The Parks Netball team has become a powerful example of community empowerment and excellence through sport – and this inspirational team of women is poised to have even more impact in 2020.
This week the team was presented with kit and other equipment bearing their brand new logo and has launched its own Facebook page, showcasing the team’s professional look and commitment to “creating community through netball”.
In creating its own branding and media presence, The Parks Netball is being supported by JT Communication Solutions, powered by Mindshare and ECAfrica.
“We are really happy to have partners to help us tell our story and take The Parks Netball to new levels of achievement,” says Grace Matoni who co- founded the team in 2018.
“‘In a country that is desperate to have citizens arrive and solve South Africa’s problem and role-model solutions that can create a shift in our how can empower our communities is fast tracked through the example The Parks Netball team is setting. We are delighted to throw the full weight of our media agency and showcase the power of digital disruption in telling positive stories that spiral actions’, says Managing Director of JT Comms no stranger to using her platforms as a social entrepreneur to drive change.
The Parks Netball is primarily comprised of domestic workers working in The Parks area of Johannesburg. In recent months it has grown to include several professional women who are drawn to its commitment to the game of netball- and the deep sense of connection it provides.
“From our small beginnings we have built The Parks Netball team into one that has started playing games against other teams, and attracts more and more women from the area,” says Matoni.
The Parks Netball team’s commitment to excellence is visible in its daily practises at Parkhurst Primary School and the twice weekly coaching sessions that are honing the team’s skills and fitness. Although in a fulltime job and with her own many netball league commitments, Gabisile Dladla has signed on as the team’s coach. It didn’t take much persuading for Dladla to come on board: her mom who sadly passed on was also a domestic worker; Dladla attended Parkhurst Primary School and is an example of excellence herself.
“It has been amazing to see the team’s skill and fitness levels improve,” says Dladla. “When I first started coaching them, they were unfit and in the beginning we only organised games against players their age. But the team has become so good they are playing against youngsters and winning! Next year we are really looking at entering The Parks Netball team into a proper league and so the support we’re getting in terms of our kit and branding is really important.”
Dladla says alongside coming together for the love of netball, the team is also about community. “A bond of sisterhood has been formed and I’ve seen how it changes everyone’s moods when we come together, instead of staying at home after a long day’s work.”
Matoni is a Ward 117 committee member and she got the inspiration for starting the team after reading about a netball team that was playing at nearby Zoo Lake. “By God’s grace we were having a ward committee meeting that evening so I shared my love of sport and asked how we could best form a team that would see domestic workers like me exercising after work,” she explains with her two colleagues Bulelwa Malanti and Thembi Mbhekeni
Sharing the idea with Bulelwa Malanti and Thembi Mbhekeni added further impetus to Matoni’splans. (Malanti had been involved in sport in Cape Town where she’s originally from and together the three women formed the basis of The Parks Netball team. With support from employers and the local community, the team was able to get underway.
Ward councillor Tim Truluck also gave his support for the project – with the final piece of the plan falling into place when Parkhurst Primary School agreed that the team could use its facilities for practise. The school’s principle Mr S. D. Maharaj was instrumental in connecting the team to Dladla as a coach.
Among the highlights of 2019 was participating in a tournament in Soweto at the end of September. The Parks Netball team came second, returning home with a trophy and medals – and a sense of their potential as part of a formal netball league.
“Netball has giving us a way to keep fit and healthy while also having fun,” concludes Matoni. “We do enjoy ourselves so much and we have become sisters. We are looking forward to seeing how we can grow and develop our team in 2020 and would like to thank everyone who has assisted us so far. To end the year with our own kit, logo and place to share our story is truly wonderful.”
To support or get involved in this inspirational community team, contact: Grace Matoni 073 2070989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or connect of the The Parks Netball Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ParksNetball/
For media enquiries and interview requests please contact email@example.com or call 011 788 7632
Issued by JT Communication Solutions on behalf of The Parks Netball Team.
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