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On the Trail with Letshego Zulu

Join us on an awe-inspiring journey with Letshego Zulu, a name etched in history as the first black woman to conquer the Absa Cape Epic. But her story doesn’t stop there. Letshego is a force of nature, a beacon of strength, and a testament to the power of determination. She is also a mother, business woman in outdoor media and the proud owner of Echelon Bike Transport. Her book, “I Choose to Live: Life after losing Gugu,” stands as a testament to her courage and resilience in the face of adversity.
I sat down with Letshego to chat about her recent completion of the Waterberg Traverse in Limpopo. Her enthusiasm for the ethos of the race is infectious, but that’s not all. Letshego opens up about her exhilarating journey as a runner-up in Survivor SA, offering a raw and intimate glimpse into the mental fortitude required to navigate the challenges of the wilderness. Discover the catalyst behind Letshego’s four-time conquest of the Absa Cape Epic as she recounts the pivotal moment when her husband, Gugu, presented her with the opportunity. It was the prospect of breaking barriers as a black woman in the race that ignited her passion, propelling her to new heights of achievement. Reflecting on her whirlwind experience at the Absa Cape Epic 2024, she shares the heart-pounding moment when she received a last-minute invitation just 48 hours before the race. Her resilience and determination shine through as she navigated the gruelling terrain with unwavering resolve, making the race cut off by only 1 second.
She leaves us with a poignant tale of her daughter’s experience in acrobatics, a reminder of the invaluable lessons we can learn from the resilience of youth. Join us for a captivating conversation filled with laughter, and passion. Above all, Letshego’s remarkable journey will leave you inspired to conquer your own mountains, both on and off the trails.

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Sharne Mayers – Taking the Gold

Born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, Sharne was active from a young age, from playing cricket with the boys to representing her country both in hockey and in cricket. Recently, she was part of the Lady Chevrons team that took on the South African women in a thrilling cricket final at the 13th African Games. Walking away with the gold was a sensational experience for Sharne and her team, and now they are once again competing on the global stage at the ICC qualifiers.

On the show, Sharne and I dig into the gripping win at the African Games and Sharne gives us a look into the meaning behind the win and her family’s poignant words expressed by the nation; “you were part of something bigger than yourself.” Feeling the weight of what was achieved, Sharne also speaks about her cricket injury for the first time, and how coming back to cricket was something that hung in the balance. Sharne speaks into the much-needed space of what women’s cricket looks like on the African continent and her hopes and vision for accessibility and investment into women’s sport in Africa. Giving voice to female athletes and their understanding of fan and spectator engagement, as well as some insider views on the ICC qualifiers, this podcast is filled with moving, intellectual truths about cricket in Africa from a player’s perspective.

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Mauritian Cyclist Kim Le Court: A Journey of Triumph  

This week, professional cyclist Kim Le Court (Pienaar) joins the show to share her cycling journey. Born in Mauritius, Kim has won the Cape Town cycle tour three times, the Cape Epic, gold medals at the African Games and at the African road Championships and today she races on the Ag Insurance – Soudal team.
Kim fills us in on cycling life on the island of Mauritius. From riding on the highway (don’t get excited, the highway is small), to drinking coconuts on the sand (does this really happen?) and practicing caution when it comes to people and animals, Mauritian cycling sounds hugely entertaining. We also talk about Kim’s early “pro” years in Europe and her return to South Africa in 2017 when she took a year off and almost didn’t return to the sport she once loved. As a soccer fan and a player, the black and white ball almost led her down another career path, but her return to cycling was inevitable. She takes us into her mental space and her current space as part of the elite women’s peloton. How has she gelled with her new team? And how has she found the classics and tours this season, including her 10th place finish in Paris – Roubaix? Also, relive the emotional moment with Kim, when our favourite manager Natascha Knaven gave her the news about joining the team, after Kim had lost hope in the teams’ interest in her signing.

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Face Off with Ice Hockey Player Elaine Moller

This week it’s ice hockey week on She Speaks Sport ahead of the South African women’s tour to Turkey. My Guest Elaine Moller has been playing ice hockey for over 10 years and has proudly represented South Africa internationally for 5 years. She is part of the senior women’s team representing our country at the World Championships rom April 1st to April 7th.
On the show Elaine shares how she got into ice hockey, and how there are unique challenges facing female ice hockey players, including investment and the reality of not being taken seriously as a competitive player. We also talk about the Turkey tournament starting this week, the preparation of the team, and which team she is looking forward to taking on at the world champs. She answers the most Googled question about women’s ice hockey which strangely is, “do women fight in ice hockey?” We talk about the aggression as part of the game, her role models and her hopes for the future of the game.

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Aimee Barrett – Theron, My Rugby Life

On the show, Aimee and I discuss her early beginnings, from dreaming big as a 12-year-old girl watching the Olympics, to earning a rugby scholarship to Stellenbosch University. Having to drop out and return later to university, Aimee reflects on the hardship of that time but how rugby was a flame of hope and joy in her life. I also ask Aimee about the manner in which she conducts herself on the field, with respect and confidence. We also talk about the viral videos around the Sharks captain, as well as the U20 Wales and England captains and the conduct on field. Necessary to understanding what it takes to be a referee, we uncover the darker side of this profession, where referees are abused, or threatened and Aimee uncovers what it takes to be a professional referee. We show love to Aimee’s family and support system, and she gives us some rare insight into finding your identity outside of sport, and the sacrifices it takes to have an important work – life balance. Informative and personal, tune in and celebrate our woman of firsts.

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Dinesha Devnarain – The Africa Games

The 13th Africa Games kick off this week and for the first time since its inception, cricket is on the agenda. Head coach of the South African Women’s Team heading to the games, is Dinesha Devnarain. She is the women’s national academy head coach, the first woman to have a high-performance coaching job at Cricket South Africa and she led the Fairbreak Warriors to the tournament win as assistant coach in Hong Kong last year.

In a deeply personal way Dinesha and I talk about the future of women’s cricket in South Africa, as well as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the brand of cricket Dinesha believes South Africa plays. She also unpacks the team selection for the African Games, and how the team has a bigger purpose in mind, the dream of gold. We talk about the leagues, The Hundred, and the global hunger for women’s cricket. Dinesha also talks exclusively about the plans for the women’s SA20, and how she is a part of the conversations and camps identifying the players and stars for this. Importantly, as a custodian of the game, Dinesha speaks about her goal as the head coach of the African Games team and the eagerness of the players to represent the country and the badge. Insightful and revelatory, don’t miss this conversation ahead of the Games.

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Laryne Jefferies – SA Weightlifting Champ

Laryne Jefferies began her competitive lifting career in 2020 and now holds the South African records for Female 71kg class for snatch 88kg, clean and jerk 112kg and total 200kg. She is the African Senior Championship 2022 Bronze winner, and the African Cup 2022 Silver medallist. She is ranked 5th in the 71kg female category in African continent and is currently the South African strongest female weightlifter overall. 

On the show, we break down all you need to know about the different categories of lifting, as well as Laryne’s journey in lifting. As someone who did not grow up doing sport, Laryne’s entry into lifting is inspiring and empowering for all who hear her story. Currently, she is raising the much-needed funding to compete in Thailand and ultimately to qualify for the Olympics in Paris later this year. Outside of lifting, Laryne is a fashion designer creating bespoke wedding gowns, and couture dresses, showing us that women can be both strong, and beautiful. Tune in to hear how each of us can make a difference in Laryne’s Thailand dream.

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Georgie Heath – Cricket Commentary Chats

Georgie Heath is refreshing, honest, and speaks her mind, something I love in female sport writers and commentators. Based in London, Georgie is a sport commentator who has worked around the world bringing her voice to some thrilling cricket matches, la crosse games, netball tournaments and other sporting competitions. She is also a podcast host; sport writer and reporter and I am thrilled to have her on the podcast today.
Georgie shares with us the challenges and insights in to what it takes to be in the sport commentary space. We also discuss the reality of females in the commentary box (and lack thereof), and how women have to work harder in certain spaces. From her homesickness at boarding school to her hospitalisation years later, Georgie openly shares about how cricket has helped her through the darkest times. We also talk a lot about our sport experiences and our pet peeves on the nature of commentary and the sexism that still exist in the space. Some rare, radical insight from two passionate cricket lovers, this episode is your behind the scenes eavesdrop in the conversations you never get to hear. “What do the penguins at Boulders beach have to do with Laura Wolvaardt? What competition did Georgie win that propelled her into the commentary space?” Tune in and find out.

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Cristiana Oprea – Romania’s Rally Star

Without any previous motorsport background, Cristiana Oprea started rallying at the age of 23, participating in the Dacia Cup, the grassroots series in the Romanian National Rally Championship. Since then, she has become a trailblazer for women in motorsport, both as a rally driver and the founder of Femei in Motorsport, a platform dedicated to women in Romanian motorsport. She is the first Romanian woman to compete at the World Rally Championships, as well as the European Rally Championships where she finished on the podium.

On the show, Cristiana shares about her journey into motorsport, which began as something unorthodox and unexpected. While studying architecture and urban planning, she found herself behind the wheel of a rally car and knew her purpose was in motorsport. Using sport to break through gender stereotypes, Cristiana shares with us about her platform Femei in Motorsport, which highlights the contributions and work of fellow female racing drivers in the history of Romania. Taking us deep in to her experiences of bullying, sexism and the impact this has had on her life and her mental health, Cristiana’s openness on this reality is a story shared by many women in sport and one that needs to be spoken about. Cristiana imparts the wisdom she has learnt through her challenges and the decisions she had to make to succeed beyond the impact of bullying. Touch the inspirational story of rallying through Cristiana’s eyes and experience the truth about being a woman in sport.

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Chrissy Stragisher – Living an Empowered Life

On the show this week I am empowering women through sport with my guest Chrissy Stragisher. Chrissy is an entrepreneur, coach, and life strategist. For over two decades, she has influenced the lives of female athletes, everyday women, and young boys and girls through her motivational speeches, videos and training programs.

As a former strength and conditioning coach for the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, she knows first-hand what it takes to help people reach their highest potential and on the show we do just that. Chrissy unlocks the K.E.Y strategy she uses to help women live a life of resilience, power and fulfilment. We talk about getting knocked down and rising up, how life’s hardships can be reframed and Chrissy shares with us what she learnt through coaching Olympians and WNBA stars.

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