On a flying visit to the UK, former Friend of EduSport Intern, Kelvin ‘Kelch’ Chasauka, speaks to Go Sisters about empowerment, sporting heroes and the inspirational women in his life.
Where did you go to school, and was sport an important part of school life?
I went to School in Zambia and attended Kalingalinga Basic School. Sport played an extremely important part in my academic life, as I was very athletic, even from a young age. Sport and the people that I played with, became my family; I also received a lot of credit for being consistently interested in sporting activities.
What’s your earliest sporting memory?
I used to play with my Chimbombwa, my homemade ball. We had lots of community tournaments, which I always played in and loved. When I was twelve I first went to Finland to play in the Helsinki Cup. The peak of my sporting career was at the age of twelve [laughs].
Who are your sporting heroes?
I’ve grown up considering my parents to be my heroes. My Dad used to play a lot of Soccer and always encouraged me to become active in sport, he was very supportive and wanted me to remain active too. My Dad is my greatest sporting hero because he encouraged me to become involved in football. I didn’t ever watch him play, but he was very hopeful about my sporting career.
Who are the female sporting role models in Zambia?
We have Esther Phiri; she’s one of the first female boxers in Zambia. She didn’t do brilliantly in education, but was determined to succeed in her sporting career. She’s done so well on an international level that so many young girls look up to her as a role model.
What sporting barriers do young woman face, that their male counterparts do not?
The traditional perception about sports in Africa, specifically in Zambia, is that sport is a ‘heavy’ game that’s meant to be played by boys. A lot of people think that because sport involves a lot of physical work, then females shouldn’t take part. Sadly, even now many people think that girls should be in the kitchen, taking care of the children and homes; that has to be the greatest barrier with girls sport.
In Zambian communities, sport is often seen as a male pastime, how is Go Sisters aiming to dispel these myths and challenge gender stereotypes?
Sport is a platform that gives everyone an opportunity to share their beliefs and passions, regardless of gender differences. I think that Go Sisters relies on the power of sport, because when girls play games, they have the power to influence others. When girls play sport they are given an opportunity to be seen and to dispel the traditional female perceptions. Go Sisters creates competition among women, which is a great thing. Go Sisters not only impacts on the physical parts of a women’s life, but all aspects.
What does empowerment mean to you?
[Laughs] I’m actually writing an essay about this at the moment. Empowerment to me means equality. When someone is empowered, then they are not overlooked because of their social status or gender, but instead they are judged by their skills, knowledge and passion. Empowerment means equality, because feeling empowered has made me feel equal to so many people. I’ve travelled to many places and have met many different people, and these people didn’t look at my as the ‘the poor orphan from Zambia’, they judged me on my skills and strengths.
How do you think that we can empower girls in sport more?
We should give girls the same opportunities as boys, as well as encouraging them to take part in activities that really challenge themselves. Things are changing in Zambia, and it is accepted for girls to take part in sport. If you rewind ten years in Zambia, football would have been considered the only sport, but now netball is something that girls are really taking part in, as well as volleyball and rugby.
How has Go Sisters has impacted on the lives of young women in Zambia?
Go Sisters has encouraged humanity and humbleness and it has challenged girls to make a better life for themselves. There are people like Annie and Sharon who are doing such positive things. Annie has just finished a degree, but she is back in the communities helping people and working towards a better future for the girls. Go Sisters and the women involved have come together to celebrate being proud of who they are, being proud of being a woman.
To conclude, how do you hope that Go Sisters progresses in the next year?
We need to educate and raise awareness of the people involved, because the more stories that we have about Go Sisters, the more we can encourage people to get involved. I hope that Go Sisters continues to engage new people, and make people realise that Go Sisters is the best thing that could ever happen to a community. In Zambia we say ‘if you educate a woman, you educate the whole village’. Which simply means that women that women are so influential in society; they’re always educating and inspiring one and all.
This interview was conducted and written by Charmaine Ayden, Go Sisters World Series Communication Officer.