Cherishing the honour of being appointed Africa’s first Youth Unstoppable is only part of the dream that could become a reality and be the basis for a real breakthrough for young girls that play rugby.
Sajini is one of seven Youth Unstoppables who have been unveiled by World Rugby and Mastercard for their inspirational stories that highlight why the women’s game is the ultimate team sport – on and off the pitch.
Zikhona Sajini hopes that girls in Africa will be motivated by what she has achieved: To participate in sport, but especially rugby, and thereby to increase the number of women taking part in rugby in particular and sport in general.
Still under 16 herself at the time, Zikhona says it was a challenge to start an Under 16 team at the Busy Bees in the Western Cape. It was a breakthrough for rugby, not only in the Western Cape but in South Africa, and probably also a first in Africa.
And her message to those who want to emulate her success is simple: Just follow her example.
“It was very hard initially to start an under 16 team. However, it is never too late to start something that you like and want.
I hope to see girls in Africa out there who are playing rugby at an early age so that they can grow into the sport
“If you want to play sport but there are no people playing it, be the one who starts that team.
“Go out and approach people. There are people out there who also want to play, but they don’t have the confidence to start a team.
“Do not look at other girls to see what they are doing, do what makes YOU happy. Everyone has different skills and talents.”
Zikhona says she simply had to be confident in what she was doing and to communicate with people. “I had to have the courage to go into the streets and talk to girls to join the Busy Bees club’s under 16s. Most of them had not played rugby before.
“But the rewards are there. Today, the under 16 section is growing in numbers, and the girls that I started the under 16 team with, are now playing for Busy Bees seniors. And the initial hard work has provided major benefits to me and those who joined the first under 16s.
“As the ultimate character-building sport, playing rugby builds self-confidence and self-respect. It fosters courage, fitness, team effort and togetherness, bringing together girls from all backgrounds.
“I hope to see girls in Africa out there who are playing rugby at an early age so that they can grow into the sport. By starting young, they will have an advantage with better skills and understanding the game’s ethos – and some of them could perhaps one day play for their countries.”
Message from Rugby Africa’s Unstoppable, Christel Janet Kotze – Zikhona, huge congratulations with being selected as Africa’s Youth Unstoppable! Hearing and following your story inspired me to keep doing what we love most, being involved in rugby in some shape of form. I know you’ll continue to inspire the next generation by simply doing what you do best.