Thembi Kgatlana Foundation. Images via Instagram @kgatlanathe1st

Thembi Kgatlana Foundation. Images via Instagram @kgatlanathe1st

Thembi Kgatlana: Sportswoman helping communities through sports

Discover how Thembi Kgatlana Foundation uplifts South African communities through sports and the impactful journey of Thembi Kgatlana.

Thembi Kgatlana Foundation. Images via Instagram @kgatlanathe1st

Thembi Kgatlana Foundation. Images via Instagram @kgatlanathe1st

Thembi Kgatlana is one of the most celebrated soccer players in South Africa. She has achieved much success in the sport, having represented her country in various international events. Her journey, however, was not easy, which is why she established the Thembi Kgatlana Foundation, to create a path for girls and women in the sport.

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In an interview with Radio 702, Thembi Kgatlana revealed that she grew up in a small mining town in Mohlakeng, Gauteng. She was forced to play with boys due to a lack of opportunities for girls in the sport. She eventually got a scholarship at the SAFA Girls Soccer Academy of Tuks Sport High School Pretoria. This was the first step towards her successful international career.

Things, however, were not presented on a silver platter for Thembi Kgatlana, as she faced gender stereotypes within her community. Her peers didn’t understand why she chose to play a sport that they believed was only for young men. Despite this, Kgatlana pursued her passion and joined the local boys’ team, where she was eventually recognised as a potential talent.

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Currently, Thembi Kgatlana is a striker for the National Women’s Soccer League Club, Racing Louisville FC and the South Africa women’s national team. She was part of the Banyana Banyana Squad that was in the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, having scored multiple times.

In 2017, the Banyana star established Thembi Kgatlana Foundation, to help care for the community through sports. Following the mission, ‘Your Success is My Success’, the non-profit organisation has provided financial aid to communities, organised various tournaments, and provided sports kits, school uniforms and sanitary equipment to children across South Africa.

The Thembi Kgatlana Foundation stands as a shining example of the transformative power of sports within a community. Founded by the remarkable Thembi Kgatlana, this non-profit organisation has not only elevated the status of women in sports but has also catalysed positive change across South Africa.