by Noluntu Makalima
Who is Noluntu they ask, Noluntu is a universal being who embraces the true spirit of the name “Ubuntu”, meaning the love of all humanity. The name favours the spirit of unity at all times. Noluntu validates my existence in any shape, form and compass direction.
I am an avid sports person; my love for sports has been there from a tender age and it has summed up pretty much all the days of my life. I am a 27 year old female bodied being, embodied in butch-ness as an expression of my sexual identity. My earliest memories of my passion for sporting codes takes me back to a place called home, eGugulethu, a township in Cape Town. I remember playing soccer in our backyard with my brothers. We made a ball out of plastic bags, because my mother couldn’t afford to buy a ball every month, as we would always burst them because we played soccer on a daily. We competed and also strengthened each other’s football skills, sport kept us unified.
My fondest yet saddest moments with my relationship with soccer have my older brother in photographic memory as he was my trainer, and sports coach. He had been chosen to become a professional soccer player at the time, but sadly in 2002 he passed on due to a kidney failure leaving my family and I shattered. His passing inspired my appetite to venture into the sport fraternity. I am currently studying towards a Diploma in Sports Management and I am only left with two modules to complete my Diploma at Varsity College.
I am also a sports coach at Dainfern College, a school in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg, Fourways. I provide one-on-one, group training and specialized coaching sessions on different sporting codes such as soccer, softball, netball and hockey on a daily basis. As an aspiring sports manager, I am also running my own community development program called Noluntu Sports Development. It takes place every Fridays at Tembisa High School. This program focuses on female football, nurturing skills and identifying talent, which needs to be cultivated further. Doing this will boost our national female development structures which I believe are growing with great potential in South Africa.
Who is Noluntu?
People continue to ask. Beyond the surface, I am a softy really, rough on the edges and a tough cookie on the outside, excuse the pun. I am fondly known as Luntu (short version of my name), or Kin-Kin a nickname which arose while growing up because I was the King of electronic games mastering and being victorious when playing with others. I have always been a technical person, I think it was knitted in me either while I was being conceived or during the birth process.
Let me tell you more about Noluntu, she is a driven young person, with dreams and aspirations. I have always sought to do great and accomplish success, not for self gratification, but to make things easy for those around me, especially loved ones. Tracing back my footsteps, it all started at St Georges Grammar High School where I learnt all sporting codes as I was a sporty and academically competent scholar. I was given a bursary since I was the only female pupil who participated in male dominated sports. The bursary afforded me the opportunity to further my schooling from Grade Ten until I matriculated. This unforeseen blessing helped my mother financially, as she was a single parent due to the unfortunate death of my father in 1996.
I am an activist of life, same-sex love and women’s rights. I am also part of Faces and Phases (2006 – 2014) series. The publication features real life stories, photographs participatory images of gender queer women and trans individuals.
The team and I have seen a gap that can be challenged and also enhanced within the sport fraternity in South Africa, as there is little and close to no media coverage of sports women. As our name is self-explanatory we add colour to all the grey areas, we enlighten the spectrum.
Who is Noluntu, now I ask?
The answer remains the same, I am a person of humility, humanity and total unity. It is inevitable that I will continue to change in progression, in growth, in my faith and at the end of it all be who I am destined to be.