It’s not everyday that we get to hear about South African women doing exceptionally well in sport. Let alone basketball (yes, basketball). But Wits Medicine student, Lenny Mogoba (23) is one of the few exceptions. The award-winning Wits varsity team defensive center – also a doctor-in-training at the same university – was featured on Sprite’s Obey You Collective: South Africa campaign – a series devoted to showcasing young talents and artists from South Africa doing extraordinary things.
She has always been athletic but her journey to playing basketball started after being approached by a tall man, as she puts it, while coming back from a community marathon. She was skeptical at first, but later went for it after her mother encouraged her to try it out. Fourteen years old at that time, she was playing exclusively with guys. She joined a ladies team and after just only seven months, she got into the provincial team.
As if this had been a door waiting on her to just go through, before she knew it she got an award for most improved player, and another for best newcomer! Preceding that year, she was made the captain of the national basketball team. She warns females who are interested in playing basketball that it is can be daunting at times as girls are most likely expected by parents to not forsake their chores and school work. She says that support from family is the most definitive factor in making or breaking the pursuit of playing professionally. This young woman has done exceptionally well in the basketball court. Not only is she athletic, she is also academically competent. Currently doing Medicine, she says she’s always known that that was what she wanted to do. “It’s life changing; you’re working with procedures that can make or break someone ,” she tells The Fader online magazine in an interview.
However, not a lot of females are courageous enough to pursue sport because of the uncertainties of making a real living out of it and/or the feeling of wanting to please parents with an education. Just one injury could break your whole career and therefore, for many it wiser to pursue both, as did Lenny. No hope is lost for those who are true sport fanatics or are athletes themselves. It is a career one can pursue and be very successful in. For instance, Caster Semenya has done well for herself, and so has Portia Modise. It is great to see women breaking boundaries and typical patriarchal stereotypes about sport being only for men. I say continue to do us proud and dominate.
Source: The Fader
Images: The Fader