popular
Karim Jaafar/Getty Images

Caster Semenya has Penned a Powerful Story About her Athletic Career

In 'I Wanted to be a Soldier', the two-time Olympic gold medalist finally speaks out about the injustices she's faced.

South African athlete Caster Semenya has said very little about her battle with the IAAF and the testosterone regulations they've imposed on her. Aside from the statements issued by her lawyers as they appealed the decision made by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) at the Swiss Federal Court, Semenya has remained relatively silent on the matter and provided very little comment in her personal capacity. That is until now. She recently penned a story entitled I Wanted to be a Soldier for The Players' Tribune where she talks about her love for athletics as a child and the challenges and humiliation she's had to face over the years.


"They saw me as science. They wanted to test my body," says Semenya as she recalls the numerous tests she's been put through in the past as part of the quest to "prove" she is a woman. After she successfully appealed the decision made by Cas to enforce the IAAF's new testosterone regulations, it seemed hopeful that Semenya might actually win the landmark case at the Swiss Federal Court. While the Cas ruling was initially set aside, the Swiss Federal Court ultimately reversed its judgement. The athlete has understandably refused to take the testosterone-lowering drugs citing that she shouldn't be forced to suppress what is a natural advantage and that she doesn't know what long-term effects they could have on her.

An excerpt of the story reads as follows:

"There have been rules in place that allowed me to run until now. Now the president of the IAAF wants to change those rules. It is bull. I know they — those in power — have daughters. I know some of them have wives. They have children. At the end of the day, they go home and do not do this to their kids. They believe their children or wife when they say who they are. But they want to change my body? To put me through shameful tests when I tell them who I am? I am someone's child. I am someone's daughter. I am also someone's wife. You would not do that to them. But you do it to me."

Semenya recently took up professional soccer after she signed with the Gauteng-based JVW Football Club. While soccer has always been another of her sporting passions, Semenya has made it clear that the move to playing it professionally is in no way indicative of her giving up on her athletics career altogether.

popular
Photo by Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images via Getty Images

The Ndlovu Youth Choir Wins the Hollywood Music in Media Award

South Africa's favorite choir continues on its winning streak.

The Ndlovu Youth Choir continues to fly the South African flag high. Recently, the choir was awarded the Hollywood Music in Media Award in the category of "Best Independent Music Video" alongside Grammy award-winning South African flautist, Wouter Kellerman, for their Zulu rendition of Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You".

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief

Watch Ami Faku and Sun-El Musician’s Music Video for ‘Into Ingawe’

Ami Faku and Sun-El Musician share the visuals for their hit single 'Into Ingawe.'

Rising South African singer Ami Faku collaborated with the house music producer Sun-El Musician for "Into Ingawe" which was released in June. The song became an instant hit on radio and the internet.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
'54 Silhouettes' at the British Council of Nigeria's Lagos Theatre Festival. Photo: Drive Adebayo.

'54 Silhouettes' Is the One-Man Play Exploring What Happens When Other People Tell Our Stories

The play is the first from Nigeria to show at the international United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC.

Playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director Africa Ukoh's award-winning play 54 Silhouettes has made its way to New York City as part of the United Solo Festival, the annual international festival, highlighting solo theatre performances through a "variety of one-person shows."

The one-man play stars the award-winning Nigerian actor Charles Etubiebi as a struggling actor who thinks he's landed his big break when he gets a major role in an upcoming blockbuster, he becomes conflicted, however, when he learns the film is yet another stereotypical "war in Africa" production—the type of film he vowed to never do. "Caught between career ambitions and ideals of his African identity, he must decide whether to do the film or ditch it," reads an official description of the show.

"The play explores African representation in global media and asks questions about creative responsibility, with tensions of cross cultural relations at the center of it all," Ukoh tells OkayAfrica. "It explores the inherent complexities in culturally unique stories being told by people of different cultures and how this intersects with power dynamics, commerce, and artistic ideals."

Keep reading... Show less
Interview
Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Interview: Sarz Has Powered a Generation of Nigerian Music—and He Isn't Stopping Anytime Soon

We talk to the star producer about his role in the rising global popularity of Nigerian music, spanning his production on massive singles from the likes of Wizkid, Skepta, Drake and more.

"I think more than the music, the narrative is more important these days," says Sarz as he sits at the offices of his press agency. "So one great song with an amazing narrative can get you farther than five great songs sometimes."

When Sarz talks about music, his eyes light up. They dart with excitement as he runs through topics like sounds, production, trends, and innovation. These are all words that represent his life's work of impactful music production, which has powered a generation of music in Nigeria, and is currently playing a role in its international future. Sitting at the offices, decked in a white t-shirt, red trousers and Nike kicks, he makes a point that he rarely grants interviews. And when he does, it's in spaces like this, in rooms and studios where his business is conducted, and his work is birthed and refined for public impact.

Born Osabuohien Osaretin, the 30-year-old music producer discovered sounds by accident when his ears would automatically pick apart music and focus on the beat. Interestingly, he discovered that he could remember every beat in detail. It was the entry point to a career that took off in 2010 when he scored his first hit on Jahbless' "Joor Oh" remix—during the formative stages of the current Nigerian pop success—and has provided sounds that have shaped the culture and given it its biggest moments.

With afrobeats' global ambitions taking off, Sarz's production is playing crucial roles in celebrated cross-cultural projects. He's helmed Drake's "One Dance," unlocked the chemistry between Wizkid and Skepta on "Energy (Stay Far Away)," and added composition on Beyoncé's Lion King: The Gift album.

"I'm inspired by the thoughts of how far I can take music. Just thinking about where this music can take me to," Sarz says, taking swigs from a water bottle. The producer has also worked with the biggest stars in afrobeats, and a look through his catalogue has hits every year since 2007.

He talks passionately about his work, the source of inspiration, where good music originates from, and how he identifies where to direct his energies. He runs an academy that has been a vehicle for delivering new producers to the culture. Sarz converses with range, a brimming energy, and a humility that is tied to purpose and achievements. He never shies away from topics that examine his revered place in this ecosystem, admitting without bragging that he is no one's mate. Even his 2019 SINYM EP is affirmation that "Sarz Is Not Your Mate." He has seen a lot and has a lot to say.

Sarz. Photo: Manny Jefferson. Courtesy of the artist.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.