Genres: Sport, Documentary Series
Broadcast on: SABC1



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Season 1 - Sheroes in Sport

Channel Premiere Finale TX Time Episodes
SABC1 09 Aug 2011 30 Aug 2011 Tuesdays, 21h00 - 22h00 4
SABC1 02 Jul 2014 23 Jul 2014 Wednesdays, 13h30 - 14h30 (R) 4

Season 1

Sheroes is a South African documentary series produced by Dzuguda Productions which paints a portrait of South African society as seen through the eyes of women in a variety of different fields, from sport to business.

In the beginning, the show was devised in celebration of Women's Month 2011 and began with Sheroes in Sport, a four-part series of South African sports through the lives of four South African sports-related women.

At its heart, Sheroes paints a portrait of South African society as seen through the eyes of netball stalwart Hazel Gumede, football administrator Natasha Tsichlas, professional sprinter Geraldine Pillay and former women Springbok captain Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe.

The series is about the drama of winning and losing, intense rivalries, big money, gender politics, the history of exclusion and sporting codes that are battling to emerge from the shadows of their internationally recognised counterparts.

Each film presents these women as highly complex characters, as single-minded individuals who refuse to be left on the sidelines.

Although the four stories are told differently from each other, they were crafted in a way that allows them to interlink. Essentially they are chapters of one story.

Sheroes is about sporting giants passing on the baton to the younger generation through inspiration.

Hazel Gumede

Hazel Gumede earned the nickname "Special" on the netball court as a fearsome shooter.

The film captures the story of the rise of a woman's only minority sport that saw townships bustle with activity in 80's. This is a sporting code that has cultured millions of young women across the country and endowed them with a sense of purpose.

In the midst of the apartheid turbulence and poverty, Hazel's love for netball kept her sane. She never considered the sport as a career but she knew that when things went wrong she could always escape into the court.

Friends and foes were continuously taken aback by how the kind-hearted and shy Hazel transformed into a ruthless tactical maestro who taunted her opponents at will. She was a superstar when township Netball hadn't as yet turned pro, a role model to other champions.

Her involvement in the game saw her through her grandfather's passing and tough times as yet another unemployed mother. No matter the magnitude of the setback Hazel Gumede could always find a way to overcome it.

She was there when the new dispensation took over and facilitated the breaking down of racial barriers in netball by joining a white team, where she excelled.

When township netball died, Hazel pioneered the street version of the game that saw groups of women of all ages participate.

Her experience and talent continues to inspire young players in townships and also through her work as the Physical Education teacher at the Oprah Winfrey leadership academy where she also works as a netball coach.

This is a story of triumph in all respects and the importance of passing on the baton.

Geraldine Pillay

Geraldine Pillay is a film that juxtaposes the classic tale of beating the odds in a race to reach one's dream and the realities of the world of athletics in South Africa.

For the first time on national television, champion sprinter Geraldine Pillay takes us on a journey that begins with her childhood and ends with the development of an activist for the plight of young athletes.

Geraldine was a late bloomer, only honouring her calling years after she had discovered it but that was never a reason to slack.

Set in a world that demands the highest levels of fitness and financial backers with relatively deep pockets, the odds were never on her side.

Through a series of personal sacrifices, Geraldine established herself a rogue sprinter interested in nothing but becoming the best.

Injuries robbed her of precious opportunities while sports politics threatened to tarnish her reputation, which meant that she had to dig deep for inspiration.

Using actual sports footage, Sheroes tells the story of how Geraldine turned challenges into inspiration, rivalry into meaningful relationships and experience into critical tactical data.

Today, Geraldine Pillay stands as an influential role model with a position in the Athletics South Africa.

Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe

The first captain the National Women's Rugby team was a young Port Elizabethan named Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe. Her claim to fame was that she played hard and smart.

This episode of Sheroes examines a sport that is struggling with lack of public recognition and a woman who was born to excel in it.

Like her father and brother (Lonwabo Tsotsobe) before her, Nomsebenzi was endowed with an incredible rugby brain, one that saw her pull moves whose brilliance left even the pros mesmerized.

Her official instalment as the captain of the female Springboks was a decision that inspired the whole team and solidified her position as the cream of the crop.

On the national front however, women's rugby was never seen as a sport deserving of public recognition. Despite 10 years in rugby, Nomsebenzi has received more acclaim as a model.

Nomsebenzi Tsotsobe is a film rooted in the glory of family tradition. Nomsebenzi's mother Dorothy is an administrator of Border Rugby while her younger brother Lonwabo is fast establishing himself as a national cricketing hero.

Natasha Tsichlas

In football, the mention of the name Natasha Tsichlas is met with respect, admiration, excitement and fear. Dubbed as the Iron Lady of local football Natasha broke multiple barriers as she stepped into a world that did not want her.

Natasha Tsichlas is an episode of Sheroes that will tell the forgotten story of how once upon a time a white woman invaded football and ignited Mamelodi Sundows into a new and successful era through a unique management style.

This story, that features testimonies from football's top brass, examines the impact Natasha had on the players who swore to play for her and bring home trophies.

Her arrival on the South Africa shores was an opportunity that she began preparing for as a little girl watching football with her father in Greece. Along the way she found support in her husband Angelo, her two sons and Sundowns' supporter's relations manager Alex Shakoane.

The journey took her to positions inside the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and football's ruling body FIFA, as the first South African to ever occupy such a position.

Natasha's role in football opened doors for many young women that followed her footsteps. Her perseverance in the face of supporter revolt made her the woman everyone loved to hate, while her successes meant that she had rightly earned the nickname "Iron Lady".

Produced by Dzuguda Productions, Sheroes was directed by Xoliswa Sithole and the series producer was Ndanganeni Pearl Munonde. The executive producer was Rudzani Dzuguda.


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