Ever since the beginning of time, society teaches us that what a man can do, a woman can’t. This is evident in sports such as soccer, cricket, rugby and boxing – a dilemma that boxing promoter Thobile Khumalo found herself in.
The 31-year-old, who is originally from Ladysmith, also holds a managerial position in development football and professional boxing. Because she loved sports and advocating for the promotion of women in sports, she founded her company called Diva Studios Promotions.
It all began when the courageous sports fanatic visited a boxing gym in Johannesburg for fitness reasons. During that visit, she met former boxing champion Rita Morweni and a few other female pro boxers that were training at the venue. That encounter assured her that she could also be an asset in the sports department.
“My inspiration for combat sport began when I became a trainee judge for Boxing South Africa, this was something I honestly enjoyed doing. I was also motivated by the fact that I was the only female in a panel with famous men that even I knew were sports moguls,” said Khumalo.
After noticing the shortage of women in the boxing scene, she wanted to come up with a platform that would enable other women to be a part of various sporting codes that were deemed fit only for men. This, however, meant she had to endure judgement from society who would often question her career choice; some even concluding that she was possibly abused growing up. Despite this challenge, and many others, she is resolute in her commitment.
“Even though finding sponsors is a stumbling block for me, it still has not changed the way I think and feel about boxing as I believe it can challenge the mind and body simultaneously. I love how it shows one to stand up for themselves since it is a one-man sport and how it has the friendliest people.”
It is still odd for some people when they see a female in the sports industry (especially boxing) which is why she has persevered in her quest to grant other young women an opportunity to participate in any sport of their choice.
Although Khumalo still participates in development boxing and attends the events, she is rather more involved in development football. She has created a project back home that is designed to deter High School girls from the mentality or belief that “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.”
Her decision to partner with the Department of Education, SAFA and the Department of Sports and Recreation was to make more and more people aware of the fact that women can also deliver the same results as men – in all aspects of life. For Khumalo, sport is not just about fun but is also for the empowerment of disenfranchised women.
The staunch lady encourages other women to take interest in her company so as to attract sponsorship and media attention. For more details on the events Thobile hosts, visit her Facebook page: Thobile Makhumalo or her company page: Diva Studios Women in Sports.