow student who asked her to just help them out by running fast on the field and she agreed.
Someone saw her playing at Kings Park where schools would play against each other on Fridays and invited her to join an amateur rugby team called Rovers and she became so good that she was recruited a year later by another team called Jaguars.
The same year she was called up to join the Sharks and ended up playing provincial rugby.
“My first call up to the national team was for the Sevens side and the funny part is that whole transition from playing football to rugby was simply natural because I was able to easily transfer some of the skills I learned from soccer.
“I am a former footballer who went on to represent South Africa (Basetsana) at under-20 level and I played as a right back as well as central defence. The last team I played football was for Thunderbirds FC in the National League in Eastern Cape.”
Snenhlanhla who is also known as “Tuckin” by her team mates says that the Sevens game is fun with little time to play (14 minutes only) plus it’s quicker and one has a lot more spaces to cover.
“With the Springbok men’s team having won the World Cup, the pressure is now on us to also win and emulate the men.
“We are getting ready for the Rugby Africa Sevens in Jammel Tunisia this week and if we do well we would qualify for the Commonwealth Wealth Games scheduled for Birmingham in July.
“If we continue to do well in these tournaments it is only then that I will be able to talk more about the World Cup and we will see how ready we are after testing ourselves before the big tournament in the Mother City.
“Having participated at the World Cup Sevens only once in San Francisco (USA) and getting to test myself against some of the big nations taught me personally that there is still a lot of work that we have to continue putting in if we hope to reach those lofty heights.”
Shozi reveals that representing the country is no longer about you as an individual but you are now engaged in a national agenda. It is without doubt an honour and a privilege, but the greatest honour to her comes from singing the national anthem.
“Our national anthem evokes deep emotions whenever I sing it and I feel it is very special as it embraces different languages that explains the diversity of our country in terms of culture and languages but gives the promise of the kind of future South Africa we all want to build for ourselves, family and friends.”
The song has a deeper meaning to us as South Africans and is capable of uniting everyone. To me it is also a prayer to me and never fails to galvanise me into action and gives me the drive to go into the game and fight with everything I have.”
Outside of playing rugby Snenhlanhla enjoys traditional dancing which is what keeps her relaxed all the time.