She is one of the continent's most remarkably talented chess players. Born in 1996, her life as a Ugandan chess prodigy growing up in Kampala’s poorest slums inspired a major Hollywood movie titled Queen of Katwe in 2016.
Today, we celebrate Phiona Mutesi, a woman who has represented Uganda at four Women's Chess Olympiads, and is one of the first titled female players in Ugandan chess history.
Hers is a modern day Cinderella story, a fairy tale of a young girl from the slums who defied odds to become a Hollywood story.
In her life adapted Disney movie "Queen of Katwe," Mutesi's shows her life growing up in Katwe, Kampala’s largest slum.
Her father died when she was a toddler. From a very young age, she and her siblings had to sell maize on the street instead of going to school.
"My life was just surviving," Mutesi says in one of the interviews.
Her life story was however about to change when as an illiterate girl just aged 9 years in 2005, she met her future coach, a missionary in Katwe called Robert Katende.
The meeting on it's own was not planned. Phiona had secretly followed her brother Brian to Katende's chess classes. As she curiously peered to watch kids like her play chess, Katende noticed her and called her.
She is a name branded boldly in the masculine administration of football. Her name echoes with pride within the hallways of the more than 109 years of FIFA.
A woman who conquered the odds and became the first woman to sit at a table with men in the FIFA administration.
With so much to give to the sporting fraternity, Africa, Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world today bows down to you Lydia Nsekera.
One of the most powerful women in sports administration, Nsekera has worn and still wears many hats.
Nsekera has been with the International Olympic Committee since 2009. Currently, she chairs the IOC Women in Sports Commission.
As the former President of Burundi Football Federation (FFB) from 2004 until 2013, it is in football however where her destiny as one of the most powerful names in football is.
Maybe it is right to say football ran through Nsekera's veins as she was born to one of the royal families of Burundi 54 years ago. She is the daughter of a former president of a local soccer club.
A few days back she lost her FIFA council member seat representing Africa to another powerful female figure in the football arena, Sierra Leone's Isha Johansen, a position she held since 2013.
Affectionately known as the first lady of Football, Nsekera's success in the world of sports caught the world’s attention including Forbes.
In March 2020, Forbes included her on a list of 50 Africa’s most powerful women in the world.
As part of ASVG, Africa and the World’s celebration of pioneering sports women, today we look at former Moroccan 400m women hurdler Nawal El Moutawakel.
Born in April 1962, Moutawakel came to prominence in 1984 when at the age of 22-years, she won a gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympic games.
Her win made her the first Arab and Muslim woman from an Islamic nation to win an Olympic medal. She also became the first woman to win the inaugural women’s 400m hurdles at the Olympics.
In the Moroccan Olympic history, she became the first athlete, men and women, to win an Olympic gold medal.
Of greater significance, her win helped break the cultural barriers which had prematurely killed talents of young women in the Arab countries. Prior to Moutakawel’s heroics, there was an inherent doubt among many, more especially in the conservative Islamic countries, about the capability of Arab women in sports.
Her win opened opportunities for other Arab women in the conservative Islamic countries to transcend cultural and traditional hurdles and actively take part in competitive sport.
In her own home country of Morocco, the 59-year old El Moutakawel is still a revered and popular figure and a role model.
The celebrations need not end! And today, Africa, Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world looks at the legend of "The Queen" herself, Mary Onyali.
The Nigerian sprinter has truly carved a name for herself in the track and field world, establishing several prestigious marks along the way.
Many years since hanging her running spikes, Onyali's legend still lives on. The lady known as 'the Queen of Nigerian sprints' continues to hold the Nigerian 200 meters record.
The legendary sprint queen is also still ranked in the top 10 of the collegiate all time list in both the 100 and 200 meters.
As a young girl growing up in Nigeria, the sport of track and field was never a priority for Onyali.
Her father passed away when she was a very young child and her mother was left to raise her and younger siblings, a sister and two brothers. As the oldest of four children, much of the responsibility of child raising fell strongly upon Mary. Her mother constantly emphasized the importance of their education and to her, everything else was just extracurricular.
Her course could not have been helped by the societal expectations of her times. She lived within a social norm where a female in Nigeria could be everything but an athlete. The belief system was for a woman to go to school and eventually work and focus on marriage and having a family.
Mary was all but not interested in this philosophy – she did not want to succumb to the pressures of marrying and having children.
Her traits of self will and stubbornness found her going against the social norm, and choosing to challenge the stereotypes embedded so deeply in society.
Getting involved in the sport of track and field started at a very young age when sport was part of the curriculum and she found herself competing at almost everything.
March is women's month. To mark this month, ASVG joins Africa and the rest of the world in celebrating phenomenal women whose footprints left a permanent mark in their chosen sport discipline.
Today, we travel down south to South Africa, a country that has given the world a one in a million unique being Mokgadi Caster Semenya.
Like no athlete before her, the hugely gifted Semenya continues to polarise opinion and is a true embodiment of the theme, #choosetochallenge.
Born January 7th 1991, Semenya has been identified as an intersex cisgender women, assigned female at birth with XY chromosomes and naturally elevated testosterone levels due to 5a- Reductase deficiency.
Due to this, her ability is often overlooked and she has and continues to suffer scrutiny.
Africa, Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world continues celebrating women making waves in the sporting fratenity. Today, a day after IWD 2021, we look at one phenomenal woman, Barbara Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is the first ever female CEO of Simba FC in Tanzania.
A woman who continuously defies gender barriers, Gonzalez is always ready to challenge stereotypes and encourage and empower other women to follow suit.
"I challenge all women with a passion for sports to never give up. Be present, be assertive to guarantee your seat at the table. I challenge myself to be a conduit for growth and development for women and girls to realize their full potential," she says in her own words.
The message loaded with encouragement for women clearly shows how hard work has paid awesomely for the Simba FC CEO.
It only took two years from the moment she was placed in the the board of Tanzanian champions Simba for the 30-year-old to be appoined the first female CEO of any football club in the country.
With the club estimated to have 20 million supporters, it could have been a daunting task for Gonzalez to take over. But she is not one to shirk away from responsibility. With boldness and a sheer will to choose to challenge, she proved to the doubting Thomases that she is deserving of her position, not only because she is a woman but because she is a hardworking administrator.
International Women's Day 2021 - Celebrating Botswana Administrator Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego"Pure Dynamite"
Today March 8 2021 it is all about women, women whose footprints left a permanent mark in their territories. As the celebrations continue, Africa, Africa Sports Ventures Group (ASVG) and the rest of the world turns the page of change in Botswana to celebrate Tebogo LebotseSebego.
In her own right, LebotseSebego is an embodiment of the #choosetochallenge IWD celebrations banner.
Diminutive in size but pure dynamite, LebotseSebego has dared to openly challenge patriarchy and masculinity in sport.
In 2016, she and a group of equally capable women launched a serious campaign for the Botswana National Olympic Committee (BNOC) National Executive Committee positions.
Under the #bokgonihela (loosely translated 'capability only') slogan, LebotseSebego and company took on the patriarchal system and challenged it to vote people on ability and capability only.
Before her tenure as the BNOC vice chairperson, LebotseSebego served as the president of Botswana Netball Association (BONA), president of Africa Netball and also served in the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA).
Today, March 8 2021, ASVG joins the rest of the world in celebrating International Women's Day. In celebration of the day, we celebrate the life of the second most powerful person in football, FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.
Appointed to the post by the current FIFA president Gianni Infantino in 2016, Samoura's road to be the most influential woman in football has been unprecedented.
When she was appointed to the position, the 58-year old Senegal native had never been in football administration. At the time, she was working for the United Nations
It therefore comes as no little surprise that her occupying the FIFA Secretary General position, the first non-European to do so, was met with both optimism and skepticism.
Optimism in that Samoura came as someone not marred by the rot in football, thus she was a face of reform at an organisation still smarting from its corrupt legacy of Sepp Blatter's regime.
Today Africa, March 7th 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world takes a glimpse at the Senegalese wrestler, Isabelle Sambou.
Born 20th October 1980, Sambou is a freestyle wrestler and a gold medalist at the African Wrestling Championship.
In 2015, she was crowned African wrestler of the Decade by the World Wrestling Association.
Sambou became a national sensation as she dared to break barriers by competing in the national sport of Senegal, which was by then associated with men and was associated with proving manliness and bringing honour to one's family.
While most of Senegal frowned on female wrestling, this never stopped Sambou from partaking in the festivals in which wrestling was played. It was through competing in these festivals that Sambou was discovered and recruited.
After taking part in numerous tournaments winning five- time national Champion in women's wrestling, nine-time gold medalist in the African wrestling championships (AWC). she went on to participate in the Olympics and was 5th in London 2012 and 8th in Rio 2016, the latter coming after she was awarded her life time title of "African Wrestler of the Decade."
As the international Women day is a stone's throw away, today Africa, March 6th 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world open pages of the history of Mozambique's Olympics, which could have not been written without the name of one woman, Maria Mutola.
'The Maputo Express,' as Mutola is fondly called, is and still remains Mozambique's first and only Olympic medalist.
Born Maria de Lurdes Mutola in the poor shanty town of Chamanculo in October 27th 1972, 'Lurdinha' made her debut at the Olympics in 1988 as a 15 year old with only a few months of athletics training.
It was however no easy road for Mutola to stardom. After being compelled by renowned Mozambican writer and poet José Craveirinha to switch from football to athletics after spotting her huge potential, plans were set in place for the then 14-year old to join Benfica Athletics Club in Portugal.
International Women's Day 2021 - Celebrating Kenyan Legend Tegla Chepkite Loroupe - Metres of sheer POWER
Today March 5th 2021 Africa, Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world looks to Kenya, a country revered for long distance runners. And today it is none other than Tegla Chepkite Loroupe.
The retired Kenyan long distance runner now turned a global spokesperson and activist for peace, women's rights and education, was born on the 9th May 1973.
In her glittering sports career, Loroupe has held the world records for 25 and 30 kilometres half marathons and the world marathon record.
Loroupe is a woman of firsts in Africa's long distance running discipline among women.
She was the first African woman to hold the marathon World Record, which she held from 19 April 1998 until 30 September 2001. She is the three-time World Half-Marathon champion.
International Women's Day 2021 - Celebrating Africa's Iron Lady of football, Isha Johansen of Sierra Leone
Today Africa, March 4th 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world celebrates a woman defying all odds to play equally with men in the minefield known as football administration, Isha Johansen. Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone as Isha Tejan-Cole on December 25, 1964, hers became a journey paved for history books of sports in Africa and the world. Referred to in some quarters as the iron lady of African football, Johansen is the president of the Sierra Leone Football Association. Johansen is currently the only woman in the continent to hold such a post. She is the founder, owner and Chief Executive Officer of F.C Johansen, a team currently playing in the Sierra Leone national Premier League.
Today Africa, March 3rd 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world celebrates one of the leading lights in sports administration in Africa; Kady Kanouté Tounkara.
A Malian and French citizen, she holds many hats in administration.
Before going into sports administration, played professional basketball in Europe, and in particular France where she won five French national championships.
Tounkara was a member and co-captain of the Mali women's basketball team which qualified and competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. The team qualified for the Olympics after winning the 2007 FIBA Africa Women championships.
In 2013, Tounkara was named the President of Zone 2 on the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Athletes’ Commission. Kanouté Tounkara volunteers to represent, empower and educate athletes.
The 42-year old currently chairs the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA)'s Education Committee.
Tounkara sits in the WADA Athlete Committee where she is a member.
She is also a lead trainer and a Steering Committee member of the IOC Athlete Career Programme (ACP) Outreach.
To Kanouté Tounkara Africa, ASVG and the world say thank you.
Today Africa, March 2nd 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group and the rest of the world celebrates Amantle Montsho. Within Botswana's local sports fraternity, Amantle Montsho is the first of many.
Born July 4,1983, Montsho is a pioneer within Botswana's sports.
The 400 metres sprinter is the country's first ever track world champion and the first ever Commonwealth Champion, both men and women.
She represented Botswana at the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics, reaching the finals at the latter edition.
Montsho has also competed in the World Championships in Athletics and the IAAF World indoor Championships.
On the 8th of March 2021, Today March 1st 2021 Africa Sports Ventures Group (ASVG) will join the rest of the world to celebrate International Women's Day. To celebrate and appreciate women excellence, ASVG will, in the build up to the day, profile some of the best women athletes and administrators.
Ushering in the new month is Chairwoman of ASVG Board of Directors Ms. Game Mothibi
theme#ChooseToChallenge, with the following message, "Let's all heed the call #choosetochallenge and challenge all the violence, biases, sexism, inequalities, prejudices in sport, lets use our voice to challenge the harm to women, shaming of women in sport, belittling, refusing to give space for women to flourish. Lets challenge and ask why there are still less women in boardrooms and offices of sport organizations even whem we have so many capable women.