News Brief

The IAAF Denies Wanting to Classify Intersex Athlete Caster Semenya as Male

The body says it rejects reports of it wanting the South African intersex athlete to be classified as 'biologically male'.

There have been widely circulated reports that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) wants South African 800m Olympic gold-medalist, Caster Semenya, to be classified as 'biologically male'. The IAAF, however, has emphatically rejected these reports.


It has been an arduous sporting journey for intersex athlete Caster Semenya. Over the years she has received continued backlash from all over the world for winning long-distance races at various large sporting events including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The cause for the backlash is primarily because people feel that her increased testosterone levels (higher than the average female) give her an unfair advantage over her female counterparts.

Admittedly, the IAAF has failed to do its due diligence in terms of actively participating and curating the conversation around athletes who are intersex. In a world where the biological sciences are showing that unlike the long-held dogma that sex is binary, but instead exists on a spectrum, the athletics body has failed to protect intersex athletes.

The IAAF has further failed to be proactive and progressive in reviewing its regulations with regards to intersex athletes which has ultimately led to this very ugly showdown.

The athletics body claims it only now has proof that increased testosterone, the levels which Semenya exhibits, imbue an unfair advantage performance-wise. Semenya is set to appear at the Court of Arbitration for Sport next week, to argue against having to lower her testosterone levels.

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Photo by Oupa Bopape/Gallo Images/Getty Images.

Rebecca Malope: All Hail the African Queen of Gospel Music

The gospel icon was recently handed the Order of Ikhamanga — the highest award given to South African citizens who have excelled in the arts, culture & literature.

Her hands clasped together, she walks at a brisk pace to the dais at the Presidential guest house in Pretoria, South Africa. She’s wearing a classic black bodysuit, tucked in a high-waisted red pleated skirt. She's rocking her signature ‘german’ haircut and on her feet are black heeled pointed-toe pumps. As she elbows President Cyril Ramaphosa, her eyes crinkle at the edges, revealing the smile beneath her mask. Then she turns left and listens:

“For her distinguished contribution to South African music, with her unique voice bringing joy and comfort to many through meaningful gospel music….”

As the crowd applauds, the head of state places a medallion around her neck and hands her the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver—the highest award given to South African citizens who have excelled in the arts, culture and literature. Excitedly, she raises a clenched fist to the air and dances back to her seat, raising a ‘hallelujah’ before she sits down.

This was the African Queen of gospel music, Dr. Rebecca Malope, during her recent award ceremony on November 18th. Barely two months after receiving the Gospel Lifetime Achievement Award by Nigerian magazine, Clima.

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